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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: RMR

Watch Episode #19: an Industry Q&A with Chris Smith

Exploring Company Communication, Creative RMR, and Employee Retention

Watch Episode #19: an Industry Q&A with Chris Smith

In this Automation Unplugged interview, Ron speaks with Chris Smith, VP of Business Development at Cloud9 Smart. Cloud9 Smart is a high-end integration firm located in New York City. Watch the interview to learn Chris' tips on running a successful technology business through solid employee retention practices, RMR, streamlined operations, and more.

About Chris Smith

Chris Smith got a crash course in Sales at 17, running an inside sales program for a tool company. It was here he learned that if you out-hustled the competition in service and support you could win their business no matter the age. He broke into the AV industry pulling wires and getting certified programming home automation systems. After studying Sociology in Santa Barbara, California he moved to Boston to join Bowers & Willkins as a National Trainer before being promoted to Regional Sales Manager. When McIntosh Labs took interest he managed a sales team for them, and during their merger into World of McIntosh served as advisor, led the merging of sales teams, and oversaw the ambitious build-out of the WOM Townhouse in Soho. Working closely with Cloud9 on this project he decided to relocate to NYC permanently and join the Cloud9 team as VP of Business Development. In his spare time he likes to run, with 3 half and 1 full marathon in the queue this year.


Interview Recap

Here are some of the topics Ron had the opportunity to discuss with Chris:

  • Chris' background on the manufacturer side
  • His role in the rollout of Slack for Azione Unlimited
  • His role on Azione Unlimited's Advisory Board
  • How Cloud9 Smart gets creative with transportation in Manhattan
  • Effective employee retention practices
  • The multiple avenues for RMR
  • Marketing strategies
  • And more

Watch Episode #12: an Industry Q&A Session with Greg Simmons

Buyouts, Builder Programs, and Security RMR

Watch Episode #12: an Industry Q&A Session with Greg Simmons

In this Automation Unplugged episode, Ron Callis interviewed Greg Simmons, Co-Owner and Vice President at Eagle Sentry. Eagle Sentry is the 27th largest integrator in the CEPro 100. During the interview, Ron and Greg discussed best practices regarding RMR through security monitoring, reaching out to builders, Eagle Sentry's role in the smart home design for Indy racecar driver Alex Tagliani, and the process of doing a leveraged buyout.

About Greg Simmons

Greg Simmons started in the security industry as a central station operator for Eagle Sentry in 1989. He managed the central station for two years before being promoted to sales. While attending college full time, Greg sold security systems for 5 years before performing a leveraged buyout with his business partner of Eagle Sentry in 1996. He helped build the company as business development and sales director into a full systems integration company doing over 14 million in annual sales. He still holds the same position today, as well as presiding as the Nevada Security Association President. Greg is an active member of CEDIA. Eagle Sentry is currently listed as the 27th largest integrator in the CEPro 100.

Follow Greg: Twitter | LinkedIn


Interview Recap

Here are some of the topics Ron had the opportunity to discuss with Greg:

  • How Greg got started in the AV industry
  • His role at Eagle Sentry
  • The process of doing a leveraged buyout of Eagle Sentry's existing ownership
  • Security RMR
  • Builder programs
  • The smart home design for Indy racecar driver Alex Tagliani
  • What's coming up at CEDIA

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

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