Man, I just got caught up on this monster... Have to say, there are some great points (from both perspectives) if perhaps over-dramatized a bit. 🙂
But, I really think knowitall and blub made some points worth repeating.
The statement above is *mostly* the cold harsh truth, except for one glaring omission to choppedogg88's point later in the thread... They still own the best PRODUCT for merging everything together into one user friendly system. So, while the "business" is currently running away from them. The PRODUCT needs to be better marketed and flipped to at least some level of more mass-market adoption in order for any company in the space to succeed. I have had my system for about 3 years now... My friends and family are constantly blown away with the features it offers, simplicity, etc. But, in 3 whole years (and we have a LOT of company), not a single person we have ever had in our home has heard of Control4 or even knows what it is. That is a MASSIVE problem. I don't necessarily agree that IoT and DIY are exclusively the future, because i think the unique combo of hardware and software is what makes the system more stable than others. But, the efforts on marketing need to be quadrupled at a minimum.
We can argue all day long about whether the dealer model will continue to exist or not, but both sides are speculating. The truth is... there is (and will continue to be) a need for both. The dealers will always have a small market of people that either a. don't want to deal with any of the headaches and just want stuff to work 24/7 or b. Have more money than they know what to do with and just want the latest and greatest anything. Neither of those are going away. But, as a dealer, if you don't want the market to expand to the other 98% who are literally clamoring for better solutions across all their devices, I simply dont know what to tell ya? But, i do know... if you continue to wait and try to force the old model, eventually you will become Blockbuster and the big boys will squash you like a bug once their products catch up and pass you. I went through 3 different local companies before finding this forum (and thereby un-earthing the beauty of the remote dealer). I can't believe that is a coincidence? The service SUCKS out in the local markets. And, the profits and revenue show it. Simple as that. Of course, none of you guys on here emulate that... Because, clearly you care about the end product and the service to customers. That's why you're here is to further service the community. And, we truly do appreciate it.
So, what's the answer? How do I fix it if I am Snap?
Yes, lower prices on hardware, but sustain it with subscription tiers. Basic systems have basic hardware and free software. And, it goes up from there. Cut dealers in on the subscription tiers. Bonuses if x% of your customer base are level 3, for example. Same thing for consumer access. Different tiers have different levels of access.
But, the BIGGER idea (i think) is two-fold. 1. Embrace the model you guys have basically built on here! I guarantee that every dealer would rather work out of their home remotely if they could sustain enough business doing it? The only way that happens is to increase customer volume with better (more attractive) pricing. Those local companies i mentioned wouldn't even show up for less than 150 bucks. Then, each request was + + +. I was lucky to get out of just about anything without it being 300 or more. There should be an ARMY of remote dealers on Control4.com right now. But instead, it's an antiquated 1994 system of locating a local guy and leaving a voicemail, hoping he even calls you back. It's the complete opposite of what a "technology" company should be. If everyone is compensated to get MORE users instead of worrying about stealing ones from other dealers... everyone wins. 2. Focus less on the hardware side and MORE on this notion of being the "glue" that binds everyone together. Google is pissing on Amazon, who is pissing on Apple. Sonos is just off on their own little planet. Etc. etc. Consumers don't give a DAMN about the politics and revenue implications, they just want their stuff to work with other devices as well as humanly possible. C4 does that REALLY well, but back to my point earlier... nobody knows who the eff they are? Focus on being THE solution, and make it your #1 priority.
Bottom line, none of us know the answer as to what's planned. But, I can promise you NOBODY buys another company (especially a fledgling one) to just do "more of the same." Frankly, I'm shocked that notion has been repeatedly mentioned in this thread. You guys are much smarter than that! I spent the last 17 years in the video game industry... Imagine how hard it was to convince publishing executives to give away games on mobile devices for free. But, it was a very similar migration of thought. Sure, for every candy crush there are 600 failures, but C4 is a winner if they put the right pieces in place, and make the right chess moves.
Whatever it is... I hope Snap will move QUICKLY to clearly define and roll out a 1, 3, and 5 year plan. If they don't, sadly the bleeding will just continue.
Sorry for the long-winded rant. But, I'm passionate about the topic. 🙂