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Sim2 Leans On Innovation To Survive, Even Thrive

5/23/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

PORDENONE, ITALY — Sim2 is separating itself in
the home theater video display market by maintaining
both premium prices and an elite product profile within
the high-end home theater projector business.

While this step may seem counterintuitive to those
living in the cut-throat mainstream consumer electronics
channel, Sim2 USA executive VP Alberto Fabiano
said it makes perfect sense when you see the growth
of other premium goods from manufacturers that don’t
dicker on price, such as Ferrari or Apple.

In fact, as other display manufacturers are scaling
back, Sim2 USA, which this year celebrates its 15th anniversary
coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the
Republic of Italy, continues to upgrade its R&D, assembly
and service facilities here and even recently added
a white room for the manufacture of its own DLP light
engines using Texas Instruments’ Digital Micromirror
Devices (DMDs).

Simply put, Fabiano said, Sim2 is an elite high-performance
front projector developer “dedicated to producing
realism in the home that rises above everything else
to people who can pay for it.”

That mission might have slipped away if Sim2 had continued to follow a brief marketing divergence that
saw it add an entry-level, Asian-sourced model (the
D60) following the lead of its volume-oriented competitors.
But the company quickly recalculated that strategy
last year sensing the dangers of the commodity
trap that has hurt other display makers.

The Sim2 brand is now once again focused solely
on the production of high-value, Italian-assembled
products worthy of a higher price tag that sophisticates
can justify.

This is a mission that Maurizio Cini, global company
parent Sim2 Multimedia president, now says he sees
the company maintaining another 15 years in the future.

“We will invest in different technology, but in the future
Sim2 will still be acting, and still leading the home
theater market,” Cini told TWICE, adding it is unlikely
that Sim2 will look to integrate smart technologies into
its displays, opting instead to focus on the company’s
strengths in the display component end of the business.

To help read and react to this segment, Sim2 is listening
more carefully than ever to its 250 U.S. dealers,
Fabiano said, calling them all “members of the Sim2
family.”

“The Custom Integration channel is made of dealers.
They are consultants and they really should be the
brand. We are just suppliers, and we supply products
that these people can use to propose to their customers
excellent systems. They cannot do it themselves
and we cannot do it without them.”

“This is what is going to keep this channel up. If we
aren’t successful in doing that, this channel is going to
disappear,” Fabiano warned.

Cini said, “the value of a company like us is to be able
to provide customized service and support. We cannot
even consider becoming part of a larger consumer distribution
[operation] because we don’t provide any special
benefit to this. I think our strategy was right in the
past and even if the market shrinks, because everyone
is looking for numbers, there is still space for service
excellence in specific products and specific brands.”

At the same time the global parent Sim2 Multimedia
is poised to add on to its current businesses including,
commercial and home theater display systems, and
LED room and area lighting systems.

The company recently acquired full rights to the Brionvega
brand that is long known in Italy as a manufacturer of
uniquely crafted radio, home audio and portable TV products.
It is now formulating plans to expand that brand’s
reach into other markets in the near future. Details will be
announced later, company executives assured.

Cini suggested that Brionvega could be taken into
global markets that promise the Sim2 line the most
growth and opportunity, including major emerging targets
China and India, in addition to core growth pockets
of Europe and the United States. The latter, he
said, is Sim2’s largest current global market segment,
representing better than 30 percent of the global mix.

One of the main challenges Sim2 has is the difficult
financial situation as the value of the U.S. dollar continues
to collapse against the Euro, and price increases
seem inevitable this summer.

Cini commented, “We were obliged in the past to
raise our prices because of this unfair currency situation
and if nothing changes I think we will be obliged
[to do it again].”

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