I continue my conversation with Keith Vanderkley of Amina Technologies as we discuss Amina’s North American infrastructure and their growth plans for 2020. Part 2 here.
Maureen Jenson: So Keith, tell us what your dealers are saying?
Keith Vanderkley: From Hollywood film producers to music producers, movie stars to Broadway stars, to the most stylish homes, there are always those installations that stand out because Amina provided a solution where no other speaker could. Especially where acoustic performance, concealment, space and protection from elements are key factors.
In addition to familiar whole-house installations like dining, kitchen, living rooms, video game, and hidden home theater rooms, a new trend has emerged. Personal wellness rooms with video or projection walls, where our dealers can immerse the client in a complete virtual world of sight and sound, or put them next to their virtual personal trainer; this makes the most of our speakers. On the commercial side, the speakers are used in décor-chic retail stores, bars and restaurants, as well as houses of worship and classrooms.
Because once installed, covered, and sealed in their own environment, the speakers are impervious to moisture and corrosive elements, we see them used in exterior swimming pools and lanais (into walls and pillars) and even cruise ships and yachts. One unique installation that comes to mind is the home of a TV host living off the coast of Florida where the speakers are embedded in Cypress ceiling planks throughout the house and the eaves outside, providing a completely immersed soundfield both inside and outside the home.
MJ: Tell our readers about your newly setup infrastructure in North America?
KV: Amina entered the North American market in 2004. I joined in 2006 as Worldwide VP of Engineering Technologies and VP of Sales for the Americas.
My background is in professional audio and engineering. Since coming on-board I have been working with integrators and rep firms to steadily build a solid business. I’m based in Toronto and travel North America extensively.
In 2013, Amina’s products became exclusively distributed through Triad Speakers, which in 2017 was acquired by Control4. Last year, following a seamless transition from Control4, we began managing our own distribution in North America.
We set up Amina America, putting in place infrastructure, inventory, fulfillment and customer support from within a facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and appointed an independent manufacturer sales representative network.
We felt that this new approach, with a deeper direct presence, was the best way for us to effectively serve and grow our North American business. Our focus is to develop and maintain partnerships with dealers as we fully recognize and value the skill sets they bring to the table. As our installation partners, they are an integral part of our final product’s performance, and by listening to their experiences, they become active participants in our product development.
MJ: What are your growth plans going forward and any new products for 2020?
KV: Conventional wisdom dictates that “growth” is measured by the bottom line, and how many dealers you have gained who subscribe to your products. That’s always good to keep an eye on, but in order for a “bottom line” to grow, you don’t necessarily need to grow the number of dealers, but rather concentrate on working with those that are making a living with your product to actually meet the needs that they identify. That could be new product, but also product improvements to better address their installation methods, all the time listening to them for new product ideas.
This year we introduced our own amplifier to a test market. We would love to have a series of amplifiers that are optimized for our speakers, not necessarily to EQ them any better, but specifically to provide the best possible protection so there would be a choice of an external analog protection circuit, or a DSP driven solution that provides a totally optimized solution and ultimate power protection.
M7i rear view
As for new speaker product, we will always continue to strive to do even better, louder, cleaner and quicker to install. Case in point, the Excelsior II exciters we recently completed development of and which are central to the new I series of products. Cambridgeshire, UK, being at the heart of the Audiophile capitol of the world, brings high expectations to everyone. Arcam, Mission, Celestian, Quad and Meridian are just a few companies that have their roots deep in the Cambridge soil, providing some of the best speaker developers in the country, if not the world.
I don’t think we have ever failed in our dealers’ expectations in terms of the quality of our products, and we strive to go even further. This coming CEDIA 2020 we shall be at the very front of the show, booth 4000, doubling our previous show space and I am certain that what we will be showing will yet again be a first to the market for a number of new and innovative products. I suggest you mark your CEDIA EXPO calendar to visit Amina at booth 4000!