Home Automation Podcast Episode #89: An Industry Q&A With Matt Scott
The Business of Running a Business
This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Matt Scott. Recorded live on Wednesday, October 9th, 2019 at 12:30 p.m. EST.
About Matt Scott
Matt started in pro audio/video at a very early age, running his first live FOH event at age 12. Matt continued in the industry starting OMEGA Audio Video in 2001, specializing in HOW and professional audio/video design and installation. He expanded the services to include residential AV in 2004 and continues to work heavily in both markets. Matt specializes in HOW, live sound, lighting control, home theatre design, control systems, and connected home technologies.
Here are some of the topics Ron had the opportunity to discuss with Matt Scott:
- Matt's role on the CEDIA board
- Why he volunteers his time to the industry
- Managing both resi and commercial project work
Ron: Hello everybody. Ron Callis here with another episode of Automation Unplugged. Today is Wednesday, October 9th, and it's just a little bit after 12:30. And as always, Automation Unplugged is brought to you by One Firefly -- my day job. And very exciting news in that Automation Unplugged is now available as a podcast, so if you have not already go check it out on all of your normal places where you would download your podcasts. We actually just submitted it today to iTunes, so it'll be available on podcast downloads on your iOS device in the next few days. But Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Spotify, all those places. The first show to go live is episode 87. That was my interview with Justin Johnson. Definitely check that out.
Although I've been doing this show for a couple of years now. Our editing video and kind of -- we're going to actually riff a little bit with Matt, my guest here in just a minute, but all the editing of the audio and learning how to do that was going down a new frontier for my team and I. That was a lot of fun. Certainly, sign up to follow Automation Unplugged on the podcast. What we're going to do is get into the cadence after every show of pushing that out as a podcast so that you guys can listen to that in the case or the off chance that you can't watch the show. If you listen to it, don't be shy, shoot me a Facebook messenger or a text or an email and let me know what you think, let me know you think we should do more of or less of. I'm definitely open to that feedback. Anyway, we are jumping in right now. This is episode 89. The one and only Matt Scott of Omega Audio Video. Let's go ahead and bring him into the chat and let's get going.
Matt: All right.
Ron: Matt! How are you, sir?
Matt: I'm great. How are you? Thank you so much for having me. I am good.
Ron: Now that of course, as you just heard, we've launched the podcast and now I'm very tuned into the quality of one's audio. When you and I were talking offline, I was like, man, your microphone sounds so good.
Matt: That's the good people at Shure. They make us sound really, really good.
Ron: And how long have you been using that microphone?
Matt: This one I've had for, I want to say about eight months now. Actually no. Yeah, probably 10 months. I got it at the end of last year. Again from the good people of Shure. Audio is one of those things that, yes, this is a video podcast and it's a lot of fun to be able to see each other and know what's going on and get facial expressions. But at the end of the day, if we can't hear us, it's not that great. The audio really, really helps. And I love my Shure.
Ron: Now there are folks that are listening and they're like, all right, great. Now you gotta tell me the model numbers. What's the model number on this microphone that you're recording with?
Matt: This lovely one is an SM7B. It's one of their broadcast mics designed for again, radio podcasting. There's a lot of people that even use this in the studio for vocals. It's a fantastic cardioid dynamic mic, it's a wonderful product.
Ron: Oh that's, that's great. Now Matt, what I'm going to do here, cause I did not do it prior, I was going to check over on Facebook, make sure our live feed is going. It looks like we are live! And we've already had Kris Gamble coming to us from the UK, he commented that "Audio is king. Podcast is the most convenient way to consume content." I hear you, Kris, I couldn't agree more. I actually consume, as my team will attest, I'm an avid listener of content both from the industry and Matt's show. Outside of the industry, just history and science podcasts. I eat that content up. You and I know that it was a long time coming. There you go. We got Mario he just stopped by, he said live it is. Yes, sir. Mario. Good to see you, sir.
Matt: Another good Canadian.
Ron: Another good Canadian, there you go. Kris just jumped in. He says, "Nerd talk." Yeah, that's what we do on this show. What? This is all about nerd talk.
Matt: Why wouldn't it though? It's not as much fun if we just say, yeah, audio is great and you like our audio. You have to be able to talk about what it is and what makes it work. That's what we -- that's the industry we're in. Come on!
Ron: This is an industry of nerds and we're proud of it. For those that are watching, we have a nice growing audience. You'll notice that I am a little pixelated and I see Matt already commented. Look at him. He's on the ball on the show and commenting on the feed that, throw that up there. I think it's the first time I've had a guest that knew how to be on the show and to comment under their own name live. That was pretty cool.
Matt: Some people might call it amazing, I call it slightly dyslexic and a little bit of ADD.
Ron: It's okay. What I was gonna let everyone know, I've been going through my saga of moving and I'm now in the new house. But funny enough, I don't have the internet per se. My connection, my fiber to the house is here. I'm coming to you from an AT&T hotspot. So I am a little pixelated and for that, I apologize, but it's the voice that matters anyway in the conversation. Matt, for those that are not aware of who you are, I know you are an active member of our industry. You're active with CEDIA on the board and you're a dynamic personality hosting your own shows. But can you run our audience through kind of a little bit of your background, where you come from?
Matt: Yeah, for sure. First of all, again, thanks for having me. Ron, we've been friends for a while and I always enjoyed chatting with you a little bit. For those who don't know me, I've been in this business really since I was a kid. I started doing live sound at probably eight or nine years old in our local church and kind of developed that through. I got into a point coming out of high school where I really didn't know what I wanted to do and decided I would try to make some money playing in that church audio world and subsequently was able to do that. I started my company back in 2001, fresh out of high school and ran that essentially up until now. I'm still heavily involved in that.
Our company has evolved over the years. We started and really dedicated to that House of Workship channel. And did everything from sound, live sound design, staging, lighting for stage, wedding for video, up to broadcast in the mid-2000s where so many churches were having to transition from SD video to HD. Anybody who hasn't been in the industry for, 20, 30 years won't really realize what that was, but that was a really big deal. We did a lot of work in that channel, helping churches make that transition cause back then, you couldn't just go onto bnh.com or any of the other places. You actually had to work with an integrator to do it. When the recession hit, we kinda shifted a little bit and got into residential which is where we live a lot of the time now. And through that, we also discovered the world of corporate A/V, which I really didn't even realize that that existed. In probably 2010 give or take, I got exposed to be the InfoComm side of things.
Today, our company does work in really all three verticals. We work residential, corporate, we still do -- primarily myself, I still do a ton of consulting in the House of Worship market. That's pretty much our business and my life in a nutshell. Two years ago, I got nominated for the board of CEDIA and was somehow elected to that which has been fantastic and actually running right now again for the board. If you haven't voted, vote for me. Vote for Mel, vote for Amanda -- vote for anybody really, but get out and vote. Not to turn this into a, "Hey, go vote," thing.
Ron: Hey, we're here. We have an audience. Why not? Of course, some lobbying, public lobbying. And I would think less of you if you didn't ask.
Matt: I know, I know. And to be honest, as much as I'd like you to go from me, at the very least, I'd like you to get involved because that's one of those things that whether it's in your local politics, your industry politics, any sort of thing along those lanes. It shocks me how many people are really, really vocal about what the industry does, yet they don't get involved. They can't even get involved to the point of going in and voting. It's kind of a shame. At the very least, I encourage you to get out and look at who's being nominated. And then please vote for me.
Ron: That's funny. A couple of things there I want to unpack if you will. We were talking about CEDIA, so let's stay on CEDIA for a moment. You ran and were elected for the last two years. You were serving on the CEDIA board.
Ron: What was that experience like? What, were you trying to accomplish and what have you perhaps experienced or maybe even learned from that experience?
Matt: There's a couple of answers to that question. There's a couple of places we can go with that. Going in I really didn't know what to expect. As much as it was told to me what I would be doing, what that would look like, what that time commitment would look like was a little different once you actually got on. CEDIA is a great association, a great group of people and has some fantastic volunteers and some fantastic staff. But there's a ton of work behind the scenes that goes on that the average member, especially the member who just pays their dues yearly and puts a plaque on their shirt or on their trucks or in their office, really has no idea how much is going on. I think that was my biggest initial takeaway was "My gosh, there they are doing so much." And so much of it is stuff that is really important. You don't think about how it affects your business daily.
A great example of that is, specifically in the US, but they also do it in Canada and they also do it in the UK and across Europe -- there's a whole department that takes after government affairs. It sounds really boring and really dry and terrible podcast content, but there are bills that are being brought before legislative bodies that make it impossible to do what we do. Groups like CEDIA groups, big groups like all of these industries including electrical units, they're all out there pushing for their chunk of the pie. Without an association on CEDIA and the work that Darren and his team are doing in Texas as of like two months ago, it would have been illegal for an integrator to pull a network cable. If CEDIA hadn't done it there and fought back, it would have fallen under the electrical association requirements. And you would've had to be an electrician to get out and do that. And Ron, you know, it's not like we ever use a network cable.
Ron: They can just start moving on without it. I'm sure things will be fine.
Matt: Yeah, no big deal. There's stuff like that, again doesn't get talked about a lot, that is really, really important. Stuff like education, like the telling, I forget the name of the program, but the new program that they just launched in the state of Indiana for --
Ron: Oh, where they're doing the training for the workforce development.
Matt: Yes. It's a state-mandated and state-funded program to have people that aren't necessarily going to go to college can go and take this as an accredited trade school certification and then go get a job within the industry. I recorded a podcast with CEDIA about stuff that I wanted to share as an elective or a nominated board member. One of the big things in my company was that we have a terrible time finding staff, finding people who can come in with no knowledge, some knowledge, tons of knowledge. It doesn't matter where they fall on that spectrum. It's really hard to find people. All the contractors and home builders I deal with, they're in the same boat. The workforce shortage is a really, really big deal. And no, is it something that at Omega, we see every day, like "Oh, this is a great benefit from CEDIA." No, it's not, but it's starting that ball rolling and getting that going so that our industry still has personnel in 10, 15, or 20 years that we still have jobs that we can do in 10, you know, 30 years. It's about developing the industry.
Ron: Robert Keeler from CEDIA is watching and listening and commenting. Thank you, Robert.
Matt: That guy?! We love that guy.
Ron: That guy?! We love Robert.
Matt: CESIT! Thank you, Robert.
Ron: He says, "You lose the right to complain if you aren't willing to participate." That is so true. The name of that group in Indiana is CESIT. He commented actually with a link. If you're listening, go to the Facebook page and you'll see in the comments section, a post on the integration technician training program. It looks like there is an event or training that Robert Keeler from CEDIA has posted. Definitely take a look at that. That is cool. Your goal is to stay on the board and to keep doing what you're doing? You're enjoying that?
Matt: I am. It's a lot of work. It's arguably maybe a little undersold as to how much work is involved and how many hours are required for that. But you know, that's not unlike any other volunteer position I've ever been involved with. There was always tons of work that can be done and if you get passionate about it, you'll always find more work to do.
Ron: Yeah. How do you find the time, Matt? If I'm going to go down the business, you know, you're running a business or do you have a GM or do you have someone running Omega? Or are you also running the company and doing this volunteer work?
Matt: I really should hire a GM. That's a great idea.
Ron: There you go! Full of ideas.
Matt: You are. I still run Omega every day. I had a client meeting right before this. I still get on the tools, depending on the day and depending on the week and depending on the project. The time is the hard one. To be honest, I probably don't have a good answer for you other than to say a really stereotypical thing of if you need something done, ask a busy person to do it, you will find time to make that happen. My wife doesn't always agree with that. But such is life.
"Volunteerism is hard. I had different stents in my life. I've volunteered for different organizations both within the industry and without, and there's no such thing as you had the time and thus you found a way to spend the time."
Ron: Well, volunteerism is hard. I had different stents in my life. I've volunteered for different organizations both within the industry and without, and there's no such thing as you had the time and thus you found a way to spend the time. Whenever you do that, you make the time, you make your schedule based on your priorities and how you define them.
Matt: You do. And to me it's always, you will find time for things you're passionate about. Like up here, I know everyone will be shocked, but hockey is a big deal up here. We have a local OHL hockey team and there are people that go to every single game and they will find ways to do that. They will change their schedules to go to those games because they are passionate about the London Knights. You will find time to play golf if you love golf. You will find time to do whatever it is that you do. For me, one, I'm a terrible quitter. Once I get into something, I have a hard time not being involved in it, but, two, I really liked this industry. I really like what we have as a community and anything I can do to help further that is greatly to me. It's something that I love doing.
I love helping propel the industry forward if I can be so bold. I love covering the industry. One of the things that I helped start with some friends of mine from years ago was AV Nation. I get asked all the time, how do you find time to do a weekly show, let alone go to three or four trade shows a year, spend most of the show covering the show from a press standpoint, not from Omega? Again, it's one of those things where this has become a passion project for me. This is something that I absolutely love doing. I love being able to, in the terms of AV Nation, I love sitting down and talking to people like you and having, having conversations on our show about the industry and the news of the day and stuff that's going on.
I love going to trade shows and meeting people and talking to manufacturers and getting into the nitty-gritty of what they're showing and what they're doing and how they're trying to propel their company and the industry collectively forward as well. It's just something that, again, once you find that you're passionate about something, it's not that hard to dedicate time to. Does it make family time sometimes a little complicated? Yeah. But it would be the same thing if I played baseball three nights a week or playing golf four times a week. Is it tough to manage that and the business? Yeah. But at the same time, the option is I put my head in the sand and just work and focus on my business, which is great. I'm not putting that down at all. My accountant is probably telling me more often than I should, but that's what I should be doing.
Ron: Right, right, right.
Matt: That doesn't help us collectively. It doesn't do anything to raise the profile of the industry and help my clients get to a point where they don't just see us as the audio guys.
Ron: Right. In terms of balancing, your show A/V Nation, or your show on A/V nation, which by the way, thank you for inviting me on multiple occasions. Always fun to be on that show. And the considerable investment of time you put in CEDIA, you do have this business and a lot of the folks that are either watching and listening, by the way, Kris Gamble just said ResiWeek rocks, getting a shout out for your show. Your integration business, which you've been running for almost 20 years now. Balance is residential work and commercial work. What our typical residential projects that you do and what are typical just for the audience is? So they understand that integrators are not all the same and they're not all approaching projects the same way. There's a lot of unique approaches. What are typical projects for you? Just for everyone's kind of baseline.
Matt: In residential, we hit a bit of a wide gamut. We do everything from if somebody needs us to hang a TV for the right client at the right time, we will take care of that. A typical project for us is a somewhat custom solution in some form of scale. What I mean by that is, we don't do a lot of cookie-cutter stuff. We don't do anything in the track homeworld or production build, that is not us. We are the company that you call if you want something somewhat unique or you need a discreet creative solution to your problem. And again, that can be something as simple as a good size mid-market up, upper-market home that wants a simple distributed video system, a centralized, etc. or something where you've got again, that mid-to-upper market home and you want a full custom solution top to bottom. That's kind of where we live in, in that world. We do a ton of work with lighting control, lots of shading that, that whole world is big for us. From a commercial standpoint, it's evolved a lot.
The last couple of years when we first started out, it was a ton of SMB (Small Business) work. A lot of mom and pop operations, corporate in the sense of office spaces, professional facilities, stuff like that. We even did a fair amount of work in quick-serve restaurants where we're doing audio, we're doing some video boards, we're doing menu boards, stuff like that. And that still is a decent aspect of what we do.
Ron: Digital signage type of applications?
Matt: A little bit of digital signage. And we still play in that space, but we kind of watched some shifts and we had a... I don't know how to phrase it properly, but we had a kind of like a watershed project a couple of years ago where a large digital tech company in town here, they built a new building or sort of renovated a building into essentially a brand new building, 30,000 square feet per floor, three floors. And we came in and did video in all the conference rooms, audio throughout the whole facility with multiple zoning and you know, wireless streaming to all of those cause they're a creative company. We did just a plethora of stuff and we handled top to bottom their network. We had done that work in the past. I've had a long relationship with Cisco that was not outside the norm, but it was on that scale. We're talking something like 400 endpoints per floor, like just a massive network.
For the first time we handled that completely in house and that was one of those projects that you did and all of a sudden it popped up in my head of, we're coming in -- and so often, especially in the light commercial or the mid-commercial, we're coming in and so often we're fighting as the A/V Company with the network engineers and the IT people. But in those smaller businesses, a lot of times we don't have onsite on staff, they outsource. Rather than us coming in and fighting with whoever that outsources, why can't we come in and offer a complete solution, a complete package. Here you go, we will manage your network, we will install and deploy your networks. We'll manage firewalls, the whole stinking kick as well as do your A/V. So if you need A/V and your boardroom, yeah it's going to work because we know what the network's doing and there's not some other peripheral company that's coming in and changing things without telling me the A/V guys.
And that was a big, big shift for us on our corporate commercial side. We're now almost 50% of our corporate commercial work is actually IT. It's focused on IT and focused to the point of we're doing somewhat, we've got SOFO now, too. Where we're doing endpoint security as well as supplying HP machines throughout the offices. We're not flirting with it. We're actually an IT company.
Ron: Sounds like you're an IT company.
Matt: We're an IT company now.
"If the businesses' network goes down or has a blip, that's a very significant matter."
Ron: Have you had to add structure or people to provide the after install service? Because if the businesses' network goes down or has a blip, I mean that's a very significant matter.
Matt: It is. And that's the big pain point of going down that road is as soon as you start flirting with IT, if Ron at your husband, if your internet goes down like you did today, you get by, unless you're a really needy client who demands that we roll a truck to fix that at 2:00 AM in the morning. When you're a corporate client, one, you have the ability to build in a lot more redundancy and they're willing to pay for it. But two, you have to be significantly more flexible and significantly more on-call. We've had to change our processes a little bit. We've had to adjust the manner in which we manage that to ensure that we can be on-site. I think the biggest thing that we've had to do is to explain that properly. That, you know, because we now have this added side, there will be days where all of a sudden you're not coming to your job site because we have to go in and manage this. It's a bit of a culture thing internally. It's also a situation where we rely on some third parties as well to make that happen.
We internally have a network engineer, but we also have three network engineers that we work with and we can pull them up and say, "Hey, I need this solved in the next two hours" and send an email. One of those guys will get back to us and say, "Yup, we're on it." Send them their credentials and they go and they make it happen. There are ways that if you scale things appropriately, you can manage that. But yeah, it's definitely something you have to pay attention to.
Ron: Kris just asked a question, he said, "OMEGA sounds like a big company. What is your staff count?"
Matt: We are not a big company, which is the creative thing. As far as true staff, we're 5. Then we have again a nice little library of third-parties that we work with on certain things. And that sounds a really easy way to manage growth and manage some of those things. And it isn't. I still have clients who will not let anyone but me on their job site. They will not let my guys show up if I'm not there or they absolutely have me show up. One of the stories I've told for years is that I have one client and she literally pays me, personally. She pays for me to personally show up and change lightbulbs for her because we have this weird trust relationship where she does not want other people in her house and she's willing to pay me my going rate for a site visit to change light bulbs.
I've told that story for a couple of years. It's something that still happens, but what really cracks me up is that I've talked to her about it and said, "You know, we're to the size where we're busy enough. I don't need to change light bulbs." "Yes, but I trust you." Okay. And that solves the problem. For us, that's kind of how we approach everything that we do. If we can get to the point of trust where we have that trust with the client, then we can have that, we can have that conversation with them that we're gonna manage your firewall. You don't need an outside IT farm to complicate your life. We'll give you one call, make the one call and solve it.
Ron: Sean Stermer posted a comment when you were referencing that you do residential and commercial, he said, "That's where I see a lot of my dealers shifting focus spot on." And Sean, you can clarify that if I misquoted your statement there, and then Kris made the comment. He says, "You provide a lot of services if you had to just be one." -- now, Kris, I'm gonna challenge, I don't know why he has to pick -- but he says if you had to be just one, commercial, resi, or House of Worship? What's your focus? I don't know how you want to answer that, but that will question from Kris.
Matt: So I'll answer it this way. We do. It can complicate my life a lot. It makes, you know, if all you do is cinema rooms, not to say that's cinema rooms are easy and simple to do, but that's a really small finite focus. The aspect of what we do and the solutions that we provide means that especially myself, I've got to stay up on everything. But it's also a factor of just how I live my life. That's what I do. I try to consume as much information as possible. To Kris' question, it's not the vertical that I choose. Has nothing to do with the vertical, for me personally. What I would choose are projects that allow me to be creative. That is the hardest thing in any one of those verticals for me.
Because if we're going and looking at a project and there's literally no creativity required, right? You can walk in and go, yup, we're going to put speakers here, we're gonna put the TV there, we're gonna put this there. I find those projects a little boring. The biggest thing that I absolutely love and continue to love about House of Worship, is as soon as we got beyond just, "Hey, here's remixer, here's your console, here's your wireless mics," and you're gone. And we got into the broadcast side of "We're going to help you design your stage for the effect and the lighting and everything together to create that end product." And if you're a House of Worship, please don't misunderstand what I mean by product. When we're gonna create that picture that somebody sees on TV or on a broadcast, the creativeness that I get to do going into that is what I loved about that industry.
We just completed a fairly large project on the river here and it's on like an acre and a half, it overlooks the river. It's a beautiful property kind of in the country. But the master bedroom had a wall of windows with no place to put a TV and we also couldn't steal enough of the budget to get a full-on Motion Mount that will come out and do all this stuff. They just wouldn't spend that. So we were able to create and custom engineer and build this whole sliding contraption thing to get the TV in the right spot and have it come all the way back and hideaway properly. There might be a case study on that at some point in the near future. That's the kind of stuff that I absolutely love. I love it when we can get into anything that that sparks creativity. We had a project a little bit earlier this year as well, where we didn't spec a single piece of AV except for the light fixtures and I was able to work with a client and create this really cool lighting design where we painted the house with light and put a bunch of Lutron controls on it and a bunch of spotlights and a bunch of other fixtures. I love doing that.
For me, it's all about where the creativity lies. If we can do that in any one of those industries, it's great from a business side, and I'm sure this is an overly long answer to Kris's fairly fine question. From the business side, I like the jobs that make us the most money. That's the vertical. Because at the end of the day, I'm a businessman. My job is to continue to keep my people employed, keep my family fed, and hopefully have work coming in tomorrow.
Ron: Are you torn, Matt between those? Do you find those drivers as opposing? In terms of, if you're driven as a business operator to sign the best clients in the most profitable projects, is that antithetical to finding then the projects that are the best creative outlets for you? Are you able to align them often or are is it sometimes just one or the other?
Matt: I'd say yes. I'd say we get to align them more often. Usually what happens is the non-creative products, the products that are really standard, repeatable, kind of boring everyday work, there's usually not a ton of budget there. When you get into projects where you have to create something or you're having a much bigger conversation about how that space is going to feel, as a rule, the budget's there. There are additional things that come in and they can be very creative. But especially with the House of Worship side, there's a lot of time that it's not.
We're being creative because we're trying to stretch a dollar into 10 or 25 depending on your choice. It's a balance of, "I can be really happy doing a ton of repeatable, easy work that makes us a lot of money," but if I find it really, really boring, like, I didn't start a business to not enjoy what I do. Yes, there are monetary rewards. There's all of this other stuff that goes into running a business and why I started a company. But at the end of the day, I do want to enjoy what I'm doing. I do want to enjoy the interactions with people. And you know, you hear all the stories about clients that dealers don't want to talk to. The clients are just ridiculous. My response has always been, "Well, why did you hire them? Did you not interview them?" "No, no. They interviewed us."
"I interview all of my clients. It is just as important that I enjoy working with them, that they enjoy working with us."
I interview all of my clients. It is just as important that I enjoy working with them, that they enjoy working with us. And again, could we do that? We've turned down a lot of work. We've gotten off a lot of projects that are fiscally very effective, but either they're boring, they're not creative, there's nothing there that's enjoyable or the client is just a nightmare to deal with. I personally don't subscribe to the point that we have to do that kind of work. As long as I can keep my people fed and keep my family fed, then yeah, it's a balance. But I'm not going to go down that road personally unless we're absolutely forced. Typically.
Ron: First of all, believe it or not, we've been going almost 45 minutes.
Matt: I talk a lot.
Ron: No, no. Awesome content. I love it. But I am mindful of our audience and their lunch break is probably coming to an end here. If they're watching us during lunch. You have been a member of the CEDIA board for the last two years, you've been exposed to a lot of official, I'm making it sound fancy, but official processes and methods of how to run Robert's rules and meetings, outside consultants, and all of this really intelligent exposure that you've had to maybe designing the future of the trade organization and such. What of that experience have you been able to cross over to your own business? In other words, from being on the board, what have you been able to learn that has applied to your day to day business if you wouldn't mind sharing that?
Matt: One, I've been lucky enough to serve on a couple of other boards in the past. So it's hasn't been new to me as far as Robert's rules and a lot of that fun stuff. I think the biggest takeaway that I would say I've gotten from my relationship with CEDIA has been getting the 30-foot view, right? When I'm working every day in Omega and looking at things, everything is finite and right in front of me. How we approach this job, how we deal with this is just how we do it and there's not a lot of external things that influence that being on the board. The exposure and the understanding of how the industry as a whole work is really, really important. It's something that has helped, I don't know if it's directly impacted what we do on a day to day, but it's something where it helps us recognize what's going on and see the bigger picture. I think that's a trend that is overlooked a lot. It's really easy to get head down in your own business and not pay attention to anything externally. I've had conversations with both people at CEDIA, and I don't necessarily mean CEDIA corporate but within the channel. With people in the AVIXA channel and stuff like that. I've been fairly heavily involved in both of those channels for almost the last 10 years. When we're head down in our own businesses, life is really simple. It really is at the end of the day.
Again, it's making sure you get enough to come in, not going out. You're picking the right products, you're finding the right solutions. When we start to look beyond that and start looking at the industry, start looking at external influences to the industry, that's where it gets a lot more interesting. And kind of what I mean by that, and we'll probably talk about it on ResiWeek on Monday, but there was an article that just came out on The Verge from the head of Logitech and he came out and he said that he does not know where their Harmony business will be in the next five years. He does not know whether that will exist in the next five years. And you look at our industry and say, "Oh well that won't affect us." It already is. We're already seeing, I know internally for my clientele, I'm seeing them balk on program remotes 'cause if all they have is a smart TV or an Apple TV or Roku or you know, whatever one device, that's really all they need. They can connect that, connect the Sonos amp or some other amp and get CEC to actually mostly function and be perfectly happy and not spend that thousand dollars on that program.
Without being forced at times to look at that 30,000 foot, that 50,000-foot, that 100,000-foot view of the landscape of our industry, the external forces that are putting after it, it's really hard to then come back to your business and put your head in the sand. And again, just when you go into more speakers per se. The concern I have with our industry, with the AVIXA industry, with all of it, is that we're one innovation away from half of what we do not really being allowed. If we're not paying attention. I used to have these conversations in the AVIXA channel, which potentially some of the listeners will somewhat follow and understand. You walk around that show floor, you walk around InfoComm, I believe you've been there a couple of times, it's a lot of big businesses.
It's a lot of huge global organizations who, the second that somebody like Cisco or Amazon or anybody, any one of the big, you know, four or five companies decide that they want to get into the meeting space game and not just dip a toe in, but they actually want to get in. Then those companies are going to have to shift in a second because Cisco can come in and drop more money than most of those companies ever will be worth to say, "Hey, we're going to do this and our industry is not really any different."
How long did it take for Alexa to permeate our channel or someone else? Or Sonos or Google home. You can nitpick on Sonos a lot. And I've got a lot of good friends there, but they've single-handedly made the sale of multi-room audio simpler. You don't have to explain to any client anywhere the concept of having music everywhere. You can pretty much say, "Yeah, it's like Sonos. You'll get it everywhere, only we'll give you more control." Or whatever that tagline, if you're not selling Sonos. We sell a lot of Sonos, which is fine. They've changed that conversation dramatically. You look at if Apple decides that all of a sudden they're going to actually invest in an Apple TV and not just content. That game changes overnight. The fact that... I forget which, one of the new embedded software platforms on, I think it's Roku that's directly embedded into the Sony TV. That eliminates...
Ron: Well, I personally just purchased a Samsung frame TV. And it has a native Apple TV. When we were flipping through that, and when we just simply logged in, and this all happened in the last few days, it was very cool that all of our Apple history, all of our videos, everything I'd purchased for the last 10 years is all instantly, even though my house does not yet have an AT&T internet or cable service, my son has been entertained for the last week with Netsertive and Apple TV. It's fascinating.
Matt: The landscape is changing incredibly fast and there's so much going on. What courts me is when I have conversations with integrators and they tell me how so many of these outside influences are not important. And they live in this little bubble. I'm not saying that the bubble is gonna burst or that all of a sudden, Google is going to take over everybody's jobs. All I'm saying is we have to actually pay attention to this because it's only a matter of time before things continue to evolve.
"As long as we continue to fight to push our channel forward and why we bring value to the client, it's not that hard. There will always be a need as long as we continue to make ourselves fill that void."
As long as we continue to fight to push our channel forward and why we bring value to the client, it's not that hard. There will always be a need as long as we continue to make ourselves fill that void. It's sitting back and not paying attention to what's going on and say, "No, no, no." We can continue to live our life just selling dedicated home theater rooms or just selling, you know, a single line of remotes or whatever that that niche market is for you. It's realizing that evolution does happen. It does happen. It does change. That's why my company's got three or now four main verticals, is because as stuff shifts, we've shifted, we've pivoted, we've changed things based on that and it served us fairly well.
Ron: Matt, where can our audience follow you and where can they learn more about your show ResiWeek?
Matt: You can find me, one of the easiest ways is on Twitter @mattdscott, Facebook @MattDScott. I'm on LinkedIn as well. I believe it's Matthew D. Scott on LinkedIn. For ResiWeek, you can find that at avnation.tv. You'll find about my show and a ton of other shows. You can find me at CEDIA at least for the next three months and hopefully for two more years after that.
Ron: Vote for Matt! That's the closing. Well, awesome. Matt, it has been a pleasure to have you on Automation Unplugged, soon to be in people's ears via our podcast. This show should be available for download in the next few days. It's been a pleasure to have you on the show.
Matt: Oh, thank you so much for having me. It's been a dream. I've loved it.
Ron: A dream! Well, hopefully, it's been a good dream.
Matt: It's been a goal of mine to be on your show for a long time, so thank you so much for having me.
Ron: Awesome. Thank you, Matt. All right, ladies and gents, we're going to wrap up here, but there you have it. That was episode 89 of Automation Unplugged. Today was Wednesday, October 9th. I say was, it still is, unless you're listening to the recording. Tune in next time and stay tuned for the channel.
We're going to keep trying to get these promoted in advance, as you've now been seeing on our Facebook in that you see the guest and the show date and the time. That's a new technique we've been practicing here for the last month or and that's actually worked out pretty well and been getting some positive feedback. Thanks again. I am going to put up some artwork here. Please don't forget to go over to Instagram and follow One Firefly (@onefireflyllc). We're getting pretty close to a thousand followers. We're seeing that followers there grow nicely. Hopefully, you enjoy and appreciate our content that we're putting up there.
On that note, I'm gonna sign off and thanks so much. See you next time.
As a CEDIA board member, podcast host, and owner of Omega Audio Video, Matt Scott has refined his skills and brings a unique perspective to his peers and leaders in our industry.
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 became 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:
- Get details on the CEDIA board member
- Matt's podcast, ResiWeek on A/V Nation
- The Shure SM7B cardioid dynamic mic that Matt uses to record
- CESIT - Electronic Systems Integration Technician Electronic Systems Integration Technician
- AVIXA Channel that Matt has been a part of
- The Verge Logitech Harmony Article
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