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VOXX Delays Select Products, Plans Sling Car Video

Hauppauge, N.Y. – Voxx International is pushing back its launches of 360-degree action cameras and a USB-stick-shaped password-protection device, but the company also said it is partnering with EchoStar’s Sling Media unit to bring Sling Box technology to rear-seat entertainment systems.

During an investors’ conference call, president/CEO Pat Lavelle said the company pushed back sales of the myris authentication solution until November, when it will be available on a limited basis. In January, June shipments were announced.

 Sales of the 360Fly video camera and the smaller 360 Micro Fly will be delayed until late in the current 2015 fiscal year, which ends at the end of February, or early fiscal 2016.

The myris and action cameras were delayed to “tweak software,” Lavelle said, noting that both types of products must interface reliably with other hardware.

Despite the delay in camera shipments, Lavelle said he still expects to the first company to ship a 360-degree action camera, and he plans “aggressive promotion” of the products.

If launched on time, the company had hoped the launches of the action cameras and myris would generate $20 million in sales during the fiscal year.

The action cameras will most likely launch with several retailers rather than with one exclusive launch partner, Lavelle said. The myris will launch at retail then expand to enterprise channels.

Lavelle didn’t release details of the Sling-compatible rear-seat entertainment systems or their availability dates, but a spokesman said an announcement will be made “soon.” Sling technology streams live or recorded TV from a home to PCs and to app-equipped tablets and smartphones.

The myris product, developed by authentication solution provider EyeLock, makes it unnecessary to remember and enter passwords to access on-line accounts and password-protected content from a computer. The USB-shaped device, which plugs into a PC’s USB port, encrypts all of a user’s passwords by converting an individual’s iris patterns into a unique code that encrypts the passwords. The passwords are decrypted when needed to access accounts and content. The company in January announced a price of less than $300.

Also in January, the company announced a $399 suggested retail for the 360Fly water-resistant video camera, said to be durable enough to be mount on a motocross helmet. The 360 Micro Fly is a smaller $99 version that attaches to a smartphone.

The 360 Fly transfers its 360-degree videos via Wi-Fi to a connected smartphone or tablet, which can upload them to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social-media channels. On a tablet or phone touchscreen, users can move the video with a finger to view a scene from all angles. The video can also be viewed in one horizontal 360-degree spread.

The technology was developed by a group from Carnegie Melon University and will be carried exclusively by VOXX.

In other comments, Lavelle said the company’s new 808 Audio brand is “performing well domestically, that an asset-tracking system for logistics use will be launched at a European trade show in November, and that sales through VOXX’s premium-audio group aren’t expected to grow in fiscal 2015. Premium-audio margins, however, “should grow again” as the group ships its Klipsch Reference series speakers, whose launch was delayed by a month sales and contributed to a decline in second -quarter premium-audio sales. Margins have been coming down as the group has built up its selection in the growing market for soundbars and music systems, he said.

With new products in the pipeline, the company’s ability to grow organically “looks promising,” said CFO Michael Stoehr, despite consolidated global sales that were off in the first and second quarters.

In its fiscal second quarter of fiscal 2015, net sales fell 3.5 percent to $177.3 million and fell in the first half by 3.3 percent to $364.2 million.

The company reported a second-quarter net loss of $2.7 million compared to year-ago net income of $4.9 million. For the first half, the company’s net loss came to $2.2 compared to year-ago net income of $7 million.

In the quarter, premium audio sales fell 4.5 percent to $39 million, and first-half sales were off 8.4 percent to $74.2 million. The company attributed the declines in both periods primarily to lower retail sales in Canada and Europe and to lower domestic sales because the company cleared inventory to make way for the Klipsch Reference Series speaker line, which were introduced toward the end of the second quarter. In the second quarter, the company experienced a slight increase in Cinema Speaker sales “and continues to see strong demand for many of its new soundbar systems.”

Also in the quarter, accessory sales fell 0.8 percent to $45.6 million, and they fell 0.5 percent to $94.4 million in the half, despite increases in European sales and increased sales of wireless and Bluetooth speakers and reception products. Those gains were offset by a continued decline in clock radios, digital voice recorders and select power categories.

OEM and aftermarket automotive sales in the second quarter fell 4.1 percent to $92.9 million, primarily because of a term suspension of an OEM program and significantly lower sales in Venezuela

Automotive sales for the half were off 2.9 percent to $195.3 million.