Technology is an integral part of our daily lives. We expect a certain level of functionality, but too often we settle for an average experience, especially in our homes. Yet many people don’t realize that one of the top AV integrators in the country is right here in Omaha and has a state-of-the-art showroom anyone can tour to experience the very latest trends in sound, lighting, and AV solutions for both residential and commercial applications: Echo Systems.
When Echo Systems built its showroom three years ago—which features technology solutions for every room in a home—the company wasn’t sure how well the concept would be received. Especially since they had been branded a lighting company for a number of years. But through strong marketing efforts, creating an unparalleled Experience Center, and exceptional customer service, Echo Systems has seen tremendous growth over the past several years. “We’re now recognized as thought leaders in the industry, and people are coming to us to see what’s possible before starting a project,” said Sales Manager Doug Dushan.
The “what’s possible” is the key to Echo Systems’ success. Clients are able to not only learn about what’s possible, but to physically see it in an actual home or office setting. But the tour they’ve designed in the showroom isn’t meant to be intimidating, in fact Dushan said it’s easy for everyone, whether you have technical knowledge or not, to grasp the ideas they present. “Often people walk away with a new way they could light kitchen cabinets, build a bar, or improve the ease and functionality of their TV or speaker system,” he said. “It’s really about thinking outside the box but doing so using readily available products.”
Human centric lighting is one of the newest trends, which is light that adjusts its color temperature to the movement of the sun. It helps employ the body’s natural circadian rhythms so that serotonin is at its maximum level during the day, and then adjusts the color temperature to help produce melatonin that’s needed to promote sleep at night. Echo Systems has a lighting lab in the showroom that uses human centric lighting made by Ketra, which was recently acquired by Lutron, a leader in the lighting industry. Corporations are starting to switch to human centric lighting as a way to improve energy and thus productivity for employees throughout the day.
Many of the technology trends involve aesthetic integration. Today’s busy households need to be fully functional and easy to use. Dushan explained it’s not just about where you want to put your TV, but rather how do you want it to look? “We start out by asking clients what’s important to them,” he said. “Do you listen to music? Watch sports or movies? We only choose products after we understand the answers to those questions. It seems simple, but it’s the exact opposite of what the industry has done in the past and has been a key differentiator for our business.”
Budget is also at the forefront of that conversation, and Dushan said the Experience Center is not meant to make people think they can’t afford the latest trends, but rather to help them think about technology in new ways. “We want people to have dreams for the technology in their homes. If you know you want hidden speakers down the road but can’t afford it now, it’s much easier to put in the wiring up front and add the products later.”
One critical aspect to being technology dependent is having someone who can support it when things go wrong. Dushan would often personally provide service support for many of his clients, fielding calls at night and on weekends. Today, the company has a Network Operations Center in place that provides technical support for all of its clients seven days a week. “We are in the business of making promises, so we need to make sure we’re keeping those promises,” Dushan said. “And that means making sure our clients are always taken care of. We stand behind our service and the products that we use.”
Having made great strides in the residential market, Echo Systems’ commercial division is also growing. One of its notable local projects was for Do Space in which the company was an integral part of the design and implementation of the media and signage solutions. These include the Crestron Control Systems, AV conferencing, and video wall displays. “Do Space is a forward-thinking facility that connects the community and provides a unique experience,” Dushan said. “It mirrors what we do at Echo—providing an innovative technology center with technology at your fingertips.”
With growth comes opportunity, and Echo Systems is in the process of expanding. The company plans to build a similar Experience Center in Kansas City next year to expand its footprint in the Midwest. And the showrooms are proof of concept for Echo Systems, which was recently named the 32nd largest AV integrator in the country by CE Pro Magazine. “People across the country and in the industry can’t believe what we have right here in the Midwest,” Dushan said. He encourages everyone to stop by and at least get a tour. “I love touring people through the showroom. There’s nothing better than sharing the extraordinary with the unsuspecting.”