Top Business and Technology Trends 2015 for Radial, Primacoustic and Jensen

Top Business and Technology Trends 2015 for Radial, Primacoustic and Jensen

Peter Janis, President, Radial Engineering, Primacoustic, and Jensen Transformers took the time to answer SCN’s Top Business and Technology Trends 2015 survey for each brand to address their respective products and markets.

RADIAL ENGINEERING

SCN: What technology and/or verticals were most successful in 2014?

Peter Janis

PJ: As you know, revenues from CD or album sales have been hit hard with the advent of "free" digital downloads. As such, artists have realigned their sites toward generating revenues from taking their shows on tour. And the cool thing is that the public loves it. Concert ticket sales have been brisk and the ticket prices have escalated without noticeable detriment. Legendary artists are now playing in casinos or soft seat theaters, which seems to bode well for the baby boomer generation that does not want to get blasted out by a rock concert. And while this is happening, country artists have gone "rock star" with huge productions that equal those of bands as diverse as Lady Gaga or Metallica.

  • At Radial, we launched our first direct box, the Jensen Transformer equipped JDI, almost 20 years ago and the J48 active direct box 15 years ago. Since then, these two boxes have quietly gained momentum year after year. Today, they have gained industry standard status. While at PA giant Solotech’s head office [recently], they advised us that Radial is now on every rider they get. In 2014, we enjoyed a 27-percent increase in Radial direct box sales. This was bolstered by a number of new product launches, such as the introduction of the Radial USB-Pro digital to analog direct box, a rugged USB interface designed for pro touring.

What customer or end-user demand surprised you the most and why?

When we speak with our dealers and contractors, they tend to point to the house of worship market as being a major driver for their sales. This makes sense. Over the past 20 years, the Christian music scene has gone from a Lowrey organ concert to a full-blown concert every weekend. This has spawned demand for all types of production equipment, including microphones, larger mixers, better PA systems, automated lighting, and a bunch more direct boxes.

And, with governments looking to increase revenues, casinos have sprung up all over the place. These entertainment space operators have come to realize that unless they provide more than one-armed bandits, people will not stay in their hotels or return. So they now hire top acts to fill their soft seat theaters and provide the equipment so that these artists can fly in without having to carry production. This reduces the cost to the facility while providing the artist with solid revenue.

Which vertical markets are on the rise and which do you see declining?

We often cite the competition for our recording products as being free. Free is a very compelling competitor. Why pay for a high quality analog compressor when you can download a cracked version on the internet for free? The good news is that as youngsters begin to record in their bedrooms, many will catch a bug. And this bug will eventually turn into better studios and a greater demand for quality equipment. We have seen the modular 500 series of analog processors remaining somewhat flat, but interest continues to loom high on the horizon.


JENSEN TRANSFORMERS

With our recent acquisition of Jensen Transformers, most of our energy this year has been focused on increasing Jensen’s ability to deliver product in a timely fashion. This meant adding two more digitally controlled winders, increasing raw inventory and improving financial management in areas like inventory turns, cost allocation and so on. During this time, we have seen steady demand for both the Iso-Max range of solution boxes and raw transformers for OEM customers.

What customer or end-user demand surprised you the most and why?

As demand has been steady, we have not noticed any particular spike. It has been business as usual.

The house or worship market continues to lead with home theatre right behind. The sales trajectory in both cases can be directly linked to the economic turnaround that we are beginning to see in the United States.
PRIMACOUSTIC

Considering that we have been doing this for over 20 years, the growth has been truly spectacular. This can be attributed to several factors. First, with the economy turning around, many of the purse strings that have been tied are now beginning to loosen up. So, designs and quotes that were created two and three years ago are finally coming to fruition. Second, as our key contractor partners gain confidence in their abilities to quote and install acoustic panels, they have begun to take a much more proactive position with the use of acoustics and have come to discover that this segment of the business can be very profitable. Finally, with the introduction of our Paintable series of panels, architects and committees are now able to match the panel with the room colors to create a seamless solution.

With acoustics, the customer base is so broad that it is mind-boggling. The house of worship market has always been the leading market segment. But we have now begun to see demand in educational facilities and restaurants where intelligibility has come to the forefront of their facilities.

In restaurants, it used to be that having a loud environment equated to business and excitement. But smart restaurateurs are now targeting the wealthier middle class, which equates to the baby boomer generation. These folks are getting older and are not interested in having a meal where they have to shout all evening long in order to have a conversation. This has shifted the mindset to where acoustic are now being installed on a regular basis.

When you zoom out and look at music production, you have to look at how the internet will play a role. There is no question that broadcasters will have to develop new models to generate revenues as more and more people switch to streaming from the internet. Cost savings will affect recording studios and post production facilities. This can be further amplified with digital technology on the desktop that continues to get more and more powerful, allowing creative types to work from home and produce quality work that is nearly as good as the million-dollar facility in town.

What technology and/or verticals were most successful in 2014?

Which vertical markets are on the rise and which do you see declining?

What technology and/or verticals were most successful in 2014?

Although acoustic products have been in use for years, it is truly at its infancy when it comes to applications such as restaurants, classrooms, boardrooms, call centers, and even in gathering places such as community halls and houses of worship. As such, for many contractors it is a new business that is just beginning to take shape. With Primacoustic, so far this year, we have enjoyed a 27 percent growth over 2013.

What customer or end-user demand surprised you the most and why?

Providing kids with learning disabilities, such as hearing problems, has become a major concern for government as they have come to realize that if these kids are educated, they can be productive members of society. By simply reducing the reverberant field in a classroom, attentiveness and retention increases dramatically.

Which vertical markets are on the rise and which do you see declining?

As I mentioned above, the market is huge and growing. We are seeing demand from police stations, fire stations, dog kennels, call centers, community halls, airports, swimming pools, hotels, and on and on. This is a growth market, so there has not been any decline.