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Six home technology companies are merging to form one supercompany that caters to the superrich. Dubbed VIA International, it will provide a premium home automation experience to people with a lot of money to spend on their protecting their homes.
Cyber Sound, DSI Entertainment, Engineered Environments, Paragon Technology, S3 Aurant, and Studio AV are becoming a full-service home-technology provider with distribution across the country, or at least where “ultrahigh net worth clients” live. Before the merger, the companies were based in regions across the Western United States: Colorado, Utah, Northern and Southern California, Arizona, and Montana. They build and install systems for home movie theaters, speaker systems, lighting control, security, and energy management.
“The merger of leading home technology integrators to form VIA International will transform the entire residential systems industry,” Randy Stearns, the CEO and founding partner of VIA International said in a statement. “Together, we are elevating a fragmented, project-based business model into a consolidated and streamlined service provider that emphasizes providing a concierge-level experience over multiple years in multiple homes, not simply a one-time, product-centric solution.”
VIA cited a report by ABI Research that found that annual revenue for the home automation industry will exceed $11 billion by 2016. Home automation is an hot and emerging sector that still caters to a small, wealthy segment of the population. The momentum of the Internet of Things, as well as the notion of being able to “connect” anything from cars to watches to homes, has led to increased interest in this space from consumers, entrepreneurs, and large corporations alike. As technology continues to get better and the price comes down, “connected homes” will become more accessible to regular people.
VIA is starting out by targeting the very rich. It said it works with hundreds of clients such as Hollywood A-List celebrities, sports superstars, and Forbes 400 business tycoons. The six companies are pooling their technology and resources to provide more “exceptional” home automation services that include consulting and design, engineering, project management, implementation, programming, customer service, and system monitoring. VIA will also feature a white glove digital concierge that gives an extra dash of “attentiveness and expertise.” These people can now turn to VIA to trick out their mansions, penthouses, and vacation estates with home movie theaters, and ensure that the cutting edge home technology does not compromise the authentic Italian villa look they are going for.
Keeping all these systems up and running requires a fair amount of infrastructure, and VIA said its networks are enterprise-grade and it employes IT professionals who can keep them running smoothly.
This is a competitive sector. AT&T is expanding its home automation service Digital Life across the country, which competes with Verizon’s Home Monitoring and Control system, Comcast Xfinity Home, Vivint and others. There are also dozens of smaller-scale home automation projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Forming one super-company is intended to turn VIA into one of the major players in this space. Check out this video . If nothing else, for the real estate porn.