WiSA and The Value Added Reseller (VAR)

How Can An AV Integrator Make a Living Without Pulling Speaker Wires?

WiSA Wireless Speaker & Audio Associationby Paul Konikowski, CTS-D.
This article was originally published on The WiSA Association Blog 

In a recent HiddenWires article by Jim Venable, President of the WiSA (Wireless Speaker & Audio) Association, he mentioned “the Value-Added Re-seller”, or VAR (pronounced vee – aye – arr).  Also known as home theater installation companies, low-voltage contractors, or residential systems integrators, these VARs add value to the product and the process, by:

  • Designing home theater systems based on the client’s desires and budget
  • Drawing the AV signal flow diagrams and installation details using CAD
  • Acquiring the system components, pretesting them, and storing them safely
  • Delivering the systems to the job site using company vehicles, gas, and labor
  • Pulling the low-voltage (video and speaker) wires through the walls and/or conduits
  • Terminating and testing all connections; configuring the equipment settings so that it is a turn-key solution
  • Training the client on how to properly use the equipment, and how to maintain it
  • Sometimes, the VARs provide on-call system support, and/or semiannual preventative maintenance
  • The VAR becomes the client’s trusted “expert” when its time to upgrade or purchase any additional equipment

Some home theater installers may hear about the WiSA Association, and instinctively ask: Without wires, how can a Value-Added Re-seller make a living selling WiSA compliant speakers?

Notice, “pulling the wires through the walls and/or conduits” was only one of the tasks normally performed by the re-seller.  The re-sellers are still adding value to the product and the process.  They are the still the trusted experts in the field: choosing the right components for the room, delivering the equipment, placing the speakers in optimal locations, configuring the system, training the client how it works.

Now here are some new ways that WiSA-compliant speakers can help the re-seller to add value to the product and process:

  • Offer the customers the ability to upgrade their system over time, from 2.1, to 3.1, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1, 7.2 and so on.
  • Give end-users the option to reconfigure their living rooms for special occasions, or just different furniture.
  • If your customers move to a larger home, they can take their entire investment with them.  They also don’t have to pre-wire their new home.
  • Install high-end surround sound systems into historical rooms with ornate floors, walls, and ceilings which are often “off limits” to contractors.
  • Move the speakers outside for an outdoor movie night.  All you need is some good AC extension cords, a projector, and understanding neighbors.
  • Churches and other houses of worship can host a teen night or family movie night in their hall or basement.  The VAR can provide custom cases or covers for the speakers so they can be stored neatly when not in use.
  • By stocking a few systems from different manufacturers as demo units, the VAR can give the client the option to “test drive” different speaker models before making the final decision of which ones to purchase.

Instead of two installers on a residential job site for a week, a WiSA compliant system can be installed in a day. The customer will still need two guys to hang the big flat-panel TV, and setup the speakers.  Just no more pulling speaker wires.

Now, please raise your hand if you like pulling speaker wires. ….mmhmm…  That’s what I thought.