Control for Control4
Rather, it was all about what was happening with the distribution of Control4 in Australia.
By now you would have heard that as of 20 October, the distribution of the popular control system will transfer from Convergent Technologies to Advance Audio Australia. There have been many stories emerge since the announcement, many doing little more than creating further confusion in the industry.
During the Expo, I had the chance to talk with Convergent Technologies’ Nick Libertone, Advance Audio’s Adam Merlino and Control4 international sales director Troy Holtby about the decision, to find out exactly what transpired.
“The first thing to note is that we were not actively looking for a new distribution partner in Australia,” Troy says.
“But if someone called me to discuss our options, I’d happily talk to them because I have to keep Control4 growing.
“This move has resulted in a lot of negative press, but the case is that Convergent Technologies wasn’t terminated. We simply reached the end of our contract and Control4 opted not to renew.”
The news certainly polarised a lot of people in the industry. Some believed the decision to be foolish, saying that Nick was the embodiment of Control4 in Australia; others were more open to the fact that it was simply a business decision that perhaps wasn’t handled in the best way (in regards to the way the news was broken to Convergent Technologies and its dealers).
Ultimately the transfer process began when an unnamed party began to tell the market that it had been named the new distributor for Control4 in Australia. While this was a blatant fabrication, it provoked approximately 10 other Australian companies, including Advance Audio, to approach Control4 to also be considered for the distributorship.
“I imagine that Control4, under Advance Audio’s direction, will continue along the same path as before. They will be completely responsible for building the local market and making people aware of our system,” Troy says.
“Any change to distribution is a long, complicated, expensive process that undoubtedly causes disruption to the market. We needed to make sure that this was going to be the best move forward for us.
“Nick and his team at Convergent Technologies gave us five years of great service. With the changeover to Advance Audio you can expect the same level of service, if not better.”
Until 20 October, Control4 product is still available from Convergent Technologies. After that date, all enquiries can be directed to Adam and his team in Sydney. Installers can also rest assured that all warranties will be honoured by Advance Audio as they are held directly by Control4.
All that leaves is the big issue, the one question that everyone is asking: how can Advance Audio remain neutral when it’s in direct competition with its dealers?
“If handled poorly, it will be a major challenge,” Troy says. “But, when we weighed up the pros and cons, the positives far outweighed the negatives.”
As far as Adam is concerned, “The distribution and retail arms of our business are separate, and they always have been.”
I think the best way to answer that question is with another question: why on earth would Advance Audio turn down a sale?