I recently spoke with Lauren Simmen, SurgeX Marketing Manager, about CEDIA EXPO 2017, what people still don’t understand about power, and a new year right around the corner.
Maureen Jenson: SurgeX has been serving the power protection needs of the industry for a while now, but what’s new, what’s on the horizon and what was announced at CEDIA?
Lauren Simmen: It has been an exciting time at SurgeX as our most recent launches have included expanding our reliable UPS lineup to now include large format UPS solutions. These new solutions, in addition to our rack mounted UPS line give us the ability to offer our dealers advanced battery backup and isolated transformer technology that is unsurpassed in the channel. We also continue to develop our IP products to offer even more analytics and control over the system’s power.
Continued dealer/integrator education has been and continues to be paramount. Educating dealers on the issues that power anomalies can cause and how to effectively diagnose and mitigate these issues for better overall system performance is so important. A lack of education and overall understanding of power is affecting the systems our dealers install. Through our continued education process, our dealers are seeing increased performance in the systems they are installing.
At CEDIA we showcased a new 30-amp model of our enVision diagnostic tool which can be used prior to, during, or even left onsite post-installation to monitor and identify potentially problematic power conditions that can lead to premature equipment failure or replacement. The new 30-amp model can be used in larger systems and its introduction is in direct response to requests we’ve received from our dealer base.
MJ: Tell us more about what’s next for the ESP and SurgeX brands since the acquisition by AMETEK Electronic Systems Protection a little over a year ago?
LS: One of the most exciting aspects of the acquisition by AMETEK INC. has been the ability to work with other companies within the portfolio. The acquisition has allowed us to delve deeper into other areas, such as UPS technology. The overall breadth of companies within AMETEK is simply amazing and we’re proud to be a new member of that portfolio of solutions. Additionally, we have more opportunity, and ability to invest more into our business. We have been able to enhance our engineering and operations processes, which means we are faster to market and can better deliver customer orders. Additionally, we have increased resources for marketing and product development; this allows us to better serve the needs of the channel more directly.
MJ: What does the industry still not understand about proper power protection?
LS: The ‘basics’ of power is one aspect we continue to educate our customers on. While many believe that the network and control is the foundation of the system, power issues can cause significant problems and render those systems effectively useless. Power is too often an afterthought but the reality is, underlying power issues are the root cause for up to 40 percent of system downtime. Getting integrators comfortable with diagnosing power issues and how to mitigate them is a priority for us. We believe in a strong power foundation that should be fully checked prior to any other systems being installed. We’ve found this approach eases disturbances and reduces service calls due to poor system performance down the road.
MJ: What is SurgeX doing to serve the needs of integrators and installers who are in the field convincing customers power protection is something they need?
LS: One aspect we’re focusing heavily on for our integrators is education on our enVision diagnostics units. These units are designed to monitor, diagnose and provide analytics on how to identify and mitigate potentially harmful power disturbances. The enVision has been developed as a tool for our integrators, who are not electrical engineers by trade, to gain a comfort level in identifying and discussing potential power issues with customers and electricians – prior to the completed install. Our goal is to give our integrators the training and education they need to ensure their power foundation is strong, thus creating an ideal environment for AV equipment.
MJ: There’s been a few personnel announcements out of SurgeX lately, can you tell us more about who’s joined the team and what they bring to the table?
LS: SurgeX has expanded over the last few months. For starters, we hired Kent Dunn as our director of business development. Kent has been charged with helping SurgeX expand our product portfolio and identifying new market potentials. This is the first time SurgeX has had someone in this capacity and we are excited to be able to further develop our product roadmap and offerings in the future. Additionally, I have been asked to take over the marketing for both SurgeX and our sister company ESP. I’ve been in the channel for my entire career, having worked in multiple capacities during my tenure. This has afforded me a great knowledge base and understanding for what our customers need and how to be more effective communicators with our dealers. Finally, we’re pleased that Charlie Jones has rejoined the team as regional manager, sales, for the eastern territories. Charlie previously worked for SurgeX as the southeast regional sales manager and we’re excited he is back!
MJ: Where is power protection headed in 2018?
LS: I think we are going to see more integration with power into other aspects of the install, especially as it pertains to analytics and predictive maintenance. Being able to understand how the systems are performing holistically and reducing the physical touchpoints a dealer has to maintain the system will be key. Dealers are busier than ever and giving them the ability to monitor, manage and mitigate potential issues before the customer even realizes there is one will provide dealers with an ability to increase revenue, decrease downtime and increase overall customer satisfaction.