By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Orlando Fla. — 3vNet CEO Mike Anderson formed a new custom-electronics company, Automated Control Technology Partners (ACTP), to manage new building-automation brands and 3vNet.
However, the company will discontinue selling 3vNet-branded products at the end of the year “to undertake an entirely new direction in our approach to automation," Anderson said. “We tried to do that with our existing platform, but it was not flexible enough to do what we wanted,” he told TWICE. He also said it “would be less expensive to start over.”
The existing 3vNet multiroom-audio system didn’t integrate with 3vNet’s lighting-control system, he noted, although both did integrate with other home systems, although not easily or elegantly, he said.
The new company will offer automation products for the residential, commercial and health industries. Its first new commercial- and home-automation products will debut in May, with shipments following in June or July, Anderson said.
The announcement is the latest in the 3vNet saga, which saw the company effectively close down in 2009, then get purchased by Russound in November of that year, then get sold off in April 2012 to Anderson.
The 3vNet phase-out provides enough lead time for dealers to finish existing projects and eases the transition to the new product line, Anderson said. The company has enough 3vNet inventory to continue servicing customers and will provide customer support and technical assistance “as long as necessary,” he continued. 3vNet will continue to honor all existing 3vNet warranties, he added.
The new company’s mission, Anderson said, “is to revitalize the industry” by adopting an “outside-in” approach that focuses “on the user experience as the single most important driving factor behind product development.”
“The technology behind 3vNet has had an impressive impact over the years, but now is the time to undertake an entirely new direction in our approach to automation," he said. “ACTP is committed to the advancement of building automation, and in order to move forward, it is vital that we begin to focus our efforts on the next generation of products.”
The decision to phase out 3vNet, which supplies IP-controlled lighting and multi-room-audio systems, comes less than eight months after 3vNet showed off its first new products at the 2012 CEDIA Expo after the brand had been purchased earlier in 2012 by Anderson from Russound.
Russound sold off Colorado vNet in part because Russound concentrates on selling products through distributor channels, while 3vNet products don’t have the margins to support two-step distribution, Anderson said during the Expo. 3vNet products also require more technical support and training than Russound’s distributed-audio products, so closer relations were needed with dealers, he said. “Different marketing is required.”
3vNet, formerly Colorado vNet, was a stand-alone company that had been effectively shut down before it was purchased in October 2009 by Russound owner and president Maureen Baldwin. Russound then announced in December 2010 that it would cease Colorado vNet sales and marketing operations as of March 31, 2011, but in February 2011, Russound announced that it had reversed course and would keep the brand alive. Then in April 2012, Russound sold Colorado vNet to Mike Anderson, who was a Russound executive at the time. The company was then renamed 3vNet.
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