Richardson, Texas – After posting double-digit growth in residential-market sales in its latest fiscal year, AMX promises additional growth in the current year by expanding its appeal to owners of homes priced down to $500,000, executive VP Rashid Skaf told TWICE.
“We want to expand the market for AMX,” he said. “We are now in homes priced at $3 million and up, and we get some $1.5 million homes. We want to get to half-million-dollar homes,” or homes that are at least 3,500 square feet, he said.
In 6,000-square-foot homes, “we are a necessity, not an accessory,” he noted. “In half-million-dollar homes, we are currently an exception.”
Despite AMX’s narrow residential-customer base, the company’s fourth-quarter residential sales shot up 26 percent to $3.5 million, helping drive full-year residential sales up by 14.4 percent to $11.9 million from $10.4 million. Total sales, combining residential and commercial sales, rose in the fourth quarter by 15 percent to $23 million and by 4 percent in the fiscal year to $85.9 million.
The latest financial results mark the company’s 10th consecutive profitable quarter after about as many unprofitable quarters, Skaf said. Net income for the year hit $6.1 million, up from $3.1 million.
The return to profitability was “internally generated” via downsizing to 360 employees from 500 and by investing 12 percent of revenues in R&D, Skaf said. The R&D expenditures enabled the company to deliver 60 new commercial and residential products during the past 18 months. “Thirty percent of revenues from December to December came from products that didn’t exist 12 months ago,” he noted.
In the fiscal year started April 1, AMX will turn to more new products to drive residential growth. Those products will include simpler, lower-cost touch panels that control multiple home systems, a new content-management system and a planned asset-control service that will enable custom installers to monitor and manage home systems, Skaf said.
In touch panels, AMX plans to drive down the cost of select models to $1,000 or below, compared to current starting prices of a suggested $1,800 for a 4-inch model, to $3,800 for a 7-inch model, $5,000 for an 8.4-inch model, and $13,500 for a 17-inch model.
In content management, the company has begun shipping multizone AV servers developed by Media Access Solutions, which AMX purchased last September. The hard disk drive (HDD) servers store music, ripped DVDs or both for distribution over an Ethernet network that can be shared with PCs, Skaf said. Prices start at $5,000 for a 250GB music-only version with included clients to $60,000 for an eight-zone 7.2TB (terabyte) AV version. On the AV server, DVD content is stored in an encrypted form approved by the DVD Forum. The content is decrypted by the clients. AMX adds proprietary authentication technology to ensure that its server talks only to its clients. “We are the only ones storing audio and [DVD] video on a hard drive in a dedicated AV server,” Skaf claimed.
In asset management, the company plans a residential version of a commercial product that will enable installers to remotely program and monitor home systems, including lighting and security cameras, as well as perform remote diagnostics. “A dealer will be able to manage all electronic devices,” Skaf said.
AMX now gives consumers the ability to monitor and manage home systems and security cameras from the web browser of any USB-equipped PC. To remotely control their home from a remote PC, consumers plug in a USB drive equipped with a remote-control application. The application disappears from the PC once the USB drive is removed. Before it introduced the capability last fall, AMX sold a remote-control application that consumers had to install on a remote PC.