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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.

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Watch Episode #6: an Industry Q&A Session with Tim Albright

AVNation Meets Automation Unplugged

Watch Episode #6: an Industry Q&A Session with Tim Albright

In this Automation Unplugged interview, Ron Callis interviews Tim Albright, the founder of AVNation and the driving force behind the AVNation network. Watch the full video here to learn more about Tim's start in the AV industry and his goals for AVNation, as well as his thoughts on what to look for at InfoComm, Apple HomePod, voice control, and more.

About Tim Albright

Tim is a Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) certified by InfoComm International. He holds a B.S. from Greenville College and is pursuing an M.S. in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. He has designed systems for churches large and small, fortune 500 companies, and education facilities. In his role as President of AVNation, Tim provides integrators with ongoing news and commentary on what's going on in the industry.

Interview Recap

In the interview, Tim spoke about the past, present, and future of AVNation. He and Ron chatted about a variety of topics, such as:

  • What to look forward to at InfoComm this year
  • How integrators and manufacturers can best market themselves in this industry
  • What's new and upcoming with voice control
  • Tim's opinion on Apple HomePod
  • Why Tim would love to interview Nikola Tesla
  • And more.

Transcript


Ron:  Hello everyone. Ron Callis her with One Firefly. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Automation Unplugged. Very excited today to have guest Tim Albright of A.V. Nation. He's founder and the President of A.V. Nation. And we're gonna have a fun 30 minutes of chat and question and answer with Tim. So again thank you for joining. If you're out there please share this so that your friends in the industry can join us as well. And let's go over and there I am. Let's go over and and talk with Tim. Tim how's it going , sir?

Tim: Good. How are you sir?

Ron:  I am good. Well as I always do right when I start a show let me just check the live feed and see if technology is actually cooperating so bear with me. I'm checking our One Firefly Facebook page. There we go. We already got six people following us. Thank you gang. And you know if you're out there watching please post questions comments as we go if you have a question for Tim, our guest , and if you have one for myself. And again if you don't mind. Thanks for joining. But please share this so that other people in the industry can see our live show here. So Tim how is your Wednesday going?

Tim: Wednesday is fine. It's the Thursday or Friday or Saturday before Infocomm that gets kind of crazy but today is not too shabby.

Ron:  I've got to say you have a bit of a wild ride coming around the corner here don't you?

Tim: Yes sir. So next week is our annual trek to either Vegas and or Orlando this year happens to be in Orlando Florida for InfoComm, they're a trade show. The show is three days in Orlando Florida this year. We will land like a lot of folks this weekend, start preparing our production suite and our various things and go see what the manufacturers have on the show floor.

Ron:  What has you excited about InfoComm?

Tim: InfoComm has become in the industry itself, a small glimpse into the industry right? And so the industry has been moving more and more towards video over IP so video on the network not necessarily using CAT 5 as a transport you know as point to point you know like we have been. But an actual honest to goodness networked audio and video. That's what I'm excited to see is what the next generation of that's going to be both from the transmitter and receiver end and also what some folks from the display manufacturing and are incorporating that into their devices but also with the network folks are doing. Right. Last year Cisco announced that they were releasing a switch that supported AVB TSN the IEEE standard. That's been promoted by the New Alliance. That was a huge step. Right. So a switch manufacturer is saying here's a switch built just for this protocol built just for those transporters . And so whether it's AVB or it's Dante or it's HD based T or it's STVOE, all of these folks and I'm sure I'm forgetting some folks but all of these devices and all these manufacturers that are expanding our ability to send video , HD video and beyond long-distance over the network is really really exciting. And there are some other folks that are doing some rebranding they're doing some unique things with display manufacturing and screen manufacturing that are making some advances. And then just seeing what we don't know the one nice thing about trade shows in general but Info Comm is really where I kind of home this, was looking for the small booths in the back corners. There you're going to find some of the most innovative and interesting products and services that you may never have thought that you needed or even thought was out there. But those small booths are gonna get some really really great nuggets out of that.

Ron:  Now does your schedule actually permit you to go and do that navigation and exploration? I know personally when I go to a show I'm usually so tied up with obligations that on occasion I just simply won't be able to go do that exploration.

Tim: It does now. This is, AV Nation is almost six years old next month. And when we first started doing this I was like Yo I got to go see everything we've got to interview everybody and this that and the other and at this point.

Ron:  Now they come to you.

Tim: Well no no just that. But it's OK. We've got some great folks that help us. And they do the interviews and we have strategically placed blanks in all of our schedules for that discovery right? Our team has the directive of you know what if you find something that's oh my gosh you've got to interview these folks because you've got to get this out to people who aren't here in Orlando they have the flexibility and they have the margin now to do that.

Ron:  Do you mind giving my audience and we have 10 people watching live. Hey everyone. Again don't forget to share this and also post your questions so we can ask Tim live but Tim some of my audience may not know what AV Nation is. So you mentioned that you founded AV Nation six years ago. Can you give us a little bit of a background on what that platform is?

Tim: We are an online media platform meaning that we don't physically create a physical product. We don't have a magazine where not on traditional terrestrial radio or television. So that means our delivery mechanism is over the internet. Whether that's what we produce several podcasts so you can subscribe to an RSS feed and be automatically given the shows that we produce. We also have a Youtube channel because most of our shows that we produce are both audio and video so you can watch our guests. In addition to just listening and the blogs that we produce and the pieces that we write are all on our website. AVNation.tv so we're an online media platform. Online media company that services and covers the audio-video industry , primarily when we started was with commercial . Over the last two years we've expanded now into residential as well.

Ron:  Now one thing I always like to ask my guests because I think it's fascinating to learn where people came from. How did you end up. How did you land in the A.V. industry and how long have you been in this space and did you have a career or a life before the A.V. space?

Tim: I've answered this a couple different ways and I consider myself to be a 25 30 year veteran of A.V. Mainly because I consider live staging at events part of A.V. So I started when I was a teenager doing audio and video for my church and for theater and this that and the other, ended up in broadcast television and radio. Spent a number of years there.

Ron:  You do have a voice for radio.

Tim: Well thank you I also have a face for radio tell me the story.

Ron:  I'm not saying nothing.

Tim: But that's an old joke kids. Yeah but landed as a Tech Manager at the college I went to and the Tech Manager position was as they put it to me. Oh yeah by the way you have to switch out a handful of projectors every summer. I mean I could do that. And what happened was that the state of Illinois is not known for having great budgets nor a lot of money. So when all was said and done I end up being the programmer the designer and the lead installer for about 180 rooms for our multiple campuses and that exposed me to a lot of things, expose d me to InfoComm, CEDIA, exposed me to several control manufacturers, switcher manufacturers and I absolutely fell in love with the industry. About four or five years into this, I had gotten hooked on podcasts and one , in particular, was by the name of Leo Leport who still does this week in tech and Leo's an old radio guy and I'm like I can I think I could do this. So I looked around to see if there was anybody that did what I was looking for which was a weekly digest of the news that other physical magazines were producing and there wasn't. And I'm like OK so let's ask around and I had connected with some folks on social media and I just kind of raised my hand and said You know I'd like to do this, does anybody want to join me, anybody want to jump on a call and flabbergasted and humbled by the response I got. Connected with a couple of folks that I didn't meet in person for a well over a year. But we started our first one at the end of July in 2011 and two weeks ago we did episode 300. So we've done a weekly that weekly show every week for about six years.

Ron:  I think you. I've been honored to be a guest on some of your shows over the years. And I think if my memory may or may not be accurate but I'm trying to dust the cobwebs off. I think you had me on maybe back in 2012.

Tim: Mm hmm.

Ron:  I know I was in my old office and I thought that was the biggest thing that happened to me in quite a while when you invited me to be on that show so I was quite flattered and I'm flattered that you've joined me on this show. It's not a podcast but we're streaming live to Facebook to the Facebook nation. What was your vision? Tim when you created AV Nation what was your goal what impact did you want to have on the people that would listen to your content?

Tim: My main goal is the same one I have now. I want to give the integrators and the tech managers and the folks that live and breathe in this industry the information in the news they need on Monday morning going into the office and why it matters to them. All of the magazines in the A.V. industry do a really really great job of covering the industry, getting interviews and giving us the information but the one thing that they lack a lot of times is the why . Why does it matter that Harman was bought by Samsung? Why does it matter that this company has developed this new transporter? Why does that matter? And what we hope to do by having on audio-video professionals whether it's a manufacturer or it's a consultant, it's a programmer, whoever right ? The one thing that is our strength is the fact that everybody at AV Nation still works in the industry right? We have consultants and we have engineers and we have marketing professionals and all of these people kind of add to that mix. If you look at who's on you know on our air and who's on our shows it's the same people that are gonna find an integrator in Boise Idaho or the same folks you gonna find an integrator in New York and that's kind of what we hope to bring is the context to the news and the information that's out there on a weekly basis.

Ron:  So , Tim, I'm curious those that are watching. How many of them have listened to one of your many shows? What would be the names of some of those shows? I know there's Resi Week.

Tim: There's Resi Week which you were just on a few weeks ago which is our residential weekly show. AV Week is our flagship called our flagship because it's the longest running one we have.

Ron:  And what you're saying is I haven't been on the flagship.

Tim: In a while. You have been on the flagship before but it's been a while. At one point we were doing an hour show and we were covering all different aspects including residential. That was back when we had you on and we realized two things. First of all an hour is an awful long time to listen to me. And the second thing is there are times and there are weeks where we sacrifice commercial stories for residential stories. And if you are driving into the office on a Monday morning and you're a commercial dealer but we're talking about something going on with CEDIA you don't care doesn't it doesn't impact you. Right. So that's why we split the show.

Ron:  Are you finding better readership or followership since segmenting the content?

Tim: Absolutely.

Ron:  In the world of marketing , it's generally good best practice if you segment your audiences. You put messages and content in front of an audience that cares more they're more likely to continue to follow you.

Tim: Yep absolutely. Yeah. So we're getting a better response actually from both sides which has been very encouraging.

Ron:  I'm curious of our followers right now on Facebook. How many have listened to one of your shows? So I'm gonna ask if you are watching us right now and listening to us type in a comment and you can say yes or no and if you say yes you know let me know what you've actually been able to listen to. And the same thing if you have not say no. Just so that's going to be some good intel for us to have. Please don't be shy type into the comments. Give us a yes or no and if you've listened to one let us know what that is.

Tim: Quickly you mentioned segmenting and I'm sorry. You mentioned segmenting, the other thing that we do is our monthly shows. We take a monthly look at different aspects of the industry. So one of the things, we have a program dedicated to programming which came out of my love of programming. We have one dedicated to the education market, one dedicated to marketing and social media in the A.V. space. So you're right in segmenting is important but even more so on a weekly basis on a monthly basis. We're giving folks who really need to know about programming or are interested in that or really need to dig down into how do they market their company locally or nationally.

Ron:  Now you and I were talking offline you're also developing something new. I don't know if this is public knowledge. I'm not going to give the details but I'm going to highlight the concept as I understood it which was giving your listeners nuggets of information as you go through all of the weekly interviews that you conduct the content you capture, the concept or the idea was that you want to try to put bite size pieces of content out there for your audience. Is that something you could give a little bit of clarity on?

Tim: Oh absolutely. It's a brand new I'm going to call it a brand new podcast even though the content is not brand new. What it is, it's something we're calling the Daily Download and because we produce so many pieces of content and so much so many podcasts, not everybody can listen to everything and I really don't expect everybody to listen to everything because a marketer may not be interested in programming and vice versa but it's five to six minutes on a daily basis and it's snippets of all of our other shows right. So today I'm actually in the studio producing next week's Daily Download and every day Monday through Friday we'll give out a five-minute little snippet of a program that we've done in the last month. The ones I'm doing for next week. We did a show we started a new program called ITAV and that is looking at the I.T. world through the lens of A.V. and the audio-video world through the lens of I.T. And the segment I'm producing for next week is we did a segment and we've talked about the virus from last month and how that impacts the world of audio-video both from the residential side and the commercial side because the one thing that came out of that virus is that that the reason people were infected with that is because they didn't update their firmware they didn't update their software. Same thing applies in the world of audio-video if a manufacturer does the testing and figures out that hey they need to do a security patch or they need to do a firmware update. Well guess what? You kind of need to follow along what the manufacturer is saying and say OK you know I'll update my firmware I'll update my software to make sure that your network and your systems are safe.

Ron:  Got it. Understood. By the way Tim, I think we're gonna have a bunch of new listeners for you. People are saying, Chris says he's late to the game but he's got to start listening to you now.

Tim: Excellent.

Ron:  So there you go.

Tim: Thank you Chris.

Ron:  Let's see System Design and Integration. Somebody signed in as there that integration firm says no. But we definitely will listen to you.

Tim: Thank you.

Ron:  There you go. You've earned at least a couple of new listeners here by joining me today. Now the version of AV Nation that you've described. Do you see this as what you will be five years from now or is this a living breathing thing or what's your opinion on that?

Tim: It's a living breathing thing. You know I could ask you the same thing about One Firefly.

Ron:  Oh don't go there.

Tim: Because it's not you know it's you know, I don't compare us to a lot of folks. But I would because cause we're a media company. I would say OK take a look at Time Magazine which we are not Time Magazine, I'm no way shape or form saying that we are but look at Time Magazine from 100 years ago. It is not the same entity as it is now. My first job in radio was a company called Camel X. It was a radio station. It was the flagship for the Cardinal baseball it was a news talk station 15-17 years ago when I worked there they were still playing things off of carts which if you're not familiar with carts it's a version of an eight-track player. And you know , had no interest in the video had no interest in anything and as I was transitioning out of that station into another they were just starting to start creating blogs you know and writing content on their website and producing things for the website. And now if you go to Camel X's Web site you can find video you can find fully produced video. Right. Where 20 years ago Camel X would have never considered doing video in any way shape or form because they were a radio station. Same thing with Av Nation you know six years ago when we started we had one podcast and it was audio-only and that was it . Six years later we're doing video for 90 percent of our podcasts , we're going to trade shows and covering them and bringing the folks who aren't able to go to Orlando next week. Interviews with the booths and interviews with companies that are going there and showing their wares and showing their latest greatest things and asking them why it matters and asking them how it impacts the dealers and how it impacts the programmers and the engineers and the technicians and something that I would have never guessed that we would have done six years ago. So what next five years is, who the heck knows? We'll still be doing podcasts but we may be doing other things as well.

Ron:  Now I know that you're a big fan. I mean having listened to a lot of your shows and having known you for a while Tim, you're a big fan of integrators taking charge of their business and their marketing and actively pursuing marketing efforts and PR. Is the shows and the perhaps the guest appearances that you have, do you think that's the right format for an integrator if they want to get to improve their marketing or their PR or are there other avenues you would recommend that they pursue? What are your thoughts around that?

Tim: Here's the thing, I appreciate the integrators that come on our show but if they're coming on our show to get marketing exposure to a Fortune 500 company or to you know an I.T. manager, we're not it. I'll be flat out honest. You need to go where your audience is. I say that because folks like us and other audio video marketing people appreciate the integrators and their time and their expertise. But with the exception of SEO increase which you're smarter than I am on that.

Ron:  I wouldn't promise you that. I just employ smart people.

Tim: All right. Well I'll give you that. There is something to be said for you know your name being associated with other websites and your company being associated with other websites and that coming up in an SEO search but you need to go where your clients are. You know you need to go where they live. So if you're going after architects well then go after AIA right and get in those magazines and give those magazines content right. If you're going after the I.T. manager. Well let's start talking about getting in with CDW or getting in with some other publications that cater to those clients.

Ron:  So really the business, whether it's the integrator or the manufacturer whoever that is or the local flower shop, whoever that that business entity is defining their audience and then looking at the best ways to get in front of that audience. And a lot of your readership or followership are within the industry. So they're either manufacturers or integration firms. Is that a fair assumption about the demographics of the people that follow your content?

Tim: Yeah. 60 percent of our audience is integrators. Another 20 ish is tech managers. So there is some value if you are on and you're a local integrator and you know part of our audience happens to be in your neck of the woods. Then there is a value there right? We do have a fair amount of tech managers that listen to us and the remainder of our audience is manufacturers and industry associations and other press and consultants. So I would then assume you have a great forum for manufacturers or manufacturers spokespeople to espouse their wares their products and services and what's going on is that a fair statement and if so how does a company go about being on one of your different shows or podcasts?

Tim: Yeah I would answer the question differently if you ask me about manufacturers yes manufacturers absolutely belong in our shows right. Because that's where your audience is right and we're not the only. We're not the only podcast out there that does A.V..

Ron:  But you are the best.

Tim: That is subject to everybody's opinion. We appreciate those who think so. But yeah I mean, manufacturers, it gives them a chance to answer certain questions. I was talking to a gentleman this morning and relaying a story that it's one of those it's like two or three stories that we get to kind of a feather in our own cap. But. The week that Harman announced the purchase of Amex and this had been two or three years ago now we had on the V.P. of Marketing for Amex and he was able to explain the sale, explain the thinking behind it and what it meant not only for Amex and for their employees but also for their dealers. And that was a great opportunity for Amex to position and frame that sale and allay any fears that any integrator may have going into the weekend and going into Info Comm but it was also a chance for the integrator to go. Okay. You know here's here's Amex being forthright and coming on a program and talking about it at length and honestly. And we've had other cases where you know integrators or manufacturers have come on talk about you know maybe some unfortunate things that have happened whether it's in an installation or product or what have you to talk about you know the real mix of their products and their services. And the other side they also could to talk about the great things that that they can do. And I still go into every interview asking why I've said on many occasions when I've been interviewed, I am not the smartest guy in the room and I never will be. And that's on purpose. I'm the most curious, but I'm not the smartest guy. I surround myself with smart people and ask them curiosity-based questions.

Ron:  Awesome love it , by the way, Tim on Facebook we have Uvol.

Tim: Uvol Cramer.

Ron:  Uvol says when Tim is talking I'm listening.

Tim: Well when Uvol Cramer is playing a guitar I'm listening.

Ron:  So yeah his picture here is of a fella playing a guitar.

Tim: That would be him.

Ron:  Director of Audio at Kramer Electronics.

Tim: Yes. And an incredible guitar player.

Ron:  That's awesome. Also a gentleman named William. Again I'm going to refrain from mentioning last names. But he says, how we are communicating and what we need to communicate is evolving. So everything that wants to be around us so everything that must be around us must change. It's very profound statement there William. I think you're hearing Tim and I agree with you and commentate on. I don't even know if that's a word commentate?

Ron:  Sure. I'm an Engineering major not a English major so sometimes I suffer with those fancy things called words. But anyway William thank you for following us. Thank you for watching and thanks for posting. Greatly appreciated. If you're late to joining us please share this so that your friends in the industry can hear everything that Tim has to say. It's got a lot of valuable information. And again thanks for following us. So Tim I'm going to take this in a little bit of a different direction. And I just want to talk about an exciting technology that's kind of all the rage and that of course would be voice control voice automation. Now I'm actually curious before we can go down. I've got a couple of different paths I want to go if time permits but is this like a thing in the Info Comm universe . Do commercial integrators even care about voice or is this all a resi conversation?

Tim: Not yet but they should. And I'll say why. I actually got a chance to teach a class on IOT and voice and security over the last couple of months. And I did a couple of sessions in various parts of the country and I wrote a blog post based on that class voice control is going to be the next commercial thing that pops its head into coming into commercial residential thing that pops its head into commercial . 10 years ago, you would never have guessed that we would be able to send wireless video over you know video wirelessly to display. Suddenly Apple TV comes out and the CEO comes into a board room or comes into a meeting or comes and talks to his I.T. manager. You know what my 15-year-old teenager just threw a video onto my TV from his iPhone or from his iPad. Why can't I do that? And suddenly you know they were putting Apple TVs into commercial installations , much to the chagrin of commercial integrators. Well companies like Barco and Christie and others and Kramer and others Crestron, Amex, a thousand of them have come along and said here's a commercial version of that. It's more secure it's more robust. You can do quad all kinds of really great things. But it started with the Apple TV right? That whole wireless video thing starts with Apple TV. Same thing here in six months or in nine months I'm going to give you a year. The CEO was going to walk into a boardroom talk to his I.T. managers whatever and says you know what ? I can turn my lights on with my voice. Now with that Alexa thing at my house. Why can't I do it here? That question, that line is going to drive voice control in the commercial space. Now just like the Apple TV it most likely will not end up being the Alexa. It may very well you know Amazon may get onboard and give the commercial folks some really great hooks and they've already partnered with Crestron, with Control4, some other really great control companies but also watch what other people are doing. Harman in a partnership with IBM is getting into voice control but not through Alexa. They're using IBM's Watson. Exactly. And there's an old line about nobody ever got fired for hiring Xerox or hiring IBM. There's a reason for that. Right. So Harman is going down the road still doing voice control but they're doing with Watson and they're doing it with Watson's learning platform and they're learning power. The other thing that allowing them to do is they can customize it. The thing that they were showing at ISC which I actually expect at Info Comm next week is the little kiosk that they had. It was a clock radio and you walked in and you said Marriott, turn the lights on. That's something you can't do with Alexa, you can't customize Alexa's voice command. Right. You got one of three commands you've got Alexa you've got Echo you've got Amazon . With Watson and with IBM, Harman is able to customize their voice control and you know the fact that using IBM and this that and the other is going to give them a little bit of an advantage in the commercial world.

Ron:  Now I'm curious what your thoughts are as to how this ultimately plays out whether it be resi or commercial. You know I'll just give you a personal example that just happened to me this past weekend. I recently got a new car and we're at the dealership getting something a light pop up on the dash. We had to get some new firmware and I just. There's this voice with these sound waves coming out of it. I know that I'm supposed to be able to talk to my car and make it do things but I don't really know what those things are. And I look through the manual and it's pretty weak. So I asked the I.T. guy. So literally this car dealership has an I.T. professional that sits with you in your car to teach you how the tech works. And he starts rattling off all of these sequence of words which start making the car do really neat things. And it pulled up Google Earth and it started to do this that and the other and it was fascinating but I said So how in the world am I supposed to know those sequence of words that result in this action? I said is there like a cheat sheet? Silly enough, his answer was no there's no cheat sheet. And you had to go to the help file on the dash. So that just raises to me and maybe to anyone in this space. An obvious question, which is you have all of these different companies playing with voice control and they are going to say the dirty word standards. There doesn't seem to be a standard in terms of how you talk to your technology to make it do something and it could be very frustrating. So how do you see the poor. I'll say end user coping with this and what do we and the A.V. space? How do we cope with this?

Tim: The second part I'll answer first. We cope with it the way we've covered with everything and when it comes to control and automation. You make it as user friendly and intuitive as possible. I am of the school of thought. Again I was a programmer still program from time to time. I was a school of thought that it takes more than three buttons it's a bad design from a UI standpoint. If it takes you more than about a minute or 30 seconds to explain to someone how to do voice control then the keywords the hooks are wrong. Right in my presentation, I mentioned the fact that the one thing that is going to actually help commercial and residential dealers in with voice control is this missing step right now out of the box. I can put an Alexa on my on my kitchen counter and if I have a Nest, I can say Alexa tell Nest to make it seventy-five degrees. That's a speed bump linguistically and for our human brains. Instead I say Alexa make it 75 degrees in here right. So it's getting, understanding natural speech and it's gonna take some learning right and it's going to take some really horrible designs and some really horrible installs for us to finally get it right. But we'll get it right eventually because just like we've gotten right the UI and we've gotten help honestly from the tech sector.

Ron:  There's also some really bad UI's out there.

Tim: Oh absolutely . But the ones that that kind of give us the standard that we're used to and I use the word standard too but the regular user interface of a cell phone right in the middle. Vast majority of Americans have a smartphone of some sort. And so they're used to that interface right. So if you emulate that and the fact that it takes one or two clicks maybe to get to where you're going on your cell phone. Same thing with the graphical UI with voice control. If it's a natural speech right. If it makes sense in my head for me to say Alexa I'm home. Well from the backend, all sorts of these really great things can happen. Lights can come on you know the stove can preheat, jazz can come on the radio, or whatever music you like. You know the shades can come down all this stuff or so you know Alexa Good night. You know locks lock shades go down lights go off.

Ron:  Internet of things almost anything can happen.

Tim: Yes absolutely. But that's what we've been doing for years. Right. IOT is nothing more than multi than all these disparate devices talking to each other. That's all a frickin control system is, one thing that makes all these disparate devices connect to each other. And that's why I'm very bullish on control and automation. Still having a place in both the residential and the commercial space because we've been doing it for years. Right?

Ron:  Do you see voice as continuing to grow and its importance as a input to the system? Residential and commercially? You don't think that's going to be a fad. You think that's the new normal?

Tim: I don't. New normal I would caution yet on the commercial side. New Normal. Absolutely in the residential especially when you get to a certain threshold of the cost of the home and the cost of the system. Right? One thing I will caution though is I honestly don't think it will ever replace completely. Again because I'm of the school of thought is You've got to have you need to have at least one hard wired or at least one physical device that you can push a button in case all hell breaks loose. And you know you can't talk to Alexa because let's not forget if you lose the internet you lose that voice control function and I don't care if it's Watson or Alexa or Google Home or whoever. You lose the internet you lose that connectivity. And so you need something you still need a way to control your home.

Ron:  Now this week I believe while you were producing a Resi Week episode the news broke regarding Apple's entry into the speaker.

Tim: Home pod.

Ron:  Home pod device. What's your opinion if you don't mind? A couple of words on that what that's going to mean for space?

Tim: I love it.

Ron:  Yeah, it's probably going to sound pretty good don't you think it is?

Tim: And I love it because I'm of the opinion the more competition the better. Right because the more competitors in this space that means they make each other better. And I don't care if that's in media. I don't care switchers. I don't care if it's control or voice control or voice automation. Tt's gonna make everybody better. And so the fact that Apple has gotten into it but you know we on that show a couple of the guests said it kind of feels like a me too. It does. Absolutely. I'll give you that.

Ron:  If anything they're late to the game. Maybe they were making it better during that time.

Tim: Possibly slightly. Let's understand. Apple has never. I'm trying to make sure I qualify this but I don't I can't think of a device that Apple has fully invented straight out of the gate and brought a brand new thing to the market. Even the iPhone. I mean there was already smart devices on the market. I had one I had one of the original Palm Trios, right?

Ron:  I did as well.

Tim: That was not you know the smart phone was not new right. The tablet was not new. A handheld computer was had been around for a while. The Apple the original Apple was not new right. There was already personal computing that was going on in the 70s and the 80s.

Ron:  Do you get to hear one or see one next week? Will they be at InfoComm?

Tim: They won't. They might be at Info Comm. It's possible but they don't they don't release them until December. Like in the US and the UK and Australia I believe.

Ron:  All right Tim I'm gonna wrap up with this here. Just one more question. I usually try to keep these to 30 minutes but we're at 40 minutes now and I think I could go another hour because you're doing such a great job answering the questions and being very fun to interview so thank you for that. So I'll kind of go off the wall a bit for this last question and that is if you could interview anybody in the world and I'll do one. I'll say it one way they could be living or dead or and the other version would be they have to be alive right now for one of your shows. Who would that be? Who would those people be?

Tim: Living or dead. For one of my shows? Nikola Tesla.

Ron:  Oh that's a good one.

Tim: Yeah absolutely.

Ron:  I was just at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago last week and they were popping the Tesla coil overhead and it was pretty fantastic. Yeah but I interrupted you are getting ready to answer that.

Tim: The reason for that is if you look back at some of Tesla's not just of his inventions but also his predictions. I would love to see what he thinks about his predictions now and to get his two cents on what he sees for the next 60 or 70 years.

Ron:  Oh yeah that's a good one. Well on that note Tim, thank you very much sir. Thanks for being a guest on Automation Unplugged. And to my audience I'm going to switch over here. Everyone. Thank you very much for joining us. It was a blast to have you guys. Thanks for posting your comments. By the way Tim, Uvol just posted. Number one, he expects you to stop by and say hi next week at Info Comm. He also posted if Tesla is busy. He said he's happy to join your show anytime whenever you need him. So appreciate that. And John, thank you for the comment and as well William thank you for all the comments. So thanks everyone. And we will see you next week here on Automation Unplugged. And this is Tim and Ron signing off.

Show Notes

Tim is President of AVNation and provides integrators with ongoing news and commentary on what's going on in the industry. Tim has previously designed systems for churches large and small, fortune 500 companies, and education facilities. He is a Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) certified by InfoComm International.

Ron Callis is the CEO of One Firefly, LLC, a digital marketing agency based out of South Florida and creator of Automation Unplugged. Founded in 2007, One Firefly has quickly become the leading marketing firm specializing in the integrated technology and security space. The One Firefly team work hard to create innovative solutions to help Integrators boost their online presence, such as the elite website solution, Mercury Pro.

Resources and Links from the Interview:

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