It's sad any time you see a product someone puts years of blood sweat and tears into come to and end. We share the same passion that Dean has for his product in ours and know how hard it must have been to come to his decision. Julie hit the nail on the head in her CEPro editorial. You have to convince the dealers and system integrators that you are a real company with real products. Having a great product is only a small part of the equation. You have to have top notch technical support and bullet proof hardware and software.
Customer service is key and we pride ourselves on our tech support and white glove service. A common idiom is that you have to put in your 10,000 hours to become successful. Everyone here at Cinemar is well beyond their 10,000 hour quota's and there's no slowing down. I think that you can see by our new line of servers and touch screens that we are in it for the long run. Our software is as stable and robust as anything else out there. We are continually moving more and more to an out-of-the-box solution but with the ability to change it if you need to. Some things have been in development for over a year now that will illustrate this.
We are constantly developing new solutions and evolving products. We cater to the DIYer but embrace our system integrators. It's a difficult and demanding line to walk. We try hard. We are not at a point where we need armed guards to help us make deposits, but we can hope. When you speak we listen. Sometimes you don't see the results as quickly as you like but that's a function of hours in the day and squeaky wheels. Don't stop letting us know what you want.
As for CQC and open source. Only time will tell. I'm not sure open source will reduce the complexity of the product without a major overhaul from Dean since he will still have to approve any changes and still have the final say in what stays and goes. One of the biggest obstacles in this business is that there is no one solution when it comes to automating your home. Everyone's home is different with different requirements. You cannot build a one size fits all product. Meaning, try as you must, there will always be a need for customization after you install the software. A dedicated DIYer that is familiar with programming will probably be able to make it work for his home. But there is little probability that it is going to work in mine. So I think the open source route will be a long hard tow. Everything evolves. We'll watch what happens.
While we've taken our fair share of criticism for charging for various plugins rather than following CQC's pricing model, it's a fact of life that there's always new products coming out that require a driver to be developed. Which takes time and money. We recoup those investments by passing the costs onto our customers through our ala carte pricing structure. Cinemar would prefer not to develop drivers and focus more on the core engine (MLServer & MainLobby), but until the industry has a standard protocol across all manufacturers, we are forced to devote resources to driver development. But that's what automation is all about, controlling various devices and software. This is one good reason Cinemar continues to stay profitable and in business. Our dealers are also big helpers in funding many drivers and core modules.
We think CQC's approach vs Cinemar's is a right brain vs. left brain scenario. Different approaches to arriving at a great looking interface that controls everything in the home. While some users find our system easier, others may not agree. We wish Dean the best and perhaps our paths will cross again. Who knows? Maybe someday he'll be on our side of the brain helping us out.
For those who have purchased CQC in the past, we're offering a Competitive Upgrade Program
to transition them to Cinemar at a great price. We understand that Dean was unable to provide refunds for recent purchases, so hopefully this will ease the pain.