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Automation Unplugged

Automation Unplugged is a Facebook Live show recorded weekly with our host Ron Callis, Owner and CEO of the digital marketing agency, One Firefly. In each Automation Unplugged episode, Ron speaks with leading industry personalities and technology professionals to discuss all things business development, technology trends, and more. These interviews are designed to help our clients and members of the custom integration industry keep up-to-date with the latest news as well as learn from experts in the field.

Articles in Category: Manufacturers

Watch Episode #112: An Industry Q&A with John Clancy

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, John Clancy, Crestron VP of Residential, shares exciting news about Crestron Home and ways Crestron is helping their dealers and clients during this pandemic.

Watch Episode #112: An Industry Q&A with John Clancy

This week's show features our host Ron Callis interviewing John Clancy. Recorded live on April 22nd, 2020, at 12:30 p.m. EST. 

About John Clancy

With almost 30 years in the custom integration industry, John has experience as both a manufacturer, integrator and has served two years on the CEDIA Board of Directors.

John started his career with New York-based Audio Command Systems, working his way up from installer all the way to becoming Executive VP, CTO, and co-owner.

In 2016, John joined Crestron as VP of Residential where he uses his unique understanding of what his channel needs and what end-users want to continue positively impacting Crestron’s place in the global market. 

Interview Recap

  • Ways John is seeing COVID-19 impacting dealers throughout the world
  • Steps Crestron has been taking since February to keep his global team and consumers safe
  • Exciting updates Crestron is making as a response to the lifestyle changes caused by COVID-19
  • How Crestron is adding value to the industry by offering virtual resources, such as virtual product trainings and CEU course offerings

Watch Episode #107: An Industry Q&A with Mike Giffin

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Industry veteran, Mike Giffin VP at Help Lightning shares his experience in the CE space and the benefits of a remote servicing solution for smart home integrators.

Watch Episode #107: An Industry Q&A with Mike Giffin

This week's show features our host Ron Callis interviewing Mike Giffin. Recorded live on Tuesday, April 7th, 2020, at 12:30 pm EST.

About Mike Giffin

With nearly 45 years in the CE space, Mike Giffin is an industry veteran with experience in wireless and high-fidelity audio. Before joining Help Lightning, Mike founded Wren Sound Systems, a pioneering premium brand in wireless audio after his 22-year tenure with Harman International.

As Vice President at Help Lightning, Mike develops the custom integration and consumer electronics channel to provide integrators and service technicians hands-on servicing sessions through virtual and merged reality.

Interview Recap

  • The increased demand for virtual servicing during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • How integrators can benefit from a solution like Help Lightning as more  consumers begin to depend on technology
  • Mike's perspective on ways integrators can make it through these uncertain times

Watch Episode #95: An Industry Q&A with Miranda Grantham and Marc Fisher

Watch Episode #95: An Industry Q&A with Miranda Grantham and Marc Fisher

This week's show features our host Ron Callis interviewing Miranda Grantham and Marc Fisher. Recorded live on Friday, January 24, 2019, at 12:30 pm EST.

About Miranda Grantham and Marc Fisher

Miranda has been with Origin Acoustics as their National Sales Manager for three years and quickly climbed to her National Sales Manager by age 24. Miranda started in the AV Industry with Metra Electronics at age 22 as a West Coast Regional. She was elected Top 40 under 40 at age 26 and recently elected as one of the most powerful women on the rise in consumer technology.

Marc is a consumer electronics veteran and joined Origin Acoustics four years ago. Marc has been titled Salesman of the Year twice in a row and was twice named one of the “Top 40 under 40” by the industry’s leading trade publication. Now, President of Sales, Marc continues to set the standard for sales professionalism and endeavors to share those skills with an entirely new generation of salespeople who are following in his footsteps.

Interview Recap

Here are some of the topics Ron had the opportunity to discuss with Miranda Grantham and Marc Fisher:

  • The importance of a strong company culture
  • The philosophy around investing in yourself, your business, and our industry
  • Insight on what training and coaching looks like for Origin dealers
  • The advantage of joining a buying group like ProSource

Watch Episode #32: An Industry Q&A with Brent McCall

What's new with HDMI?

Watch Episode #32: An Industry Q&A with Brent McCall

This week's show features our host Ron Callis interviewing Brent McCall, Director of Product Development and Support of Metra Home Theater Group from his office located in Holly Hill, Fl. Brent is a AV industry veteran since 1977 where he started in retail and has most recently spent the last 12 years in HDMI product development and support. He has worked with thousands of integrators and brings tremendous experience and perspective to the current state of the industry. Brent is also an active forum member on IntegrationPros.org and RemoteCentral.com. Recorded Live on January 31st, 2018 at 12:30pm EDT.

About Brent McCall

Brent McCall has been in AV, 12 Volt and custom Installation since 1977. In that time he progressed from a floor salesperson to a custom integrator to (now) HDMI product development and support. His focus for the past 12 years has been HDMI and its ramifications to the custom integration professional. His work includes time in the field with dealer/installers and other hardware manufacturers.

Interview Recap

Here are some of the topics Ron had the opportunity to discuss with Brent:

  • Brent’s background in the industry
  • Brent’s current role at Metra Home Theater
  • What’s new with HDMI
  • 4K and 8K UHD
  • And more!

Watch Episode #21: an Industry Q&A with Paul Harris

Exploring the Process of New Product Development

Watch Episode #21: an Industry Q&A with Paul Harris

In this interview, Ron Callis interviews Paul Harris, CEO/CTO of Aurora Multimedia Corp from his office Morganville, NJ. Watch the interview to learn about Paul's background, approach to product innovation and love for MMA. 

About Paul Harris

Paul Harris, CEO/CTO of Aurora Multimedia Corp, has been developing bleeding edge products for the A/V industry for over 25 years. Starting with the creation of real-time image rotation for videowalls to setting the bar with many world’s firsts with AV over IP and HDBaseT, Paul continues to push the limits of technology. He founded Aurora in 1998 and continues to develop integrator friendly solutions that meet the demand for today and the future.

Interview Recap

Here are some of the topics Ron had the opportunity to discuss with Paul:

  • Paul's background in the industry and how he got started in AV
  • After 25+ years in the industry, have things changed much?
  • Being involved as one of the first companies to develop IP control and AV over IP
  • Aurora Multimedia Corp's R&D process
  • MMA and the recent Mayweather - McGregor fight
  • And more

Watch Episode #15: Blake Richetta, SVP at sonnen

It's time for integrators to go solar.

Watch Episode #15: Blake Richetta, SVP at sonnen

In this Automation Unplugged interview, Ron speaks with Blake Richetta, the Senior Vice President at sonnen, inc. sonnen is the future of clean energy - they provide energy storage solutions that are transforming the clean tech space. 

About Blake Richetta

Blake Richetta graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a Masters in Business Administration in 2001 and shortly thereafter he began a 15-year career at Lutron Electronics, the world leader in lighting control. While at Lutron, Blake successfully designed and implemented an industry leading business model for the RadioRA and RadioRA2 products. His approach to building the distributor and installer channels and the overall channel strategy for the RadioRA business advanced the global market for smart home lighting and automated shading, contributing to the overall growth of the home automation industry.

After departing Lutron, Blake joined Tesla Motors as North American Powerwall Sales Manager, bringing his expertise in selling high-end residential technologies to the nascent energy storage industry.  After a brief stint at Tesla, Blake joined sonnen, Inc. as Vice President of Sales, drawn by the company’s innovative capabilities and high quality, technologically advanced residential storage products and services. Sonnen’s innovation in energy storage goes beyond smart batteries to include the “sonnen Community”, a peer-to-peer clean energy trading as well as Grid Services platform which uses a “Virtual Power Plant” by way of aggregation.

In June of 2017, Blake was promoted to Senior Vice President of Sonnen, Inc. and named “Representative of the Global CEO” for North American operations. In his short time at Sonnen, Blake has led the US organization into a period of rapid sales and organizational growth. The company’s new manufacturing facility and “InnovationHub” in Atlanta, Georgia opened in April 2017. Outside of work, Blake enjoys spending time with his family, including his wife Priya, and is an active volunteer and philanthropist in his hometown of Santa Monica, CA.

Interview Recap

Here are some of the topics Ron had the opportunity to discuss with Blake:

  • Blake's background with Lutron Electronics and Tesla Powerwall
  • How Blake landed in the solar power / clean tech industry
  • What sonnen batterie has planned for the U.S. and CEDIA in particular
  • Why integrators should be interested in solar storage
  • And more

Blake breaks down the state of clean energy technology and the role that it will soon play in the AV and automation industry.