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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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Articles tagged with: Integrators

Watch Episode #123: An Industry Q&A With Alex Camara

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Alex Camara shares thoughts on approaching conversations within the workplace revolving race and creating a safe space for all employees as well as the importance of a "restart" after COVID 19.

Watch Episode #123: An Industry Q&A With Alex Camara

This week's show features our host Ron Callis interviewing Alex Camara. Recorded live on Wednesday, June 3rd at 12:30 p.m. EST.

About Alex Camara

After an exciting career in technology startups including Coinstar and Redbox, London Native, Alex joined Seattle based Audio Control in 2011 and ultimately acquired the company in 2013.

At AudioControl, Alex and his team of obsessive audio experts focus on designing, engineering, and manufacturing in the USA some of the most innovative, high-performance audio solutions for residential, commercial, and automotive markets.

Interview Recap

  • Alex’s backstory in technology startups before acquiring Audio Control
  • Alex's thoughts on approaching conversations within the workplace revolving race and creating a safe space for all employees
  • Audio Control’s “restart” message means in light of COVD-19
  • How demand for “home entertainment” has increased and what he is seeing in demand for audio control solutions throughout the country.

Watch Episode #122: An Industry Q&A With Ariel Gutierrez

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Ariel Gutierrez shares about the impact COVID-19 has had on the Latin American economy and currencies as well as his reaction to the Savant acquisition of GE Lighting.

Watch Episode #122: An Industry Q&A With Ariel Gutierrez

This week's show features our host Ron Callis interviewing Ariel Gutierrez. Recorded live on Wednesday, May 27th at 12:30 p.m. EST.

About Ariel Gutierrez

Founded in 2009, Ariel and his wife co-founded Miami-based Polaris Controls, a manufacturer representative firm that covers Latin American and The Caribbean.

Since their founding, Polaris Controls has built a network of over 500 dealers across both regions and developed their A/V and building automation offering for residential and commercial projects including government and hospitality.

Interview Recap

  • Origin story behind Polaris Controls
  • Ariel’s reaction to the Savant acquisition of GE Lighting
  • The impact COVID-19 has had on the Latin American economy and currencies
  • The webinar and podcast strategy launched by Polaris Controls to better help their dealers

Watch Episode #119: An Industry Q&A with Matt DeVance

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Matt DeVance, Founder of DeVance Electronic LIfestyle, shares his perspective on the shift in demand for technology in homes and how integrators can prepare.

Watch Episode #119: An Industry Q&A with Matt DeVance

This week's show features our host Ron Callis interviewing Matt DeVance. Recorded live on Friday, May 8th at 12:30 p.m. EST.

About Matt DeVance

With over 25 years in the custom audio/video industry, Matt got his start in-car audio after spending his youth watching his father repair home electronics from their home basement as a side-hustle.

After spending 4 years at Dallas based audio-video retailer, Home Entertainment, he ultimately decided to strike out on his own and starting his own integration firm, DeVance Electronic Lifestyles, in 2002.

Today, DeVance is constantly growing. They are expanding their business by buying a building that will double their current space. They have annual revenues approaching $3M with a staff of 11 people.

Interview Recap

  • Ways in which previous life-changing events, such as 9/11 and the Great Recession, has prepared Matt to better handle this pandemic
  • Matt’s perspective on the shift in demand for technology in homes and how integrators can prepare
  • How EOS evolved Matt’s business and communications approach 
  • The importance of company culture and the mentoring of employees

Watch Episode #111: An Industry Q&A with Matt Lien

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Matt Lien, VP of Sales at DES shares his two-goal approach for integrators during these difficult times and perspective on how lighting for wellness can be used in smart homes.

Watch Episode #111: An Industry Q&A with Matt Lien

This week's show features our host Ron Callis interviewing Matt Lien. Recorded live on April 15th, 2020, at 12:30 p.m. EST. 

About Matt Lien

Matt got his start in the custom integration industry as an installer at Missouri-based integration firm, The Sound Room, before joining Crestron Electronics as a Regional Sales Manager for Residential Products.

During his seven years at Crestron, Matt met the team at Arkansas based DES and later joined them as VP of Sales in 2013. DES is also well known for developing the HomeSuite iPad app for Crestron systems, which has won the Crestron CEDIA Integration Award five years in a row. 

Interview Recap

  • How DES supports multiple smart home platforms including Crestron, Savant, and Control4 
  • Matt’s thoughts on LED and tunable lighting and how it’s resonating with his customers
  • Why they started offering electrical contracting services
  • Matt’s two-goal approach to taking on projects and how he’s using that to create a silver lining during these difficult times

Watch Episode #109: An Industry Q&A with Eric Joy

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Eric Joy, Chief Experience Officer at GHT Group is back to discuss the importance of communication and leaning on other integrators in our industry during this pandemic.

Watch Episode #109: An Industry Q&A with Eric Joy

This week's show features our host Ron Callis interviewing Eric Joy. Recorded live on Friday, April 10th, 2020, at 12:30 p.m. EST. 

About Eric Joy

With his vast experience in the CE space as an integrator and manufacturer, Eric shares his unique perspective on approaching communication with manufacturers and your team during a time of crisis while also advocating on the importance of leaning on other integrators and building community.

GHT Group is a proud member of CEDIA and the HTSA buying group with a single 20,000 square foot facility located in Marietta, GA.

Interview Recap

  • Eric’s recommendations on the approach manufacturers and vendors should be taking to help integrators
  • The importance of having a clear, open communication between your team and manufacturers
  • Types of discussions Eric has been having with other dealers to help keep the industry booming through this crisis
  • Steps Eric and his team are taking to keep their employees and clients safe when going out to projects

Watch Episode #108: An Industry Q&A with Keith Harrison

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Keith Harrison, Founder at Total Home Technologies, shares his perspective on the importance of RMR solutions and his approach to using virtual reality during project demos and system servicing.

Watch Episode #108: An Industry Q&A with Keith Harrison

This week's show features our host Ron Callis interviewing Keith Harrison. Recorded live on Thursday, April 9th, 2020, at 12:30 pm EST.

About Keith Harrison

Keith got his start in the custom integration industry in 1992 when he opened up his small A/V retail store while still in college. Today, Total Home Technologies has three Control4 certified showrooms, two in New Jersey and one in New York, and is the highest volume Control 4 dealer in the North East. 

Keith is known to be a pioneer in the CEDIA channel for recurring revenue and offering the innovative solution of leasing automation systems to consumers.

Interview Recap

  • Keith’s approach to handling the changes in his business caused by the COVID-19 pandemic 
  • Keith’s rental equipment leasing model and how it has been bringing ⅓ of the companies revenue for the last five years
  • How Keith and his team use virtual reality solutions like Help Lightning for virtual, hands-on support calls and Modus VR for media room and home theater demos
  • Keith’s motto of building a bulletproof system through implementing backup routers to make more profit as opposed to relying on ongoing servicing
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