Getting automated with Sight & Sound Systems
Technology may be core to the region’s economy, but at the end of the day many local business leaders are also concerned with being able to watch the game in a home theater or listen to music in with a perfectly attuned surround sound.
Sight and Sound Systems of Dulles has been in operation for 19 years, allowing them to transition from the 200 lb. Zenith TVs requiring exact alignment to complete automation solutions with custom built controls for mobile phones or tablets.
Originally founded in western Fairfax by Kris Kaymanesh, the company now operates from a showroom in Loudoun County off in the growing area near Route 606 near Dulles Airport.
Today, the Kaymanesh’s son Naveed serves as AV programmer for the company, helping with installations that allow security systems to be monitored by iPad or creating custom-designed remotes branded with corporate logos or a family crest.
Given the complexity of the operation and the variety of new products being offered, Naveed Kaymanesh spends approximately 10 percent of his time in training with their manufacturers.
Now split between home and business-based customers, Sight and Sound installs battery-powered electronic shades to a recent installation that allowed a customer to check on his dogs by video while at work.
One new popular offering is one that allows clients to answer the door by Skype so visitors never know if you’re home or not.
The people of Northern Virginia are certainly house-proud, and justifiably so. And while technology can seem “one size fits all,” Sight and Sound works with customers to determine what their ideal situation is – whether it truly is the dedicated home theater (two very impressive examples are at their showroom) designed to make you feel like you’re at the box office or whether it’s integrating an entertainment and sound system (with automated artsceen cover for the TV) into a more multipurpose room.
Bust and boom
The company’s long history has allowed them to blossom with the region. However, they also saw the same economic problems as the rest of the region during the recession.
At one point a heavy majority of their business was tied to installations in new houses. Kris Kaymanesh admits he was among those caught flat-footed with the housing bubble burst.
“We thought we were invincible,” he says, adding that reacting to the problem eventually helped the company.
“We diversified. We now do commercial. We do government, and we quickly strengthened our existing market. All of these combined – and having a strong staff – allowed us to weather the storm.”
Kris Kaymanesh speaks with a certain pride when he shares that even at the height of recession his company never had resort to layoffs. In an industry known for high turnover, Kaymanesh is proud of the long tenure many of his staffers have achieved.
Poser highlighted this as well, saying that the company receives so many referrals because of the staff’s diligence on projects. “Even if there was a problem, the staff were so diligent in getting it fixed that it was still a positive experience.”
The extra-large houses of Northern Virginia did provide another opportunity for sight and sound as Naveed Kaymanesh noted that quite a bit of their work has been in building an integrated network infrastructure in homes too large to be serviced by a single wireless box.
Because advancing technology has merged home entertainment with networking and automation, Sight and Sound has capitalized on their new expertise with an expanded range of products.
“We try to be at the forefront of the industry and we’re constantly looking for products that can differentiate us. One of the new products we’re very excited about that has nothing to do with audio and visual at all is a product called the automatic water shutoff valve,” said Kris Kaymanesh.
The second most costly type of insurance claim, anyone who’s had to deal with water damage and flooding knows what an impact it can be.
This new product involves an automated shutoff valve at the water pipe and moisture sensor in different areas of the house. If flooding occurs and the sensors detect moisture, it automatically trips the water pipe, communicates to the monitoring company and sends a text to the homeowner notifying them of the problem – using the same type of automated systems Sight and Sound use for security monitoring.
Sight and Sound recently completed a major project for Cana Vineyards and Winery in Middleburg, installing video and audio – along with automation and security. The two companies later collaborated to produce a “Taste of Technology” event in April.
According to Kris Kaymanesh, the Internet has been both a blessing and a challenge. They’ve adopted a wide breadth of new products, but still must compete with big box stores and Internet offers.
“It has brought information to people’s fingers, but has sometimes led customers online. We had to differentiate ourselves by being custom, customer-service oriented. We’re a lifestyle solution, he continued.
According to Poser, they often deal with customers who’ve tried to do it themselves or have worked with another business that wasn’t an authorized vendor for the product.
“We give you a final solution,” says Poser, who says that part of what they pride themselves on is the consultation and design process.
“People are smart. They discover if you are not being sincere and they second they discover it they’re going to start shopping elsewhere.”
Your house has a patch?
Some homeowners may be wary of integrating technology into their home when the tech is changing so fast. Not to worry.
As Naveed Kaymanesh explains, your purchase is for the hardware and it’s being updated regularly through your Internet connection.
You’ll have updates for the controller application on your tablet or mobile phone, but they’ve yet to have a reported client problem of the home technology losing its connection because an update wasn’t installed.
And according to Sight and Sound Systems, most of their offerings are now platform neutral.
“For smartphones, the industry is so neck-and-neck. Originally, it was easier to install an Apple system, but nowadays it doesn’t matter. They have applications for both Android and Apple,” said Kaymanesh.
This article was originally published in the Spring edition, 2013 edition of the Loudoun Business Journal.
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