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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 #8: an Industry Q&A Session with Mike Maniscalco

Unique Insight into RMR for AV Professionals

Watch Episode #8: an Industry Q&A Session with Mike Maniscalco

In this Automation Unplugged interview, Ron Callis interviews Mike Maniscalco, the Co-founder and VP of Product for ihiji. Mike's firm is an award-winning software monitoring platform aimed at helping systems integrators and IT professionals easily maintain commercial and residential networks.

About Mike Maniscalco

Mike has a BS in Computer Science from Georgia Institute of Technology, specializing in networks and telecommunications. With nearly two decades of experience in network engineering and business management, Mike is published in multiple CEDIA handbooks and guides. Mike is a CEDIA Registered Outreach Instructor as well as a member of several CEDIA committees, such as the CEDIA IT/Networking Task Force Committee and the CEDIA Tech Council.

Interview Recap

In the interview, Ron was able to pick Mike's brain on a variety of topics, such as:

  • Mike's background in the audio video space

  •  Mike and Stuart's approach to selling their home automation company

  • The meaning behind the name ihiji

  • Why they chose to base ihiji in Austin

  • How networking has evolved in this industry over the years

  • Hindrances in achieving success with RMR

  • What RMR

  •  What RMR can mean for a business in terms of valuation

  •  A breakdown of ihiji's tools

  •  How fast it typically takes to get ramped up with ihiji

For the full interview, start the video below:


Interview Transcript

Hello everyone, Ron CallIs here with One Firefly and Automation Unplugged. Thanks for joining us today. It is 12:30 on Wednesday June 21st, thank you very much for joining us today and taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule or maybe you're sitting there eating your lunch and you have us running in the background but regardless thank you very much.

I've got a fun guest today, got Mike Maniscalco from ihiji. He's a VP of product for that fast-growing technology company based in Texas.

Before we get to Mike, I'm actually going to look over here as I always do and make sure that our Facebook stream is running for those of you that have tried to play around with Facebook live streaming, you know it can be tricky and it's always a good idea to make sure everything's working.

Yep looks like we are good so we're gonna jump right over and we are going to say hi to Mike.

How's it going, Mike? Good. I just did the same thing, I looked at our smiling faces on Facebook. It's the first time I've done a Facebook live. It's kind of exciting.

it's kind of surreal isn't it? Yeah definitely cool to see yourself.

Mike if you don't mind, share that feed and my team will be doing the same and we're going to ask all of those watching to also make sure you share this content so that your friends in the a/v and security space will have a chance to see this content show up in their newsfeed.

Also we're going to do our best as we go along to ask you guys and gals questions and we'd love to get your feedback so real-time feedback if you have any questions for Mike as we go you certainly can pose those questions in the comments and we'll try to do our best to make sure that there are real-time responses and answers to thosequestions.

But Mike, let's go ahead and jump right into it. We're going to try to keep this to ultimately around 30 minutes and if things are getting hot and heavy and we need to go longer then we'll go longer, but we'll try to keep it short and sweet for the audience.

Mike can you give a little bit of background to my audience in terms of your background in the audio/video industry? Kind of how did you land in this space and how did that come about?

yeah we took a non-traditional route. where do I start? So the the best way started in the beginning and back in college we did a project with Bell that was a kind of home of the future as part of an R&D initiative that Bell had going with emerging technologies mainly around home networking technologies but with that it was voice over IP there is a video over IP, there was a home theater involvement project there was a you could order like products right from my not a handheld smartphonebut literally they had a prototype touchscreen desktop phone where you could order Domino's and things. Anyway a bunch of fun fun stuff.

I'm a tech geek obviously so we did this projectand we talked to the guy that was doing it and he did home theater systems and then we realized this is actually a career opportunity .

Oh that's pretty pretty interesting.

Anyway we did the project, went on graduated went on to the real world got some real jobs doing software engineering, network management, network engineer - anything along those lines and quickly kind of grew interested in doing something other than the corporate world, so came together with Stuart who's the co-founder here. We had known each other through Bell South and through college and we said okay let's start a business.

What about that home automation thing that we we did a few years back? That seems pretty interesting so I started researching the industry and got pretty interested in it, got a job found that it was actually something we really enjoyed doing, and then decided to start our own business so we started a business that right into your backyard in the palm beach market of Florida doing larger scale integration, and we were kind of pushing the envelope of what you could do with IP and coming from the IT background we knew what networks for design do, how they were designed to be scalable, reliable, fast and efficient. rs-232 seems dated and we start pushing the envelope.

Obviously there's some lessons learned as a lot of people did in doing early automation systems on IP but as part of those pain points that we were experiencing our customers were experiencing and we developed solutions to monitor all the IP devices and the networks for our clients.

What was the time frame of that business if you don't mind.Sorry to start interrupt but just to give this perspective. You know computers had been invented by that point right?

yeah yeah so the timeline, is that what you're asking?

Yeah, the timeline in terms of sorry you don't get a visual here but the timeline when you started your integration business so you both had careers out in kind of corporate America and then you decided to jump into the the integration space running an integration firm. What was that what were the years that you were doing that?

Yeah so we started the integration company in 2005-2006 time period so we started then and then in ran that for about 4-5 years before we we sold that business for prospective.

What were you doing in that firm? What what sort of technologies were you using, what sort of solutions were you were you regularly installing?

So we were doing a whole home automation systems, everything from audio to lighting control, home theaters - you know, the standards that the integrators are doing out there. We were doing control systems we were foolish enough to dabble in Crestron control control for wasn't actually quite around at the time Crestron, Savant, we dabbled in and AMX with AMX kind of being our primary system but we were trying to juggle all three which as most of you know it's difficult. They're three different very different and they're very capable very different solution so a lot of large-scale automation systems we had a good SMB like commercial-grade Network backhaul for all the systems there and you know a lot of its about support especially in the palm beach market where your customers they want that level of support and they need somebody there to be able to care of them.

How did the experience that you and Stuart gained as integrators in the palm beach market, how did that then lend itself to your next natural step being I think the next step was starting a ihiji if I'm correct?

yeah so the experience was pretty typical. I think almost anybody who's in our business has these stories where you were just getting constant phone calls nights, weekends, holidays because something was broken and it wasn't necessarily your fault sometimes the ISP had issues, sometimes the user had issues themselves sometimes the systems that you installed have problems but with all the complexity there seem to be constant firefighting, you know, and it got a little bit exhausting pretty quickly about having to fight all these fires on a constant 24/7 basis so what we did was we developed our monitoring solution for our own use. Honestly it wasn't really a product we're looking to commercialize to help us be more proactive and servicing our customers and help us deliver more service to them remotely but we didn't have to drop everything hop in the truck and drive down to that that client site just to to troubleshoot and resolve their issues so it really set the stage for ihiji and what we did today and it allowed us to create a recurring revenue stream within that business through service contracts and ultimately I think the service contracts gave us some value when we went to exit that business so kind of natural progression we we sold that business and spun technology out into a ihiji it really was both the industry as a whole had the exact same problems exact same headaches exact same challenges when we do a try to help the industry with those issues.

Can you provide a little more detail around the fact that you started and and ran and then were successful in selling your integration business all in a rather short period of time? You know that concept of selling one's business in the integration space is generally a bit of a nebulous goal and you know people that they might desire being able to do that don't exactly know how to go about that so you did that in a very short period of time and you said that securing maintenance agreements or service contracts is one of the keys to increasing your value in making that asset worth something can you provide a little more color to that?

Yeah absolutely so I think what we realized quickly as we were trying to run two businesses that were both fairly young and had a lot of growth potential but our ability as a small company on both sides of the coin and both ihiji and o Stark was named the business our ability to do what we wanted on either of those with the small team and the limited resources with handicaps because we were trying to do both so we couldn't do either as well as we'd like so we kind of looked at the scenario and said okay what what are our options here and I think we're pretty analytical folks.

Stuart and I and David who involved at the time as well he said well let's evaluate the opportunities and make a decision and we did and we said you know ihiji really it caters to our background of software engineering and networking and things like that it is a bigger opportunity then in the start at the end of the day because it is a global market that we can tackle without having a boots on the ground and every one of those markets it was the recurring revenue business model which we really obviously have as we preach to dealers every day really like so that's what we said okay what should we do with in Envostar you know we've got customers we've got customers who are actually committed to us they're paying us annually to provide service we just don't want to drop everything right that's not really the goal we have built something of value we said well maybe there are others in this industry who find value we've created and we started talking to some people and we brainstormed at the end of the day what we end up selling was to electoral contractor and that contractor not only had a electrical firm but he had a low voltage wiring firm and he had an alarm and fire alarm business so he's looking to diversify and continue to grow and said this is natural I can leverage your brand's and the the branch your license to sell like the Lutron in the correct rounds of the world I can expand my business by capturing more contracts with each home that we do and kind of went into conversations with him and a few others and ultimately came to terms on the deal we did it quickly absolutely because we were also trying to get ihiji in and get that going as quickly as possible we had a product which was we had developed at that point us ready to sell so it was interesting that the thing we learned is that it never happens as quickly as you'd like.

It took us months to close the deal to the point where we had already made plans to start out ihiji in office and a lease lined up in Austin like we'd say okay well clearly this isn't going to take more the next month I don't remember what the timeframe was at six months so we made plans we got a lease out here we had made up living arrangements not here thinking the deal have been closed we can make a nice clean transition it literally went down to the day that the moving trucks are packed we were in the lawyer's office and having packed the moving van signing legal documents with the new business and that same afternoon we hit the road to Orlando to EHX when they still post that Orlando and launched ihiji the next day publicly at our booth and two days later after that we packed our cars back up and literally had all our IP phones and servers and everything in our cars and continued driving to Austin hit the ground and Monday morning in Austin and we're up and running so it was a whirlwind for sure.

oh that's an awesome story I'm sure a lot of our audience can relate I am curious and above folks to post if you have intentions if you're a business owner, do you have intents or any sort of focus on selling your business and if so you know tell us that in it and if you do not have intentions to sell your business and I'll say hey I work for somebody I don't own the business let us know that I'd love to hear feedback from you folks so I can share that with our audience.

Stephen just commented, Mike, he said this is a Stephen Stetson he says such a great story so I can tell you you know I've been in the space you know maybe a little bit longer than you guys since back in 2000 and you don't hear that many stories of integrators successfully packaging their company up and selling it and being proud about that experience I think there's a lot of room for improvement industry-wide for that that success story to be shared but onto ihiji and guys keep commenting and posting love to hear from you and again want to hear from you if you've had any intentions of trying to sell your business or down the road you want to sell your business and give us as much detail as you can.

But let's let's talk about ihiji first of all where did this name come from?

so as I note is that we're we're kind of getting ready for CEDIA and we've got some exciting product stuff going and our having to name this new product and I think I've proven one thing that I can come up withI ave some wild and crazy company names the name the bit after we came up with the name our PR firm said you know what you guys have a better story for where you came up with this name so we developed some acronym which I think I'm the only one on the planet that still knows and it wasn't the best so we abandoned that at the end of the day it really doesn't have a meaning we have the kind of mythical mr. ihji and we've kind of played it made a fun brand with it but the honest answer is a had a bunch of names for a bunch of them on the back cocktail napkin that's a happy hour at a sushi restaurant obviously I think the ihiji name has a little bit of a, there was iTunes and iPod was big at the time Fiji was the thing we liked the domain name was available some of it's a big decision so we said you know what we like it's kind of wet web 2.0 was the hot thing at the time so people were coming up with crazy names we said well let's do it let's go with it and we would kind of run with it since then.

Okay well I appreciate that answer I knew there was a ninja and some ninja swords involved and as is that we just have fun with it at this point it's we might as well embrace it so I'd like to say in a future career I could become a consultant on how not to name a company because I want to say I'm calling for ihiji and you're like uh-huh what yeah what how do you spell huh okay, so what are your day-to-day duties? you said you have a partner Stuart Rench I believe and what are your day-to-day duties within ihiji?

yeah I mean we're still a small company compared to a lot of the industry I generally on a day-to-day basis handle of the product strategy product decision some of the newer things we're working on I intend to play with and also I had most of our marketing efforts on this at this point so that we dabble in sales I try to stay away from sales but I end up helping quite a bit there I don't program as much anymore the programs don't like it when I touch good but yes generally product and marketing is where I I spend a lot of my time.

Got it now you guys decided to base your business in Austin and you were you just mentioned that previously you're running your integration firm out of Palm Beach Florida. Are you guys from Austin is that why you landed there or what were the reasons or considerations that you chose to move across the country and and parked your business in Texas?

yeah there's actually a good story here as well I'll share it because I do like the story when we sold the business before we were even thinking of moving we knew we were doing ihiji in fact the guy that helped us with  our initial user design has been commenting on the video too how's that okay well we need a hire sort of developers and we did and we hired our first developers, his name's verun and we hired him out of University of Florida and it took us a few months took us a lot longer than we thought would to hire that individual and Varun had a lot of talents but he was he had a master's degree generally he was more than qualified for the position than we were needing and we said you know that was a lot of work we also had at the end of the day we ended up having to work out some visa issues and no big deal but it wasn't there's no way scalable and Stuart especially as has a very a mindset where he thinks scalability is one of those core thin s that he thinks about and we looked at each other and said you know we're gonna have to hire dozens more developers of a lifetime of our business is this the right market to do in it?

Palm Beach is a great market for integration obviously there's a great demographic for that I was actually from Florida I grew up in Jupiter so a lot of my family was there I love the beach but it wasn't necessarily the right place to go start up off the ground so we were looking at other cities I had ties or Stewart and I both had ties to Atlanta through Georgia Tech so we talked to the incubator at Georgia Tech my wife was at UNC in Chapel Hill so we talked to some of the folks up there in the tech community we looked at Boston we looked at places like that but neither of us particularly like cool, Stuart is from Texas and today Austin's great there's a strong startup community there so it took a trip out here talk to the Chamber of Commerce talk to the University of Texas their technology incubator out here really liked the experience out here I was a great startup environment the cost of business in Texas was wonderful compared to Silicon Valley and when we got accepted to the Austin technology incubator at UT that kind of tilted the skills in the favor of all center we we decided that this was the place we want to start the business.

What are some the benefits of being in an incubator you know I've heard of incubators happening all over the country I've heard references to Austin being called you know the the second Silicon Valley you know what what is it in an incubator environment that helps foster a new business there are a lot of benefits especially for an early-stage startup.

The first is just the physical things you know you get turnkey office space your leases are pretty flexible with the cost is pretty reasonable so there's that piece an they you know they fill that just show up and plug in you'll have network you have everything you need to give power you don't worry about getting pe mits to operate or renovations on your lease all the things that you've experienced I'm sure others have when they started a business in a physical facility so that's that made a lot of sense a lot of what the co-working facilities provide today but an incubator is usually like more than that you get access to resources adviser resources so they have a strong network and leveraging the network was important too in Florida we had a pretty strong network from our involvement and and just relationships down there but and Austin neither of us really h d a good Network here so the incubator serves as an instant extension our own network and  allow us to get out to the community and find advisors, find early investors  and things like that so they make connections to thos e types of people and then you're surrounded by others that are going through similar experiences and starting a company having other people you can talk to even about their technology that they're using say what do you guys develop and what what language is what challenges you have or we're having  this technical challenge or this business challenge so there are a lot of benefits to to the incubator programs

ok now I appreciate that background for those of us out there in the audience that haven't heard of that or weren't familiar with that I'm sure that was enlightening both folks out there watching oh yeah and Taylor Whipple says and they have good barbecue, Austin's got amazing barbecue.

I've lived in the South, obviously had plenty of barbecue in Atlanta but in Kansas City for a year they had fantastic I didn't think it'd get better than Oklahoma Joes and then I moved to Austin and there are a dozen places that could compete but the best barbecue in the country and you have a Ray Allen says what's up ihiji? You know Ray and alright hey ray how's it going but thanks for watching it's I like big mugs I guess that's a beer I'm going to touch that as a great beer community to, we're beer nerds here at ihiji.

oh yeah all right well Mike you've been in the networking space it sounds like from the very beginning of your career and you're very intimately in the networking space now and in providing monitoring technologies for integrators to monitor networks in their clients projects and homes.How have you seen the networking marketplace change in notes maybe a big question and where do you see it going?

yeah it's a big question because I think initially when we started in the industry IP was a dirty word because there are a lot of bad experiences I think one of the challenges with IP if you haven't done the implementation of it there are a lot of places where you can run into struggles both on the implementation but also when the manufacturer integrates the internet card into their equipment so people went through some pain points and struggles as the industry transitions but at this point is transition to a very reliable way of communicating and delivering content it's the backbone of all the systems and we believe that going back to when we had our investor company running I had volunteered for the CTO Technology Council we because we were doing a lot of Cisco Systems or with your IP system that did wise in the industry adopting IP and what can we do to help move it forward and talk to Dave Pedigo and Gordon Venzidon on the phone one day and next thing we knew I was participating in the tech council trying to help the industry figure out where where the network was going and how was it going to impact the industry so a lots changed over this probably close to 10 years where it is now probably the most critical system in the house. It just is.

It's the third or fourth important utility in the home now so it's been really interesting to watch how quickly that's changed we would try to do a lot of help with the industry to move things forward because there's a lot of new education that needs to be learned and things along those lines so been very involved with CEDIA from an education standpoint created some of the courses with networking I teach a lot of the boot camps I do a lot of instruction at CEDIA though because obviously at this point it's not going away going to become more important for integrators that as time goes on.

Now I'm looking at the clock I have so many things I want I want to go down a deeper dive regarding CEDIA and training but I think that might have to be in a version 2.0 of our interview watching the clock here and I want to make sure I get in some more questions regarding ihiji so specifically the recurring revenue model that helped you ultimately have a higher valuation at in Envostar and sell that business your company has been a big advocate of integrators getting better at this by writing contracts and helping them understand how to contract it help trying to help them how to market and sell it certainly giving them the technology behind the scenes that helps them ultimately have the ability to monitor that can you just maybe in a simplest way you could describe the basics of how you see an rmr service based model working for an integrator what do they need to do to be in that business?

yeah I mean at this point there is not a lot that the dealer needs to do to be in the business other than make the commitment I think that most integrators out there are so busy that finding the time to actually sit down and do it and make the commitment is one of the biggest hurdles because once they do that the resources are there the templates are there you know we've got everything under the Sun they need to get going the software is there to support it all we built our service manager tool to help them keep up with all the Billings in the back operation side of thing we even have marketing programs that you know we're working on with companies like yours to help them find even more success with rmr so really I think the biggest thing is commitment.

Where do you see the biggest hurdles right now I mean you are one thing I know you're a hard worker you're out there traveling the country you're always at some event training on not necessarily topics that are edgy but rather general and broad around networking networking design how to build an RMR business and such and so first of all thank you for doing that. It's a big contribution to the industry that often can be thankless so this is my small way of saying thank you for going out there and doing that and the people watching this show now also know that and hopefully they drop you soon thank yous as well.

What do you see as the biggest barrier or reason that integrators are not seeing success growing an RMR business and for those of you that don't know RMR it's recurring monthly revenue typically around you know dealers contracting their customer base for maintenance contracts or service plans you know it.

I think once you make a commitment the biggest hurdle of the sale side getting a sales team trained getting them comfortable selling something new that's not a projector not a not something that traditionally selling there are some barriers there and I think really the best place for integrators to find fast successes through marketing engine of some sort but a lot of integrators haven't ever had to think of the marketing engine because their business was project-based and those projects always came through referrals. recurring revenue is a little bit different because you're trying to mine an existing customer base so marketing I think of the plans more than sales is where dealers can probably find the best chance of success once they make that commitment and again that's something we're working with dealers every single day to help them with.

Got it so you're thinking that if they have a customer base they've sold and those customers have trusted them with their installations and it paid them for that work and so you know dealers have maybe hundreds in some cases thousands of past customers and so it's really a matter of them designing and executing the strategies to go back to that customer base perhaps putting a smart appliance in their home that lets the integrator have intelligence about what's working and what isn't working and then selling the customer on the benefits of that dealer being able to preemptively know those problems and then roll trucks to go out there and solve issues perhaps before the customer even knows they exist?

I mean that's that's the value prop right it's we are going to take care your systems we are going to be the trusted technology partner so when you have problems we're here to help and we do that through our proactive maintenance and support we do that through a remote monitoring and diagnostics capabilities and it all comes at a very attractive price and the interesting thing is that it's been proven over and over and over that it works and the customers want it I don't think there's any question about that in fact when an integrator makes a big push in any given market when one integrator makes a big move we see three or four integrators within a month start calling because all of a sudden customers are asking for it because somebody else in the market is talking about it so it is to me that's just proof that there's plenty of demand just a matter of capitalizing on it.

Can you give any general numbers around what it means for a business if they have say recurring revenue and I'm talking in terms of evaluation of what it means to a potential buyer versus a business that maybe is very successfully selling projects has a steady history of hitting certain revenue numbers assuming certain levels of profitability but say has no recurring revenue and it's all project-based sales what does it mean?

it mean well I would think that that would help people understand why they should at least try to figure it out having run a project big business I think I know your business is only as strong as your next contract right as the next project you bring on right there's always that level of unpredictability a recurring revenue not only brings consistent cash flow into the business but it also starts to build value and I think that if you've got a services business that doesn't have recurring revenue you're lucky to get one X you're trailing revenue like your last year's revenue right in the recurring revenue business if you look at parallels for like the security industry those multiples are three to five X annual revenues or 30 plus X monthly revenues depending on how they're building out their revenue so it's literally 100 percent increase to the value of your business and if even if you don't plan on selling your business in the near term that cash flow is undeniable it means that you can pay your employees every month because you've got that predictable cash flow coming in without any concerns you can sleep better knowing it you can take a vacation and realize that if a project doesn't come through and then that two-week period where you're out of the office things will be okay it lets you have something that's lendable if you want to buy a business or buy another business or by building and if you do want to go into mergers and acquisitions it's going to help you sell your business or it's going to give you leverage and make the company you're trying to to merge with so you know the value of rmr is undeniable and then we the good news is where I could spend a lot less time preaching that these days and it's a lot more about.

okay now how do you actually do it yeah all right I think that's a fair assumption that said you have been standing on a soapbox for the last six or seven years it seems like trying to spread that message and maybe what you're seeing are some of the fruits of that labor and and in the marketplace certainly seems to be listening you know I hear the concept of maintenance or service contracts meant I don't think a week goes by that somebody doesn't talk to me about that and how to drive that

o i we're seeing it from this end here at one Firefly I'm looking at Facebook feed and we are running already a couple of minutes over so I'm going to just ask one or two more questions and we'll get you out of here Mike and back to your day of designing awesome products but Ray did comment he says he uses the ihiji dashboard in his service department to proactively fix issues he says he also includes the appliance as part of our maintenance program.

Can you talk just for a moment about what the mechanics are what are that when he says the appliance and the dashboard I also know there's something else called service manager what is the the landscape look like within ihiji in terms of the products and software?

The quick overviews we have two main products we have our ihiji envision remote monitoring and management product root systems management is kind of a new term that the industry's put behind that and that does all the remote monitoring alerting Diagnostics inventory of all the devices identification the devices remote access for sport so that's envisioned to make that happen in a secure manner we have an appliance and the appliance is just a small hardware component you put on the client side and that allows us to collect all that information behind a firewall without having to penetrate the dealers network from the outside so keeps their systems more secure so the appliance is required to be on-site that's just an enabler for the software at that point the dealer does everything from our dashboard or from our cloud interface and they order from the mobile phone where they can access all their systems so that's envision and it's really the tool to deliver the service and then we've got another tool called service manager which we launched at CEDIA almost two years ago we won the best new product award. Service Manager is about the operations side of the service business.

It's about creating better customer experiences we like to think of it as creating customers for life it allows you to do that it helps you track all your warranties all your service plans does all the recurring billing and invoicing for your customers that money is deposited near your bank account it gives you a nice client-facing portal where you can advertise your service plans to the outside world and collect payments securely from your customers and also a help desk and ticketing solution built into it so those are our two products the little sneak peek at CEDIA those two products are starting to converge a little more into a new reimagine kind of experience for for the service and operations that your business and those two products being service manager and envision yes service manager and division will kind of come together in a union or a matter of marriages towards okay so that's part of what will be unveiled or perhaps teased on at CEDIA yeah you'll see you'll start to see over the next you know few weeks a month more more details or not that's a project we've been working on for quite some time.

Now the last question I'd like to ask is if someone let's say the integrator figures out the marketing piece so perhaps they're either getting very effective at selling it at the point of sale when they sell the system they sell the service plan it's all part of the sale and I've heard cases or use cases where some dealers have gotten very good at that and their take rate is very high alternatively let's make an assumption that they are effectively going back to their book of business and marketing and getting interest getting clients coming on board saying yes I'd like to add this capability to my system how long does it typically take for an integrator to get ramped up so let's say you you're at cedia hopefully you know maybe it happens right after this Facebook live but someone knocks on your door and you already said you don't want to handle sales Mike so they talk to your sales team and they're the the sales team take good care of them and they they sign a contract and they come on board how long does it take them to get ramped up and maybe you know be successful if I'd be so bold how long does that take you know it shouldn't take long everything's there we've had I literally have had dealers and this is going back years so - we've given the templates - and they call the next day and say hey I just sold one so it shouldn't take a lot of work I think if you really want it depends on how you define success but we have templates that you can put into your email marketing system and send out the next day and convert so it really doesn't take a lot of time it's more about well let's understand your customers your goals let's make sure you want you're happy with all the materials we have in place, you don't need any tweaks and then let's get it done I like to say the faster you can move on the recurring revenue the better off you are because that recurring revenue compounds so I encourage people to move quickly.

Mike, do you have any closing remarks for our audience? You know speak now or forever hold your peace as my mom used to say.

I mean I think a lot of the audience out there we see on the road at all the events ProSource and Azione and HTSA and the tech summits and CEDIA so you know we're pretty accessible if you do have followup questions we're here to help that's one of the things we really go out of our way to do is provide all the resources and access you need to help be successful. We want to do this industry successful which is why we created our race for RMR where we're trying to incentivize dealers to get out there and and get RMR in place before CEDIA Expo. We really want to see how far we can move the entire industry as a whole so we don't have much else to add other than I appreciate everybody's time I know that everybody's busy out there today taking the time to tune in is appreciated and I look forward to seeing everybody in San Diego. Awesome, thank you, Mike and thanks Mike for being such a great guest and working with me before we got started and getting the tech working and cooperating and you're very patient. You made for a great guest with great feedback to my questions so thank you very much sir. Appreciate you having us on.

My pleasure and guys and gals thank you again for joining me for another episode of automation unplugged. It is my pleasure to be here and interview some of our industry's best and brightest and and hopefully we all learn some things.

I know that I always do every week as I interview the talent that makes up our industry so thank you again for joining us have a great rest of your day, great week and remember the decision is yours to have a great day and a great week you know regardless of what happens to you so make it a great day and we'll talk to you soon.

Thanks so much guys!

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