Name: Paul Harris
Company: Aurora Multimedia
SCN: What is your position, and what does it entail? What are your responsibilities?
Paul Harris: I am Aurora’s CEO, CTO, and one of the company’s founders. I handle the overall sales and expansion of the company, as well as the development of product.
SCN: How long have you been in this position?
PH: As I mentioned, I am one of the company’s founders, so I’ve been there from the beginning. In fact, we are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year!
SCN: How has your background prepared you for your new role?
PH: I have been developing electronic products since I was a teenager, and started my first company at the age of 16. It seemed natural for me, and I pursued a high school and college education specializing in electronic and software engineering. I have always loved working with audio/video and my first job out of college was developing video walls and projectors. From there, I worked for an AV integrator as a field engineer doing control system programming. Meanwhile, I started a company on the side, Zytec, where I developed a paging supervisory system used by Lockheed Martin and Lucent Technologies. Eventually, I started Aurora Multimedia about a year after leaving that AV integrator. Initially, we were doing control system programming services, which eventually evolved into integrator solution AV products.
SCN: What are your short-and long-term goals?
PH: Our short-term goal is to complete the overall transformation of Aurora’s “Less is More” product theme. We want the company to have as few products as possible, while creating efficiency. At the same time, we want products to be flexible and powerful enough to do anything from AV-over-IP distribution to full automated control. We’re inspired by the mentality of the Swiss Army Knife—it’s the ultimate single product.
In the long term, we want to transform and fix the commercial industry by changing the typology of AV, showing there is a more effective way to accomplish favorable end results, and how we perceive things in the AV industry. We want to better protect integrators’ margins with products that are not sold online, with multiple price points, to just any end user or dealer. At the end of the day, this will also help end users receive better goods and services by authorized Aurora dealers.
SCN: What is the greatest challenge that you face?
PH: The greatest challenge we face is one that has proliferated the industry—the “me-too” product. Aurora specifically invents and manufacturers its own products that we know make a difference; we want to show there are better and different ways to achieve successful results. There are many companies that do not make their own products and flood the market with low-cost, low-quality products. This hurts the AV industry as a whole.
SCN: Where do you see your market heading?
PH: My vision is a market where AV over IP eventually dominates. 10G AV over IP will be the future of audiovisual for years to come and once application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) versions of this technology are made available, the prices will fall further and capabilities will expand.
SCN: Are there new initiatives we are likely to see from Aurora as you celebrate its 20th anniversary?
PH: Aurora and its employees are always developing products to help the AV industry as a whole, and have done for the last 20 years. We have some surprises that will be released at InfoComm 2018, and once again will demonstrate new methodologies for the AV community that will create positive change for IP control, AV over IP, and HDBaseT.
SCN: How can systems contractors better position themselves to profit from products and/or services you have to offer?
PH: Aurora offers registration programs for system contractors to assist with bid projects. Our company does not sell through distribution in the USA or online, unless it is listed at MSRP—Aurora only sells to authorized Aurora dealers. Our latest products make serviceability easier, and limit the amount of inventory required, thereby increasing profitability. Aurora proves you do not need to be a company with 500 different products to accomplish what is typically required for a project.
Megan A. Dutta puts her passion for the audiovisual industry on the pages as editor of SCN. She can be reached on Twitter @MeganADutta.