HughesNet Gen4 Webinar Recap

This week, we had another successful webinar event, and we had a DOW Electronics webinar first.  This time around, we had our first ever guest presenter and it was none other than Lanny Stokes, Hughes Territory Manager for the Eastern U.S.  Fortunately for us, Lanny was able to take time out of his busy schedule and jump on the webinar to fill us in on Hughes’ next generation internet service, Gen4.  We recorded the entire event and you can view it below.  If you don’t have time to watch it right now, here are eight key points that Lanny made and that every Hughes dealers should know:

  • The next generation of satellite broadband is here with a combination of high-capacity satellites, engineering expertise, and customer support.
  • Hughes expects significant growth over the next few years as Gen4 can now compete in new markets.  There is no reason why you couldn’t double your current activations.
  • Gen4 is available throughout all of Dow’s territory.
  • With plans starting at $49.99, Gen4 has competitive service options to meet your customers’ online needs.
  • Both equipment purchase and lease options available.
  • Complimentary 2 GB data token included with every new Gen4 activation (a $16 value).
  • New and improved Hughes hardware to help make your installations go quicker and smoother.
  • Upgrade program for current HughesNet customers will be made available soon.

Please note: the information discussed in this webinar pertains to the Hughes-direct Gen4 promotional offer only, and not the dishNET one.


The future has never looked brighter for satellite broadband.  With faster speeds and higher data allowances on Gen4, satellite broadband service is no longer limited to rural markets.  There is no reason why Gen4 cannot compete head-to-head against many of the major DSL and Broadband services in suburban and urban markets.  If you’re not already on-board with satellite internet, now is the time to get on.  The Gen4 opportunity train is starting to pull out of the station and you won’t want to miss it!  Contact your DOW Electronics sales rep today and they can help you get started.

Drop a line in the comments section below and tell us what you think of Gen4 and how it will help you grow your business.  And I’ll see you on the next DOW Electroniocs webinar!

KS.

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CEDIA Expo 2012 Recap

Well another CEDIA show has come and gone. But, this year’s show was an exciting one to be sure. The overall attitude from the manufacturers was quite positive. With all the activity at the show and manufacturer enthusiasm, it seems like the economy isn’t as grim as one may be led to believe by the media. People are spending disposable cash on home theater equipment again, and manufacturers are bustling to come out with next generation products to meet their needs. I heard that dealers and vendors alike seem to be banking on the recovering residential and strengthening commercial markets to grow their businesses. This feeling was stoked by CEDIA’s newly released market research data reflecting a 5 percent lift in revenues and a 17 percent lift in the number of jobs in 2012 compared to 2011.

While everyone says that things are coming back, it’s obvious from booth sizes and locations they’re not coming back to the way things once were. The core mix of vendors has shifted from entertainment based products to networked based control solutions, lighting, shades and environmental controls. The old audio and entertainment based companies, who once dominated shows of past, have reduced their footprints while control based companies, lighting and shade providers continue to expand their presence on the main show floor. Additionally, switching and widget companies seem to be expanding into the control space as well with new IP-based, iPad controlled system interfaces. That’s not to say that entertainment based companies such as Denon , Onkyo and Sony were nonexistent. To the contrary, audio companies were there in force with refined offerings of traditional speakers and amplifiers as well as newly developed outdoor loudspeakers and wireless audio products for single and multi-zone applications. Moreover, there is still a focus on the home theater category with displays of high-definition projectors and screens, theater seating, memorabilia and sound panels.

Here are some of the new products and categories that I picked up on:

Wireless Streaming Audio & Video

WISA was making big strides at CEDIA. Not only did they have a HUGE banner hung at the main show floor entrance but they had a killer demo area too. They were giving a full demo of completely wireless Klipsch speaker system in full 96kHz/24 bit TrueHD audio. The sound was great. What blew me away afterwards was when we found out the HD video feed was also transmitted wirelessly (likely care of a new 60GHz DVDO system). Look for future WISA enabled products from your favorite television, soundbar and/or Blu-ray player manufacturer. Imagine simply plugging in your display or Blu-ray player, then connecting your 5.1 or 7.1 speaker system to power and having everything operate together in harmony. No A/V receiver is needed and there is no complicated setup. WISA is making this a reality and they’ve got a lot of big manufacturers behind them to see this into fruition (i.e. Sharp, Polk, Pioneer, Aperion Audio, Klipsch, etc.).

App control – Remote Controls are All About the Software!

Want to find the best local restaurant, or know how close a lightning storm is to you? No problem, just download an App on your smart phone and let it do the work for you. Expect the same for home theater devices as more and more companies are building apps to control their products over your home network. If I were a remote manufacturer right now who is shying away from network apps, I’d be worried. Fortunately, most are embracing this new ecosystem. I long for the day I can just walk the house with my iPhone or iPad and control all my audio gear on the fly. Virtually every manufacturer I spoke with told me this is the wave of the future so I may not have to wait too long.

SoundBars

Virtually every manufacturer was spitting out sound bars at CEDIA this year, and why not? TV’s today look so good and sound so bad that clever marketers are putting a stake in the sand to deliver a wide array of solutions for everything from 32-inch to 90-inch plus flat panel sets.

The one that really stood out for me was from Atlantic Technology. The H-Pass PB-235 sound bar solution put out impressively rich sound from a pair of 4” woofers and ½” dome tweeters. We demoed this sound bar in their booth with a two channel demonstration and also a 5.1 surround sound movie clip.  After the demo I walked away dazzled with the sound of this Atlantic Tech speaker without using a sub. They state it goes down to 42hz +/- 3db.  At $899, I can’t imagine a better solution on the market!

Wrap Up

In thinking about writing this blog I asked myself what I value the most about these shows – the CEDIA EXPO and CES.  I came up with the building of relationships with both vendors and dealers. As I walked the floor, bumping into so many acquaintances, it dawned on me that these are truly people shows. Seeing how interactive everyone is in the display booths , demo rooms and just walking the floor. I’m truly impressed with the sense of community our industry projects. One filled with people, products and passion for the design and installation process that feeds us all. It’s a good thing!

I look forward to going back to CEDIA in Denver next year.

Help Us Help You: 3 Simple Ways to Keep Your Business Running Smoothly

If you’ve tuned into our blog before, you know that I work here in the Marketing Department at DOW Electroincs. In my 2 years here, I’ve seen a lot of retailers falling into the same traps time and time again. I deal with the co-op process every day, and sometimes I have to remind myself that our retailers don’t, so it may not seem as straightforward to you as it does to me.  Recently I read a blog post about people who offer criticism without giving a possible solution at the same time, and I decided that I don’t want to be “that guy” (or “that girl” in my case). With that in mind, I put together a short list of common problems that I see come up for our retailers and how to fix them.

Image: Bruno Girin | Flickr

1. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute (or later!)

“A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” We all heard this back in school when we asked our teachers for an extra day to turn in that term paper or when we showed up late on test day. One of my teachers even had it posted on the classroom wall, and I couldn’t stand it! Like it or not though, the statement often rings true in the busines world, just as it did in the classroom.

We know that accidents happen and sometimes you may forget that you need to submit an approval a few days before you plan to advertise or that your claim paperwork got lost in a stack of paper, but sometimes exceptions and rushes just can’t be made, so planning ahead is always the best bet. The simplest way to keep deadlines and due dates in order, and to keep your business flowing smoothly is to keep a calendar. Write all of your advertising run dates, events, installs, and truck delivery dates on your calendar and then go back and see where you’ll need  to add your deadlines:

  • Approvals should be submitted a minimum of 2 days before your vendor’s deadline (make that 5 days if Dow is creating your ad).
  • Note that you’ll need all of your claim documents from your vendor immediately after your initiative is complete so you can send them in as soon as possible, why wait to be reimbursed?
  • Check your co-op guidelines  for the final submission deadlines and co-op expiration dates you’ll need to keep in mind, or just give us a call!
  • Go through your inventory of equipment, approved parts, and accessories, and try to estimate when you’ll need to order more.

Write all of these “to-do’s” on your calendar, in red, so you know you need to pay special attention to them. If you’re using a digital calendar, make sure to set a reminder alarm and your phone or computer will let you know!

Whether it’s an old-school desk or wall calendar, or your Outlook or phone’s calendar complete with reminders, writing all of these dates down will make your job (and ours) much easier.

2. Have a Plan B

I can’t stress enough the importance of always having a backup plan. I’ve seen several retailers who are left in the dark when a key employee leaves their business and they don’t know where to start with a particular process. Obviously, you can’t always be in control of every aspect of your business, you are just one person after all, but having a strategy for these scenarios is key.

The first step is to make sure that the person you are placing in charge of any part of your business is qualified and trustworthy. As salespeople, a few retailers think that they can’t do marketing, so they brush it off to the first person who knows how to use a computer– vendors, sales reps, interns, children, even the kid’s pet hamster! Okay, maybe that last one was a stretch, but the point is that Marketing is a key part of your business and your sales process, so why would you put it in the hands of someone who isn’t quite sure what they’re doing?

Once you’ve carefully selected a qualified party to head up your marketing efforts, make sure that this person creates a written process for all of their duties. On top of that, have them run through these processes with you. In the event that that person is out of the office, or should they leave the business for good, you now have the basics to jump into their role without missing a beat.

This is one specific scenario, but there’s always value in having a Plan B, you never know when your Plan A might fall through!

3. Check, Double-Check, Triple Check!

We all know what happens when you assume, so don’t fall into this trap. We see it all the time in the Marketing Department: you don’t read your co-op guidelines, you participate in an event, and then you realize after the fact that you forgot to display your business name, or even worse, you didn’t know you needed to get a pre-approval beforehand. This is easily fixed by simply consulting your co-op guidelines, or your DOW Electronics Marketing Department– think of us as your human co-op guidelines. We’re here to make sure that you are doing everything you need to in order to receive reimbursement for your advertising initiatives, but we can’t help you if you don’t ask!

Another area where this comes into play is when there is an issue with your account.  It becomes very difficult, and in some cases impossible, to fix a problem months after it occurs. Make sure that you are keeping an eye on your email and your Dow bulletin board to ensure that your payments are coming through as they should and that we don’t require additional action on your part to complete a process. By simply staying on top of your account information, or selecting a qualified employee to do so, you’ll be sure to keep those mistakes and oversights to a minimum. Trust me, we’d rather you call us 10 times a day and get it right the first time than have to deny your claims, and I know your sales reps and everyone else here at Dow feels the same way.

Going back and checking with your sales or marketing rep, or reading your co-op guidelines could save you time, money, and a big headache.

So there you have it! A “Do this, Not that” on being a DOW Electronics retailer. As a Marketer, most of my observations come from a Marketing and Advertising perspective, but these pointers can apply to all parts of your business. Let us know your suggestions in the comments below!