It's not every CEDIA Expo where you visit a distributor on the show floor and phones — yes, phones, not upscale A/V gear — are featured.
But that's what was happening at the Capitol Sales booth during this year's CEDIA Expo, held here earlier this month, and it is keeping with the Eagan, Minn.-based distributor's philosophy of highlighting emerging technologies that custom installers can offer to their clients.
Mike Marko, technical sales and design manager for Capitol, said that the decision to show and carry Panasonic's KX-TDE line of converged IP-PBX telephone systems was an easy one to make. These IP-based systems are designed for small businesses with one location or "employees working from remote offices. This is a profit opportunity for our customers," outside of the heavily competitive flat-panel TV business, for instance.
Marko said that Capitol is looking outside the box to come up with profit opportunities for custom installers during changing times in the business. For instance, the company is offering lighting controls, "which are very profitable" Marko said, plus upscale remotes from Universal Remote Control and video game systems.
"We have now added all three major video game systems to our lineup," Marko said. Capitol decided to offer Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation3 as a convenience for its integrators. And as a statement from Capitol that was made at CEDIA indicated, "Gaming systems are quickly becoming an important component of home audio/video systems and in some cases, they serve as multimedia hubs, delivering high-quality digital movies and IPTV throughout the home."
In another category that seems to be a departure from the traditional custom installer product lineup, Capitol is expanding its video security assortment from Lorex Technology. The line includes a variety of network, remote view and control solutions, and wireless and wired security cameras with integrated digital video recording capabilities.
In more of a traditional mode was the announcement from Capitol that it has included Russound's E-Series of multizone equipment to its line. Capitol showed the ACA-E5 multizone controller amplifier and the KLK-E5 click-wheel keypad, which represent an exclusive line of premium multiroom audio and video equipment, the company said. To buy these products systems installers will be required to participate in Russound's Sphere Certified Integrator Program, the distributor noted.
Marko also showed TWICE the company's new online education site which is part of its enhanced e-commerce Web site. The most popular classes from its 12th Annual Dealer Education and Technology Showcase, held in March, were turned into online education courses that dealers can access any time. Capitol said that the new site makes it easier for its dealers to track orders.
There is free UPS freight for all online orders and free truck freight for orders more than $3,000, Capitol said.