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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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Home Automation Podcast Episode #7: An Industry Q&A With Troy Morgan

Learn a Better Way to Program Crestron

Home Automation Podcast Episode #7: An Industry Q&A With Troy Morgan

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Troy Morgan. Recorded live on Wednesday, June 15th, 2017 at 12:30 p.m. EST. 

About Troy Morgan

Troy Morgan is the President of PanTech Design, LLC, a control system design, engineering and programming firm specializing in Crestron control systems for the residential and commercial industries. The PanTech Design team has over 100 years combined experience in A/V design, installation, and programming, allowing their clients to rest assured knowing they are receiving outstanding designs and remarkable systems. 

Troy's background started in car audio, working through high school as an audio installer, then a sound judge. He then moved on to working in commercial integration in 1997, which led him to Crestron. He worked directly for Crestron until 2005, when he started his own company, PanTech Design. At Crestron, Troy was instrumental in launching Crestron's Dallas, Texas office.

He had a myriad of roles and responsibilities at Crestron, starting as an applications engineer and then a key dealer manager for commercial integrator training and support. Troy then switched into a sales role for Crestron as a regional sales manager, which exposed him to the need for a company like PanTech Design.

Interview Recap

In the interview, Ron was able to get Troy's perspective on a variety of topics. Here are a few of the questions that Troy answered during the live interview:

  • What it means to be a Crestron Service Provider
  • Contrasting the differences in Adapt’s role as a CIP and Pantech Design’s role as a CSP
  • The impacts of using Adapt on a project’s cost and timeline
  • Current industry software and programming trends

SEE ALSO: Home Automation Podcast Episode #6: A Custom Integration Industry Q&A With Tim Albright

Transcript:


Ron:  Hello everybody. Thank you for joining us for another episode of Automation Unplugged. I'm here. My name is Ron Calli,s CEO of One Firefly. Thanks again for joining us. Let me as I always do first of all jump over to my Facebook page and let me make sure that our stream is coming in loud and clear. So today we have very exciting guest , a gentleman that I've known for a long time in this industry. It's over 10 years by the way. One of the stipulations to be on the show is you don't meet. It doesn't mean I have to have known you for a long time. It just so happens to be the way things are working out here as we're getting up and running with our show. So what I'm doing right now is I'm actually coming over here to our company Facebook page. Just want to make sure that this stream is coming in live give me a second. Looks like the Internet is taking its good old time now isn't that special. It's taking time on my phone and my computer. All right let's see. Yep looks like we're live. We're coming through loud and clear. All right so let's jump over it. Let's meet Troy. Let's see here Troy, now it looks like Troy remember I told you about those lockups? I think we're in the middle of one. There we go. See I told you they'd take about 30 seconds. Then we get out of that lockup. So Troy, your live everyone seeing your smiling face. How you doing sir?

Troy: Can't complain about a thing Ron. It's good to be with you. This is pretty exciting what you're doing with this.

Ron:  Oh thank you man. I appreciate your patience. I can promise you that might not be our first technical challenge but hopefully it's the worst one. And it goes downhill from here. So Troy many of the members of our audience may not be aware of your firm. Your firm's based in Texas, Pantech Design. Do you mind giving my audience just a little bit of background about your company and then I want to circle back to make sure everyone knows a little bit more about you as well?

Troy: Sure. So Pantech Design was started in March of 2005. Its sole purpose was to support the consumer actually not the consumer but commercial and residential dealers out there with a company that they could trust to do programming, design, engineering and other service type things. So we've been in business now for, I guess we're in our 13th year if I'm getting my math correct there. But yeah that's a little quick background.

Ron:  Now today is your business. What is the distribution for Pantech Design in terms of supporting residential dealers versus commercial dealers is it, what's that ratio look like?

Troy: Yeah. So we're a bit of an odd duck on that on that front because I like the emotional side of the residential industry. So our split is basically seventy-five twenty-five where 75 percent of our business is residential and 25 is commercial. But if you talk to most of the CSPs out there you're going to find it's probably the opposite.

"You are one of the rare breed of CSPs or Crestron Service Providers that have decided to focus on the residential space."

Ron:  Yeah, I think that is the case you are one of the rare breed of CSPs or Crestron Service Providers that have decided to focus on the residential space. And you mentioned the word I won't be able to restate it exactly but you said you like the emotional side of the business. What is it? What is it about that that has you particularly you know focusing on the resi space whereas most of your peers have gone to the commercial space?

Troy: Well, the way I see it is in the commercial, in most cases. The people that you're working with are spending somebody else's money. And I think the decisions made are made differently because of that whereas in the residential I call it the emotional because people are spending their own money so they've got a bit of an emotional attachment to not only the financial end of things but also , of course, the lifestyle and those types of things. So I think that's more challenging , it's more challenging to deal with. I have a high degree of respect for a lot of the residential integrators out there for that reason and that's why we focus on that.

Ron:  Understood. Now how did you happen to land in this industry? Have you always worked in the audio- video space and what is that if you don't mind, what's that background look like?

Troy: So I have sort of always been involved in something with technology or audio-video. I actually started in car audio and I worked all the way through high school and on as an installer and then I got on to becoming a what was called an I ask a sound judge. And so I would build cars that go to shows and compete and then I would also judge at those shows and it just got to the point where crawling under dashes and in those tight spaces got a little bit frustrating and so I figured hey you know let's look around and see if people are doing this cool stuff that I've been doing in cars in homes and at the time there wasn't a whole lot of that going on. And so I ended up going to work for a commercial integrator and that was my first experience with Crestron and that was 1997.

Ron:  So OK, now how long were you with that commercial firm and I know at one point you landed at Crestron and you actually worked directly for Crestron right?

Troy: So I was only with them for about a year and a half. And well because Crestron hired me out from under that dealer it actually was a little bit of a shake up about.

Ron:  Sounds like that could be a little touchy subject maybe.

Troy: Yeah. Things have changed. Let's just say that.

Ron:  That's not so politically correct these days for the vendor to go grab the person the star from that dealer.

Troy: Right. Right. So yeah. So early '99 is when I started with Crestron and actually started their Dallas office or what they call their southwest office back when there was only I guess there was four of us at the time so this was early '99 and I worked for Crestron until March of 2005 when I left and started Pantech Design.

Ron:  When you were with Crestron, what sort of roles and responsibilities did you have while you were there?

Troy: Yeah. So I mean they were making up stuff for me. I'm not kidding.

Ron:  I believe leave it entirely. What can we give this guy to do. I don't know, we want him.

Troy: I started as an Applications Engineer, basically that meant phone support. And then you know Randy flew in and said Gee we're gonna turn this guy into something called a key dealer manager and so I was going and I literally camp out in the larger commercial integrators offices and I would train their guys and just be there for them and I was the training manager I was the technical director I was the fireman. I mean you know anything that you could get thrown at you and then the last part of my time with Crestron, say about the last 9 to 10 months I switched over into sales and was a regional sales manager and that gave me a real clear indication of how needed a company like Pantech Design was because there were lots of programmers out there but there weren't enough companies that you could kind of trust and rely on and you know that you know would pick up the phone. So that was kind of what spearheaded the idea to start Pantech Design and then also like I said earlier I held many different titles and they were literally making things up for me. My only next logical choice was to move to New Jersey and work at the headquarters building and I just I love Texas. So I chose not to do that.

Ron:  Do you have a big truck?

Troy: I do not.

Ron:  So are you saying that impression us non-Texans have about Texans owning big trucks that may not be true?

Troy: That is not completely true. I don't ride my horse to work.

Ron:  Do you have a gun in your car?

Troy: Yeah yeah yeah. No I don't.

Ron:  No? Wow look at this breaking we're shattering stereotypes right here live on Automation Unplugged.

Troy: Right.

Ron:  All right. So question. So back when you started Pantech you said that was '05. I know that Crestron had a program called the Cape Program that Crestron Authorized Independent Programmers. And then later on that changed to CSP. Can you give for our audience that are hanging out. And by the way folks out there thank you for watching. It's greatly appreciated we're producing this content for you so please number one, share this so that your friends from the industry can also hear this live interview. We're gonna get into some really exciting stuff in terms of what Troy's firm is discussing or not discussing but what they've developed and have been implementing now for the last two years really excited talk about the Adapt software. So please share this. Also, ask questions so just type into the comments here on the live Facebook feed on our page and I'll be sure to read this off and make sure that we get Troy to address it. So please don't be shy and let us know what your thoughts are. But Troy what I was going to ask you was that Crestron had the Cape Program they reverted it to something called the CSP Program. You are a CSP, your firm is, what does that mean? What is a CSP and how does that present itself in the marketplace?

Troy: So back when we were Capes, we were Crestron authorized independent programmers. And by the way, during that period of time where I was at Crestron, I actually spearheaded the Cape Program. So for a year and a half, all the Capes would call me directly. Kind of got that thing off the ground for Crestron, but it was focused on programming and what we learned over time is there's a lot more to doing Crestron than just programming. And so Crestron made the great choice to change the name to a service provider. So being a CFP means you're a Crestron Service Provider and that might mean you're measuring shades for somebody, you're commissioning a system, you're doing D.M. commissioning or something like that. So that was kind of the reason for the name change. So yeah I hope that answered that for you.

Ron:  No I appreciate that. Now what would you say makes your firm, Pantech Design, different than the other CS's that an integrator would find throughout North America yeah. So key differentiators.

Troy: I think there are but it wouldn't. I mean I certainly don't know what everybody else is doing out there, we stay pretty focused on our own goals but I think one of the things that makes us different is we have a process that we've used for many many many years where we spend time on the front end a lot of time on the front end to take in as much information, all the information and then we turn that into a detailed scope of work and from there we move into doing a full set of drawings and from there that goes into programming. And so what we have found is that the best way to get the hardest part of the job done which is that last 5 percent or even 10 percent is typically focusing on the first 5 and 10 percent of the project and that's been one of the keys to success for us is a heavy focus in the details early on and a lot of guys will say oh don't worry about that I'll do that later. We can worry about that. We don't think like that, we make sure we know what's going on upfront and then provide areas for flexibility on the back end. So I think that's one of the reasons for our success and for you know I guess maybe a differentiator and then another one is simply having people, the right people, having a good philosophy of how to hire good people, how to keep good people, and how to keep people engaged, energized, trained those types of things because ultimately our customers are the ones that benefit from that. And I believe heavily in that and that's why all of my guys except for my newest guy are all master-level programmers.

Ron:  Got it. No, that makes sense and I want to speak to our Facebook audience. When I turned my head here for those of you that are watching me I'm looking over at the Facebook page and see we have a nice audience growing now. If you have had experience hiring a Crestron Cape or CSP please type into the comments and let me know whether you have or you have not. I'd like to hear from everyone and if you have I'd love to hear what that experience was like. So we look for participation here on our Facebook lives so please type in. If you're a Crestron dealer or were a Crestron dealer please type in and let me know what that experience was like. I'm curious to see your life back here now. Troy you were referencing one of the differentiators is the approach at the front of the project. I'm going to be specific. I'm assuming that means and clarifying and documenting a scope of work for the project.

Troy: That's exactly right.

Ron:  Do you have an impression that most. I'd just say the industry at large and let's call it the residential space. Do you feel that dealers or integrators at large do an effective job of documenting scope i.e. that's been shared with the clients and the client knows what to expect?

Troy: No I don't think so. I think we've all maybe tried to accomplish that in some form or fashion because we've been bitten by you know, well gee I thought I was getting this or why don't I have that but that's a challenging thing to do and it's not fun. But if you start with the mindset that you're going to build a scope book that you can rely on to pull from and that you're not going to try to one-off everything over time it does get faster. It does get easier and it's always better to clarify with your customer up front as much as you can. But having said all that Adapt actually changes a lot of that and we'll talk about that when we get to it. But it's actually changed the necessity for the details that we used to manage on the front end.

Ron:  So you've given me a perfect segue way. Thank you very much. By mentioning Adapt. So you launched Adapt, PD Adapt to be specific. You launched that a few years ago and I remember this goes all the way back to when One Firefly was even dabbling in Crestron programming , you inferred that you had something pretty special in the works. And then two years ago you launched that solution. Can you tell us what that is? There's going to be Crestron dealers here watching this video listening to this video that maybe have never heard of Pantech Design and never heard of PD Adapt. What is this groundbreaking software that you guys have developed?

Troy: So Adapt is a Swiss Army knife it is the fastest most flexible way to program a Crestron residential system that we've ever seen and it's being the Swiss Army knife , it allows you to to be very very fast, very repetitive or very very custom or control anything you want and you're not in the sandbox and so it allows for well pretty much anything. Hence the name.

Ron:  Now is Adapt. Are you programming or are you configuring or is configuring a dirty word or is you know, what exactly is the dealer doing when they're using this software?

Troy: So yes all of the above. And it and it depends on your business model or the project or the client even as to how much real programming you need to do vs. configuration. So you do start in simple windows, you do some programming but we've taken a lot of the mundane tasks away from that. You're not doing any of your video switching in there even really. What a touch panel is going to control. None of that's handled now in simple windows for that matter even IR drivers RS 232 drivers and those types of things that's not even in simple Windows. Once you get done with the simple Windows side of things you really are spending in the majority of your time in a configuration platform that we've built from the ground up and it allows you to configure what a user interface is going to look like, what it's going to control , what order lists are going to be in, what names of things are going to be . You know all that stuff is now taken care of in a very simple application that quite frankly most technician, I'd say all technicians should fly through. It's pretty cool. But what's great about it and like I said earlier the Swiss Army knife is that when we do get thrown the curve balls we can handle them. Doesn't matter what it is. I mean I love this story because it happened and it's a great one that we had a client come to us and say oh we just found out we're going to put a dance floor in down in this room and we've got these dance floor lights that we want to control and you know can we do that too? And a lot of sandbox applications out there. You're having to tell your customer no. And we as a company and most Crestron dealers would agree that they love the fact that they can do whatever they want but that comes at a cost or there's some pain involved sometimes in dealing with that. So we'd like to keep that in play but we want to take away some of the some of the difficulty of controlling the devices. And so yeah you can do whatever you want.

Ron:  Now Pantech Design is a CSP. We're going to use acronyms some acronym soup here. So you're a Crestron Service Provider. I think that CSP and PD Adapt is a Crestron integrated partner.

Troy: Yes a CIP.

Ron:  So what is a CIP and why is there a different association of partnership with Crestron because of that software?

Troy: Yeah. This is a really special thing to me. What a CIP is is a company that Crestron has vetted through communication with their engineers and evaluation of their products and creation of a module or driver to control that product. So an example might be that's a great example Sonos, Amazon Alexa stuff , you know those things they're Crestron integrated partners. And essentially what that means is that their stuff's been vetted. Well, Crestron's going on 50 years old. And they for the first time in that in that almost 50 year history have given a company our company, the distinction of a Crestron integrated partner. But it's different because we make software that goes into their boxes instead of making a box that their box controls. So it's kind of a big deal because there's been a lot of companies over the years that have tried to make a one size fits all type thing or you know a faster way to program things or whatever and they've all kind of fizzled and died and most of that is because I don't think they were focused on the right things. But you know that's just an opinion. What Adapt really brings to the table and really creates for the Crestron dealer is a one-stop shop so to speak for handling all the things that can get thrown at them. And Crestron really likes that because it's only gonna help them sell more product. So the Crestron integrated partner is you know exactly what it sounds like but we're a little bit different because we make software that goes in their boxes.

Ron:  Got it. Well we've had somebody comment on Facebook. Taylor said that the software sounds very interesting. I think Taylor will be checking that out. Thanks Taylor. If you're out there watching please let us know we're very curious if you've had experiences outsourcing your programming or if you do programming in-house. We'd like to know that as well. Just to give us that comment there on Facebook and also if you're liking this conversation and you think Troy's a swell guy and you want all of your friends on Facebook and in the industry to meet Troy please give us a share it really helps us get some organic reach on the content and that's greatly appreciated. So thank you guys. Now Troy what is the business model with Adapt at a high level? I don't know if this is information you share publicly but do what does a dealer need to do contractually or financially with you if they're programming Crestron and now they're going to come into your fold of Adapt dealers what do they need to do what sort of commitment?

Troy: So there's really just a small upfront commitment. And once they do that they have our full support. They get training they get you know demo keys and things like this and then you know it's pretty much just per project. You pay for a license for your processor when you use the Adapt software, it logs into a server activates and then you're done. It's a pretty simple thing and one of the things that our Adapt dealers love most I think is our support. Being able to call the actual developers of the product and communicate with them directly and get help has been. You know when I do surveys and things with our our dealers, that's been one of their favorite things that and obviously the speed of getting the job done so but there's not a whole lot they have to do other than an upfront subscription. And it's a one-time thing and then every time they use it it's a small fee on the project.

Ron:  Now if a dealer has historically been programming things in house.. I'm going to give it an example here, kind of broad and you're going to say Ron I can't give you an answer it's not specific enough. Well let's say it's two hundred thousand dollar top-line job meaning that's the total retail of the project. That's hardware, labor taxes, that's the whole enchilada. And I'm going to be very broad and say a dealer might typically sell that programming for 10 percent say 20 thousand dollars of that ticket might be historically programming. And how long might that on average normally take a dealer to do if they're using the normal software tools from Crestron? And based on this example how long that might it take if they were using the Adapt software and is it even suitable is it a proper application where you could use the Adapt software? I'm making an assumption there.

Troy: Yeah. Yeah of course. Adapt the name. Like I said earlier it kind of says it all. We haven't run into a project we can't do. No matter how big but it just.. What you just described is the perfect scenario and the percentage that you used is absolutely accurate for the old days and doing it the old ways. 10 percent of the retail of a project is typically a good number. And that is going to be somewhere around four weeks maybe five weeks. And of course, it's relative to the experience level of the programmer and so on and so forth. That same project today with Adapt, we get that thing done in about three to four days and we would charge half as much if I was an integrator. So the idea there is that you've cut your programming time down by greater than 50 percent and that's relative to your business model. And you're kind of rinse and repeat capabilities within the Adapt framework. And once you get to a specific point with your own business. Yeah you get to maybe spend twenty-five percent of the time that you used to spend and charge half as much and end up making more money in the end. And that's really what it's all about is making money, staying in business, and supporting your customers.

Ron:  Now can you give me and my audience an example of a dealer would you be so bold as to say hey here's the name of a company that some people in the industry may have heard of before that are having it. We don't need to say how much money they're doing with you or any of that jazz but just these guys have made a concerted effort in our programming. A good percentage of their Crestron projects using the Adapt platform and realizing success.

Troy: Yeah. So we currently have close to 70 dealers that are Adapt dealers. There's about 410-415 Adapt homes out there. And I mean I would venture to say probably all of my Apapt dealers would love to be the one I'm going to pick on here but I might.

Ron:  So we're going to lay the groundwork. This is not your favorite necessarily. This is just one that you could pick a name out of a hat right.

Troy: I'm gonna I'm going to choose a company called ATI, guy named Mike Willis. He was an early adopter. And he's probably completed somewhere close to 50 I think Adapt projects by now. And he initially when he started his first project he saved he said roughly about 50 to 60 percent relative to the way he was doing it before. He's now sitting somewhere around 90 percent 85-90 percent relative to the way he used to be doing it. And the reason for that is because over time he's crafted his own look and feel and in his own way of using the Adapt framework. And so now the rinse and repeat that he's able to accomplish because of the configuration style of doing this is pretty amazing. And one of the other things that he did that I think any Crestron dealer would tell you would use a little scary is he actually went back to I think he said like 15 clients that had Crestron and said listen we've got a whole new software thing and we'd like to upgrade you redo you. And so on and so forth. And it's the software that really kind of allowed him the comfort to go back in and actually do that because a lot of guys once they get these systems done, they kind of want to just leave them be. I think we've all had a few firmware experiences in our time. And so you know things like that get a little scary but he's been comfortable going back and actually made a separate business model out of that alone.

Ron:  Wow that's fascinating. Well typically Troy I do these Automation Unplugged's and we only take 30 minutes but I feel like we've only scratched the surface. So if you'll allow me I'd like to take a few more minutes of your time. Does that work for you?

Troy: Yeah absolutely.

Ron:  And folks out there watching. Thanks again for watching. And please like our content and or share it just so that I know that you guys are alive say hello in the comments. Don't be shy. Don't just be a watcher and not participate here. So please let us know what you think about the content and the topic. And if you don't program Crestron you know in the comments. Tell me what you do what you do install in terms of automation systems. I love to hear that as well. Now Troy you just moved into a new house or you're moving into a new house?

Troy: I am moving. I moved in last week There is a local integrator at my house today retroing about 100 wires.

Ron:  Retrofitting one hundred. So you're going and busting walls and pulling wire and all that jazz?

Troy: Lucky I don't have to. It's actually a one-story home which I'm very thankful for. I got a big attic and now we're just making drops and yeah we're gonna, we'll do you know. Basically I'll move my system from my old place but obviously I've got to make some changes because the new place is a little different but yeah. Crestron system will be going back in, energy monitoring and you know the whole smash pretty much. I mean I like to live breathe eat and sleep the stuff because I need to experience our software and I need to experience Crestron's hardware so I can communicate intelligently about it.

"Moving is never easy and getting a bunch of technology up and running. Maybe now with Adapt software it's a piece of cake but typically that can be a handful."

Ron:  That makes sense. Well good luck with that transition. Moving is never easy and getting a bunch of technology up and running. Maybe now with Adapt software it's a piece of cake but typically that can be a handful.

Troy: It's certainly easier. But you know there's a lot more to it than just that end of things.

Ron:  Right I'm assuming there'll be a lot of long nights and weekends.

Troy: You got it.

Ron:  Yeah you gotta keep Mama happy so you gotta keep the technology working.

Troy: That's right.

Ron:  That's right. So now this you're on Facebook Live. We're live here in front of our audience will ultimately have this content pushed out in front of thousands of people which is kind of cool. This is not your only live event this month. Is that correct? There is some exciting news that you have. I know I was excited to hear it for you. Can you tell our audience what the big news is? I think at this point it's public. But you're right. You're going to have another live forum for discussing your company and your software.

Troy: Correct. Yeah. Crestron is, some of the pressure on dealers may already know they do these Wednesday webinars and we have an upcoming webinar on the 28th of June where we're going to talk about the the state of programming. You know programming is a very confusing thing. Whether you're a new integrator to Crestron or you've been doing it for 15-20 years, it is confusing and what product do you use what software product do you use and when and why? And how do you tie them all together? Do you even need to? Should you? Well all of those things so we're gonna be discussing simple Windows, simple Sharp, Ping, D3 Pro, VT Pro and of course Adapt as well. So it's pretty exciting to have Crestron allow us a forum like that to share our third party with the dealers. I'll use Crestron's words John Clancy likes to say man. It's another tool in the toolbox and we need these tools. And you know this Adapt stuff being that Swiss Army knife is what a lot of integrators are looking for.

Ron:  Well pretty exciting. Congratulations. Now remind the audience here if you're a Crestron dealer how do you sign up for a register for that webinar training? And it is restricted to only Crestron dealer's correct?

Troy: That is correct. You will not be able to attend if you're not a current Crestron dealer and pretty much you know Crestron will send out an email and they do like you know two or three I think different emails for that same webinar series and you can sign up literally as you know close to I mean right at the webinar time.

Ron:  There's no registration deadline up at the moment the registry webinar starts? And so what day is that? That is what?

Troy: It's June 28th.

Ron:  June 28. And what time?

Troy: I believe it's at 11:30 but to be honest I cannot remember exactly. I think that's right.

Ron:  Okay. So anyone should contact their Crestron regional manager. Sure. In order to find out exactly that start time. Now you have highlighted Troy that your firm focuses primarily in the residential space are calling on and working with residential integrators. And it was just I believe it was last year that Crestron pulled out of CEDIA, the big trade show for the residential space. And of course, now CEDIA has also sold that show and there's a new person or new company an operation running that. But what was your interpretation of Crestron pulling out of that event and what do you think that means for the industry?

Troy: Well I think we all had our initial maybe knee jerk reaction to it. But I was fortunate. I knew this was coming, sort of, I didn't have any confirmation of any of it but I got you know a little tidbit of hey you you might want to you know think about this or that.

Ron:  I can tell you're trying to be politically correct here. So you don't have to give any names but what do you think it means for the integrators attending that show? I mean do you think Crestron integrators stopped going to the show because of that or do you think it opens them up to looking at alternative products or do you think it has no effect?

Troy: I don't think it has as large of an effect as people wanted to think it did. I think that any good Crestron integrator sells a lot of other products and there's I mean everybody else is at CEDIA. And so you know I don't think that Crestron pulling out of CEDIA is going to affect the show's attendance. I think there are other factors that might but I don't think it's Crestron pulling out of CEDIA that's going to affect and I think I think it was a smart choice because what they did was they actually took that that money and I don't know if many people know how much or how expensive these shows are. I mean Ron you've exhibited, I've exhibited, these are not inexpensive things to do and when you're Crestron and you've got the biggest booth, it gets expensive. So what they actually did was they took that money. And you'll notice that that choice, the timeframe of that choice coincided with John Clancy the new V.P. of Residential coming on board and kind of a re-up with the residential industry you know people were questioning Gee is Crestron getting out of residential and you know now it was just a matter of time. And so Clancy coming on board who was on the board of CEDIA at the time that they pulled out you know and a combination of that and just a reinvestment in money towards things that the dealers needed right now and need all year long. I think it was a smart decision to do and something else that may happen that I hope happens is I think Creston should do their own show. I think that there's some neat things that we as Crestron integrators or partners or service providers can gain from a focus because if you're a Crestron dealer you know they've got a ridiculous amount of skews and so being able to you know to see all of them and spend time with those people is pretty important.

Ron:  Troy bringing in the controversial opinions to the table.

Troy: Sorry.

Ron:  No, that's good man. It's going to be exciting to see how it plays out right for sure. Now for our audience do you have any observations on trends that you're seeing happen in the marketplace with Crestron dealers. You can kind of take that. It's an open-ended question any direction you like but I'm curious what your observations are.

"Every manufacturer has some idiosyncrasies, some things that we have to know and deal with. And those typically bite us and they look they cost us money. Well once you get those figured out and you know what to do and what not to do you can start to hone in on that efficiency in a way that you won't be able to hone in on if you're trying to manage the idiosyncrasies of five or six different manufacturers."

Troy: Yeah that's a great question and a favorite one because yes there is a trend and the trend is is people are starting to focus on make how to make money. I think that that you know early on in 2000 man it was all just coming in and you could you didn't have to work very hard to to to maintain a lot of business coming in it just happening but then went through a little bit of a rough spot and people have started to focus a little bit more on how to become more efficient and that efficiency adding to profitability. That's one of the trends but there's a deeper trend there as well and that is in deep fragmentation of their businesses. I think that even while I think a lot of dealers out there have to make these weird calls about what product to use for a specific application or and I'll just say Well this product or this project should be small and so we'll do this and this is a bigger project and so we'll do this thing and you know that has caused people to have that jack of all trades master of none. Or I'll say it this way, every manufacturer has some idiosyncrasies, some things that we have to know and deal with. And those typically bite us and they look they cost us money. Well once you get those figured out and you know what to do and what not to do you can start to hone in on that efficiency in a way that you won't be able to hone in on if you're trying to manage the idiosyncrasies of five or six different manufacturers. And so de-fragmenting and kind of focusing and I call it squeezing dollars out of time. That's huge. And especially you know the Adapt dealers are seeing that too because you know Adapt has helped them in that deep fragmentation of their business.

Ron:  Now if members of our audience are interested in learning more about Pantech Design and or PD Adapt software where would you direct them?

Troy: You can go to either Pantechdesign.com or you can go to PDAdapt.com and Pantech Design website will get you over to PD Adapt as well . Pantech Design's a landing page, shows you a little bit about our team, a little bit about our process how we do what we do and then the PD Adapt website is going to take you through a much deeper dive on the software you'll be able to watch videos you'll be able to see what people are saying on the forums testimonials you know those types of things you can get a sense of what the software is how it works and how it can help you.

Ron:  What does the next step for person look like that wants to see more interactive. Do you guys offer interactive demonstrations or is there any way to kind of get a better insight than just visiting the website?

Troy: Absolutely. We love to do online demos. It's very eye-opening and I love to hear the direct response when I demo for people what Adapt is and how it works. So pretty much hit the website, you know reach out either through the website or you can obviously reach out directly to me or D.J. Singleton. He's my V.P. of Sales the guy's an ace his follow up is phenomenal. And you know just either one of us we're here to help you.

Ron:  I think a member of your team has helped both of us. A member of your team has posted to the comments your website.

Troy: Oh well thank you for that.

Ron:  So there you go. More than ever. Maybe that was D.J. could have been. And good job being on the ball there with a quick response. Now , Troy, this is completely from left field here but this is kind of close to my heart. And one of my hobbies and that's robots. And as you know I'm a mentor for a robotics team here in South Florida. And so you also just so happened to have perhaps an infatuation or love or appreciation for robots and you've taken it in a pretty creative direction. Do you mind sharing that with the audience?

"I built from the ground up the very first to my knowledge and only Crestron-controlled R2D2 in the world."

Troy: Yes. So obviously a very long story here but I built from the ground up the very first to my knowledge and only Crestron-controlled R2D2 in the world. And he's accurate to the T. He's beautiful. And the whole purpose and the reason why I did it was. Yeah I mean I'm a Star Wars fan and yeah I love. I love robotics and stuff like that but it was really to show off that I don't really care what device you have you can control it with Adapt and that's really that's what we did. You know Adapt controls R2D2. So I have control of him from my Apple Watch and my phone and all my touch screens.

Ron:  And you can pull up your phone right now and he'll drive into your office there and start talking to you shoot up a hologram of Princess Leia?

Troy: So not yet. But he does. He does have his electronics are engineered for a Microsoft Kinect and a Surface One. So he'll have some fully autonomous capability when I can get the time to pop his head back off and dig in and play around and make some stuff happen.

Ron:  So imagine you've been a little busy lately.

Troy: Tad. Yeah.

Ron:  Where could anyone watching see your R2D2? Is that posted anywhere online?

Troy: Yeah. If you go to our Facebook page or you go to Twitter or you know any one of our social media things we'll show you a little bit about it. But there's one specific video that's pretty amazing. And that is that the video around Christmas time I did last year where I made the Amazon Alexa control R2D2. The speed at which that happens is pretty astounding when you look at what is involved in taking your voice and sending it out to the cloud and having it come back down to the Crestron processor and having the Crestron processor then send out over Wi-Fi to the Crestron processor in R2D2 and then R2D2's Crestron processor has to send data over to another thing and turn on a light and that happens instantaneously. So that's a fun video to watch. You just see it on our Facebook page is pretty cool.

Ron:  Awesome. Well the driver of the Pantech page or whoever is watching D.J. if that's you, feel free. Post a link to that video or that content here on the comment string so that everyone watching and listening can maybe get quick access to that. Troy, I want to thank you very much sir for giving us a very generous 50 minutes of your time today and sharing with our audience. It was great having you on the show.

Troy: Thanks man. It's always a pleasure. You know I enjoy what you guys are doing and love being a small part of it. So thank you.

Ron:  Oh my pleasure. So ladies and gentlemen thank you very much for the bottom of my heart. Thanks for spending the last 50 minutes with me. Couple of updates. We are working on the technology that's going to let us take transcription from these shows and get that added so that even if you want to see the interviews and see the interesting questions and answers from my guests from across the industry in very short order that is going to be a part of this feed. So even if you come back to the page and you want to watch or listen or read some of the past interviews you're going to be able to do that. So with that. Have a great rest of your Thursday. Have a great rest of your week. And we will see you next week. Thank you so much for joining. Thanks everyone.

Show Notes

Troy is the President of PanTech Design, LLC, a control system design, engineering and programming firm specializing in Crestron control systems for the residential and commercial industries. Troy held a variety of roles at Crestron to include applications engineer and key dealer manager. But, in his position as regional sales manager, he was exposed to the need to start a company like Pantech Design.

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:

You can also learn more about Pantech Design athttps://pantechdesign.com/ Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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