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Leviton Liaison Bolsters Bose’s Custom Campaign

Framingham, Mass. — Bose accelerated its custom-installation drive by teaming with structured-wiring supplier Leviton to sell Bose multi-room audio and home theater systems through Leviton distributors to the production-homebuilder market, where custom-installed A/V is still in its infancy.

The program was test-marketed beginning last year, but the final system offerings and business launch were announced only recently, said Leviton’s A/V systems director Mark Cerasuolo.

The stepped-up “aftermarket” focus follows Bose’s recent drive to sell standardized, but modifiable, systems on an “OEM” basis directly to production-homebuilders. Under this program, Bose negotiates deals with builders, makes a margin on the sale, and ships product to the under-construction home, where installers contracted by Bose do the install, the company said.

The direct-sales deal upset custom installers who themselves market to production-homebuilders. With its Leviton liaison, however, Bose will leverage Leviton’s existing electrical and low-voltage distributors, whose customers include electricians, security installers and custom A/V installers.

Under the deal, Leviton will market co-branded Leviton/Sound by Bose distributed-audio systems that integrate with Leviton’s structured-wiring systems. Home theater systems will also be available. All use standard audio/video cables. All systems exclude sources and amplification.

For its structured wiring enclosures, Leviton will offer a seven-zone audio-distribution module that drives two-room to six-room packages of Bose in-ceiling speakers, in-wall volume controls and outdoor speakers.

The two co-branded home theater packages consist of wall-mountable small-cube speakers and separate bass module. A wall plate module connects the satellite speakers to the bass module to hide connecting cables behind a wall.

Distributors of Leviton/Bose systems are authorized by both Leviton and Bose and include national and regional distributors, Cerasuolo said. Live training by Leviton reps and in-house salespeople are already underway, and online training went live in late June, said Cerasuolo.

Meantime, Leviton launched a series of Leviton-branded distributed-audio products targeted to price-sensitive production-home builders through its distribution channels. The products, dubbed Spec-Grade Sound, include custom-installed speakers, in-wall volume controls and an impedance-matching module. The products expand Leviton’s commitment to selling A/V to the production-home market to balance its home networking and home-control structured-wiring systems, the company said.