Category Archives: News

HTSA Announces 2014 Schedule of Events

Focused on fueling “Contagious Synergy” among home technology specialists and vendor partners, HTSA maps out the year’s events including seasonal conferences, marketing summits, and networking opportunities.

Barrington, IL – January 28, 2014 – The Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA), released today its year-long calendar of events, which will kick off with the organization’s annual 2014 Spring Conference from Monday, March 24, through Thursday, March 27, at the Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center.

Building off of a successful year, HTSA looks to enhance its current traction with a host of dedicated events in which HTSA Vendors, Members, and Authorized Service Providers can connect, network, and further explore emerging trends and strategies for continued business development. From stronger Vendor-Member collaboration and heightened Member communications to increased integration of new marketing initiatives, HTSA is poised for even further growth and an influential new year.

“In 2012, we were successful in our ‘focused energy’ approach, which allowed us to get back to the basics – evaluating what we were doing well and devoting ourselves to reach new goals,” said Bob Hana, Managing Director of HTSA. “In 2013 we took our strategy yet another step further with ‘creative collaboration’, urging Vendors and Members to think differently about how we can better work together; and now in 2014 we are ready for some serious growth. Our Vendors are committed, are Members are enthusiastic, and we have some innovative new tools and strategies to help propel our businesses and the industry forward.”

“Contagious Synergy”, 2014 HTSA Schedule of Events

Alongside the HTSA Spring 2014 Conference, the organization has also detailed out the dates and locations for upcoming summits and networking sessions:

  • 2014 Spring Conference; March 24 – 27, 2014
    Scottsdale Resort & Conference Center, Scottsdale, AZ 
  • Marketing Summit III; July 15 – 17, 2014
    Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Rosemont, IL 
  • CEDIA 2014 HTSA-Sponsored Events; September 9, 2014
    Members Meeting; 12:00 – 5:00pm
    Networking Cocktail Reception; 6:00 – 8:30pm
    Marriott City Center, Denver, CO 
  • 2014 Fall Conference; October 21 – 23, 2014
    Sofitel Water Tower Hotel, Chicago, IL

Registration for the 2014 HTSA Spring Conference is now open to HTSA Vendors and members.

To learn more about The Home Technology Specialists of America and member benefits, please visit www.htsa.com .

About Home Technology Specialists of America

Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) is a national association of specialty retailers and custom integrators, who design, specify and install premier residential and commercial electronic systems. Ranging from home automation and media rooms to lighting control systems and multi-room audio, today’s digital living environments demand a specialist who helps connect the products in the home, at work or on the go, simply and correctly, while maximizing their performance. Join the conversation on Twitter or becoming a fan on Facebook.

Press Contact

Caster Communications 401-792-7080
Kimberly Lancaster klancaster@castercomm.com
Kelly Ahern kahern@castercomm.com 

HTSA Conferences Approved For CEDIA CEUs

Annually, an HTSA Member that is a CEDIA Certified Professional can now attain up to 4 Continuing Education Units towards their 10 CEU renewal requirement by attending HTSA Conferences/Summits.

Barrington, IL – October 21, 2013 – The Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) announced today that they are the first industry buying association with a curriculum that has been approved by CEDIA for Continuing Education Units (CEU) towards the CEDIA Professional Certification program.

Partnering closely with CEDIA, HTSA is the first buying association to be able to offer CEU credits for attending the HTSA conferences and summits. Each CEDIA Certified HTSA member can now receive 2 CEU credits per 2-day meeting attended, acquiring up to 4 of the 10 CEU credits needed annually, to meet the 30 CEU requirement for certification renewal over 36 months. HTSA will award each member with a certificate at the conclusion of each conference to document the member’s participation and completion of their continuing education through the HTSA.

“It is our goal to make CEDIA certification as valuable and accessible as possible,” said Jeff Gardner, Director of Technical Training for CEDIA. “By attaching CEU credits to HTSA offerings we are creating a benefit not only to our organizations but also to home technology professionals who are working to maintain their certifications.”

Bob Hana, HTSA Managing Director added, “The certification credit of our conferences is a testament to the quality programming HTSA builds into every session at our events. We have quickly evolved past the historical role of the buying group to an agile, thought-leading, market-driven partner who delivers value built-in to ever service we provide.”

To learn more about The Home Technology Specialists of America, please visit www.htsa.com.

Q&A With HTSA Managing Director Bob Hana

On the second day of the HTSA fall meeting in Chicago, we sat down to talk with the buying group’s managing director, Bob Hana, on the conference, issues facing the industry, and what HTSA members are expecting to face this holiday season:

Q: I just wanted to get your impression of the event and how it’s going so far, and what you’ve been hearing so far.

A: It’s been kind of a continuation of CEDIA. Things have been much more upbeat, both from the member side and also the manufacturer side. It’s kind of positive, as you start to see the economy recover and you start to see their businesses come up. They’re really in a much better mood overall. But as far as the conference specifically, we continue to build more and more value, during our conferences, so that the return on their time and investment is really greatly appreciated by them, and therefore I think they’re enthusiastic to do it, and concentrate to stay focused. And especially this fall one, which is truly about how do we finish the year. Everybody wants to finish the year strong, and [they] have some key things they’d like to push, and to be able to have a venue where they can effectively communicate with each other and talk about that, it’s a good time of year.

Q: In terms of what you’ve heard from people talking, both at this event and from people in general, how do you feel the general mood is? Do you feel like most people’s sales are up?

A: Yes. Most of our members’ sales are up. I think traditional transactional retail is a struggle, and continues to be, and will always continue to be, but the work that they’ve done, even when times were challenging, in trade-to-trade relationships with builders and architects, and the hard work that they’ve done with maintaining their customer base is starting to really pay off, and take traction.

Q: What products and categories are you seeing as bringing growth this year?

A: Home networking is huge. Our business has almost doubled this year in home networking from prior years, which is a testament to the fact of today, you need to own the home network to own the client. Everything as it resides on the network, obviously requires a more robust network. So our average price points are up, the average amount of jobs start with home network now, not an afterthought but as the initial thrust of it so everything can work. So that’s a huge category for us.

HTSA’s Hana: “We’ve Never Been Stronger”

HTSA managing director Bob Hana kicked off the buying group’s Fall meeting in Chicago Tuesday with a “state of the union” address in which he stated that the association has “never been stronger.”

HTSA members, Hana said, currently touch 1.6 million customers, with most members ranking at the top of search results for their respective categories. Throughout the three-day conference, with the theme “Creative Collaboration,” HTSA will focus on “improving our business in the next 48 days.”

Hana also discussed HTSA’s recently announced partnership with CEDIA, in which group members will receive CEDIA credit for attending events, and the buying group’s IMPROVE Metrics Dashboard, which stands for “Incentive-based Measuring Performance and Rating Tool, Optimizing Value For Everyone.” The dashboard will launch in 2014.

Hana’s address was followed by a rollicking keynote from industry consultant Michael Heiss of M. Heiss on “Technology Today/Tomorrow.” Heiss warned attendees to avoid “Disintermediation”- defined as the cutting out of the middle man upon the arrival of new technologies- as well as harnessing disruptive technologies rather than falling victim to them.

Following the keynotes, attendees enjoyed a cocktail hour and dinner at Chicago’s famous Gibson’s Steakhouse. Stay tuned on the site for more live coverage of HTSA’s fall conference.

HTSA Honors Top Vendors of 2013

Embodying product excellence, innovation, and dedication to the custom integration channel, GoldenEar Technology’s Sandy Gross recognized with 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Barrington, IL – October 29, 2013 – The Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) is proud to announce the winners of their 2013 HTSA Vendor Awards. The annual HTSA Vendor Awards honor those who have demonstrated commitment to member growth through the development of cutting-edge products and technologies, exemplary business practices, and unyielding service and support for HTSA members.

“Each year the HTSA Vendor Awards provide us with the opportunity to recognize those who have had an overwhelming impact on the success and business growth of our members,” said Bob Hana, managing director of HTSA. “From successful new products and applications to collaborative marketing support, it is with the help from manufacturer partners that our specialty dealers and custom integrators can continue to effectively sell, serve and educate today’s consumer, while broadening the reach of connected home technology.”

This year HTSA announced the return of one of its most coveted honors, the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was awarded to Sandy Gross, founder and president of GoldenEar Technology. Gross has dedicated his life to the creation of high performance, award-winning loudspeakers, arming not just HTSA members but the entire custom integration community with dependable, affordable audio solutions consumers can rely on.

“Sandy has been an incredible driving force across our industry,” said Hana. “His commitment to his craft has resulted in a wealth of products and applications our members have utilized to further grow their businesses. Furthermore, his support for HTSA has not gone unnoticed. He and his team have been actively involved in cooperative marketing campaigns and driving new opportunities that benefit HTSA members.”

HTSA is also proud to name Control4 as its Vendor of the Year for 2013. From continued support in the areas of lead generation and technical training to collaboration across digital marketing and advertising campaigns, Control4 has invested their time and resources into programs that directly impact individual member business, while helping to spread awareness of the possibilities afforded by custom, smart home technology.

“Control4 has worked hard to uncover new areas for growth and development that greatly impact HTSA members,” said Hana. “By forming authentic, deep relationships with each retailer and integrator, Control4 has helped evolve the way our manufacturer partners and members work together, paving the way for stronger, more sustained business growth.”

URC was presented with the Most Supportive Vendor of the Year Award for offering superior technical support, industry knowledge, and marketing best practices; while Noah Kaplan, co-founder and president of Leon Speakers, was honored with the Innovator of the Year award for his inspired product, sales and marketing contributions.

The following vendors were also recognized at the HTSA Fall 2012 Conference specifically for their distinguished technical innovation:

  • Lenbrook – Technology Innovation, BlueSound
  • Savant Systems – Technology Innovation, SmartView Video Tiling
  • Paradigm – Best Audio Product, Soundtrack System
  • SONY – Best Video Product, SONY XBR65-X850A
  • Lutron – Best Integration Product, Triathlon Shades

Additionally, the HTSA recognizes one individual that has greatly exceeded their role within the organization, providing immeasurable support, fresh business ideas and promoting a collaborative spirit amongst members and vendors with the HTSA Person of the Year Award. Ari Supran, CEO of Dana Innovations is this year’s recipient.

“The entire Dana Innovations family, and Ari in particular, embrace and believe in the spirit of HTSA, while supporting our mission to educate consumers and expand the reach of custom home technology,” said Hana. “Ari has proven his dedication ten-fold, with a willingness to always lend a hand, contribute resources, and out-of-the-box ideas that get our organization thinking.”

For photos from the HTSA 2013 Awards Ceremony, please visit the HTSA Facebook Page.

To learn more about The Home Technology Specialists of America, please visit www.htsa.com.

About Home Technology Specialists of America

Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) is a national association of specialty retailers and custom integrators, who design, specify and install premier residential and commercial electronic systems. Ranging from home automation and media rooms to lighting control systems and multi-room audio, today’s digital living environments demand a specialist who helps connect the products in the home, at work or on the go, simply and correctly, while maximizing their performance. Join the conversation on Twitter or becoming a fan on Facebook.

Press Contact

Caster Communications 401-792-7080
Katie Short kshort@castercomm.com
Kelly Ahern kahern@castercomm.com 

Home Technology Specialists of America Launches New Marketing Tools for Members

Continuing to improve on collaborative marketing programs with members and vendors, HTSA unveils new enablement tools to enhance results measurement and maximize business wins.

Barrington, IL – September 10, 2013 – The Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) announced today additional comprehensive marketing and services tools crucial in helping members and vendors as they generate fresh leads and create long-lasting business relationships to grow sales.

One unique element is a comprehensive key performance analysis allowing members the ability to access and review a wealth of insight ranging from: value of services included in membership and services developed in partnership with HTSA Vendors through the value utilized via HTSA-authorized Service Providers. This tool will visually depict for each member where their resources are being utilized, providing a clear pathway for how to better develop and leverage available marketing services.

“HTSA, having evolved our role past that of typical buying groups, is now an agile, more strategic marketing engine” said Bob Hana, HTSA Managing Director. “As we broaden our marketing services, we saw the opportunity to empower our members with valuable tools and data to optimize their performance and success.”

Additionally, these new tools will provide recommendations and tactics for effective lead generation – including company website strategies, email marketing, search engine optimization and PPC. Members will also have access to relationship management techniques, including tips for creating compelling content for each stage of the buying process and how best to move buyers from first touch to purchase.

“At HTSA, we continue our collaboration with vendors, members and industry leaders” added Hana. “Our evolution is a result of that collaboration and we are confident these new additions to our marketing portfolio will help our members not only market smarter but also more effectively.”

To learn more about The Home Technology Specialists of America, please visit www.htsa.com .

About Home Technology Specialists of America

Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) is a national association of specialty retailers and custom integrators, who design, specify and install premier residential and commercial electronic systems. Ranging from home automation and media rooms to lighting control systems and multi-room audio, today’s digital living environments demand a specialist who helps connect the products in the home, at work or on the go, simply and correctly, while maximizing their performance. Join the conversation on Twitter or becoming a fan on Facebook.

Press Contact

Caster Communications 401-792-7080
Kimberly Lancaster klancaster@castercomm.com
Kelly Ahern kahern@castercomm.com

La Jolla

Home Technology Specialists of America Adds New Member, Modern Home Systems

Helping to further grow the HTSA network of home technology specialists, Modern Home Systems, previously named La Jolla Home Theater & Automation combines creativity, expertise and award-winning programming to deliver cutting-edge solutions. 

Barrington, IL – June 6, 2013 – The Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) are pleased to welcome their newest representative and nationwide member, Modern Home Systems. Based out of San Diego, California, and rapidly expanding, Otto Benson and his team specialize in both residential and commercial electronic systems, including automation, home theater, audio/video installation, programming, wiring and computer networking.

For the past 10 years, Benson and his team of integrators have been helping to create harmonious environments that seamlessly bridge man with machine. With the recent acquirement of Modern Home Systems, a joint specialty retailer and integration firm, Benson looks to further expand the brand’s presence within the San Diego market, strengthening coverage for both the HTSA as well as the custom integration community as a whole. With unmatched commitment to customer satisfaction, Benson’s blended Modern Home Systems / La Jolla Home Theater & Automation takes pride in the ability to work with each client individually, customizing packages which combine existing equipment with new, to build the ultimate experience high-tech, yet simplified experience.  This unique, collaborative approach to system design and application adds both diversity and versatility to the HTSA Member family.

“We pride ourselves in delivering a superior level of customer service, and it shows. We aim to deliver insightfully simple, yet powerful systems that benefit and add real value to the lives of each individual customer,” said Benson. “We are excited to partner with the HTSA, who shares this same value-driven philosophy, and are looking forward to the new and unique opportunities our membership will bring.”

Skilled at all levels, Modern Home Systems can handle anything whether it’s a basic TV install or an elaborate whole home automation system. Furthermore, as Apple Authorized Resellers, the company is thrilled to offer San Diego consumers Apple computers, Apple accessories, Apple software and support from their team of Certified Apple Consultants. Additionally, the system integration company is well aligned with a variety of key HTSA Vendors including, Savant, Integra, Paradigm, Runco, Sonance, and Stewart among others.

“Modern Home Systems help promote a new sense of creativity and collaboration within the HTSA membership, bringing with them years of expertise and dedication to the custom integration market,” said Bob Hana, Managing Director of HTSA. “As we look to grow not only our membership, but also our influence across the CE industry, we value like-minded members who strive to make a difference through technology, and look forward to the positive impact Benson and his team will make upon our organization.”

To learn more about The Home Technology Specialists of America and member benefits, please visit www.htsa.com.

About Home Technology Specialists of America

Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) is a national association of specialty retailers and custom integrators, who design, specify and install premier residential and commercial electronic systems. Ranging from home automation and media rooms to lighting control systems and multi-room audio, today’s digital living environments demand a specialist who helps connect the products in the home, at work or on the go, simply and correctly, while maximizing their performance. Join the conversation on Twitter or becoming a fan on Facebook. 

Press Contact

Caster Communications 401-792-7080
Kimberly Lancaster klancaster@castercomm.com
Kelly Ahern kahern@castercomm.com

Blair Home Technologies

Home Technology Specialists of America Welcomes New Member, Blair Home Technologies

Expanding the HTSA network of home technology specialists, Blair Home Technologies blends specialty retail with high-end custom integration solutions.

Barrington, IL – May 20, 2013 – The Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) are pleased to welcome their newest representative and nationwide member, Blair Home Technologies. The Cary, Illinois-based, system integration company has emerged as a regional force in the design and implementation of a broad range of projects, from one-room systems to multi-room, ahead-of-the-curve audio and video systems.

“We deliver a service that personifies the 21st Century,” observed founder and chief executive officer Blair Brommel. “We’re “high tech” and cutting edge in every sense of the word. But Blair Home Technologies is much more than that. Old-fashioned, first-name-basis customer service is everything to us. It’s in my company’s DNA.”

Blair Home Technologies recently acquired the Wilmette, IL-based “The Big Picture Home Theater Company – a highly respected designer and installer of home theaters, private screening rooms, home-wide music systems and smart-home controls. Although but the latest of a series of recent expansions, the move prompted Brommel to join HTSA.

“We had grown to the point where membership in this prestigious organization was an obvious ‘next step,” he explained. “HTSA offers us a networking base, industry connections and other critical tools that will be extremely valuable. We’re thrilled to partner with them!”

With 34 years in the business, Brommel – and his veteran staff – brings an old school approach to every project. “It might sound quaint or even cliché, but every customer is our most important customer,” he noted. “We don’t care if you need us for a one-day project or if you need your entire house wired for sound. You, the customer, are why we exist – and we never forget that.”

Blair Home Technologies is intimately aligned with established and respected architects and designers, and views every project as a collaborative effort to deliver the best and most cost-efficient results for clients. Additionally, the system integration company regularly works with a variety of key HTSA vendors, including Access Networks, Audioquest, DPI, Harman Luxury Audio Group, IC Realtime, Integra, Leon Speakers, Liberty AV Solutions, Lutron, Middle Atlantic Products, Runco, Samsung, Seura, Sonance, Sony, Stewart Filmscreen, and URC.

“Blair Home Technologies brings a truly unique flavor to both the CE marketplace and the HTSA membership as a whole, much which is a result of their ability to seamlessly blend specialty retail with cutting-edge custom integration,” said Bob Hana, Managing Director of HTSA. “As we look to enhance our reach and voice across the industry, we are thrilled to welcome likeminded members, and eager to join forces with both Blair and his team. Their presence will undoubtedly be a valued addition to our organization.”

To learn more about The Home Technology Specialists of America and member benefits, please visit www.htsa.com. 

About Home Technology Specialists of America

Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) is a national association of specialty retailers and custom integrators, who design, specify and install premier residential and commercial electronic systems. Ranging from home automation and media rooms to lighting control systems and multi-room audio, today’s digital living environments demand a specialist who helps connect the products in the home, at work or on the go, simply and correctly, while maximizing their performance. Join the conversation on Twitter or becoming a fan on Facebook. 

Press Contact

Caster Communications 401-792-7080
Kimberly Lancaster klancaster@castercomm.com
Kelly Ahern kahern@castercomm.com

HTSA Launches Online Training

We are proud to announce our first-ever social media training, created exclusively for HTSA Members and Vendors, scheduled to debut in two sessions on June 5th, 2013.

Choose the session below that fits your schedule and click the link to register, OR check your email from Kathleen Marini for your personal invite.

11:00 AM EST / 8:00 AM PST – click here to register
4:00 PM EST / 1:00 PM PST – click here to register

The interactive training session will run approximately 45 minutes with an additional 15 minutes open for questions and commentary. The digital training will overview social media key players – including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest – providing HTSA members with detailed advice and best practices for how to best to leverage each tool to effectively develop an cohesive online voice.

Participants will learn:

  • Where to begin – the art of optimizing your social media profiles
  • How social media can be used as an effective customer service tool
  • Facebook posting etiquette
  • How to make the most of each tweet and add value with SEO-friendly hashtags

How to leverage advanced engagement strategies that include YouTube and Pinterest.

Premier Technology Group

Home Technology Specialists of America Welcomes Premier Technology Group as Newest Technology Specialist Member

Home Technology Specialists of America Welcomes Premier Technology Group as Newest Technology Specialist Member

Sharing a forward-thinking, collaborative approach to business, Premier proudly aligns with HTSA as a valued new partner in the organization’s growing network.

Barrington, IL – February 21, 2013 – The Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) proudly welcomes Premier Technology Group of Houston, Texas as the newest member of the growing home technology specialist network. Premier Technology Group has a well-deserved reputation for providing first-class customer experiences, leading design and technology expertise to achieve innovative ways to integrate technology and energy management solutions into the home and business markets.­

Premier has established itself at the forefront of innovation through the design and installation of integrated electronic systems, including: lighting and shade control, fire and security, automation, audio/video, IT & communication and electrical systems. Their main focus is to provide the best customer experience in the industry. They accomplish this goal by providing the utmost customer service and taking pride in their installations, where they install only the finest products available in the industry today. Premier is comprised of a team of highly-trained and experienced professionals that skillfully guide clients from the proposal phase, and creation of the CAD drawings, all the way to final installation and training sessions.

“The customer is the ultimate focus of Premier’s business model. We improve their lives by providing innovative technology solutions and achieve success by building lasting relationships through a culture of open collaboration, idea sharing, education and mutual respect,” Premier Technology Group owner Eric Herleth states. “We are excited that HTSA shares a similar culture and philosophy. We look forward to the opportunity to share our expertise and passion with members of this collaborative organization to help move the industry and our businesses forward together.”

“Our members are dedicated to the betterment of their trade and each brings invaluable, unique experiences to share,” comments Managing Director of HTSA Bob Hana. “Eric was seeking an environment where he could improve his business’ profitability and, equally as important to him, where he could share best practices with like-minded professionals to make a positive impact for the betterment of the industry and its consumers.  Premier’s business culture is perfectly aligned with the mission of HTSA and will undoubtedly be a valued addition to our organization.”

To learn more about The Home Technology Specialists of America and member benefits, please visit www.htsa.com.

About Home Technology Specialists of America

Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) is a national association of specialty retailers and custom integrators, who design, specify and install premier residential and commercial electronic systems. Ranging from home automation and media rooms to lighting control systems and multi-room audio, today’s digital living environments demand a specialist who helps connect the products in the home, at work or on the go, simply and correctly, while maximizing their performance. Join the conversation on Twitter or becoming a fan on Facebook.

Press Contact

Caster Communications 401-792-7080
Kimberly Lancaster klancaster@castercomm.com
Kelly Ahern kahern@castercomm.com