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TOM MILLER, MUSICAR NORTHWEST, PORTLAND, ORE.


24 years in the industry


I deliver: “Nowadays, what we as after- market 12-volt specialists are able to offer to the consumer is not that different from what the carmakers can offer: Navigation systems, Rear seat DVD entertainment systems, Bluetooth Handsfree and Audio Streaming, iPod/MP3 integration, and safe- ty systems (such as Reverse-Aid Cameras, parking sensors, collision avoidance sys- tems, etc.) Most manufacturers nowadays are offering these features as available options. The difference is that we can offer these features in an “a la carte” format. The carmaker, on the other hand, normally ties these features into a package that may have features that the consumer is not interested in and/or is not interested in paying for. This is certainly understandable, as building only the desired features into cars on a case-by-case basis would require a custom build per order and would result in a price that is not accessible to the majority of car buyers. Our other advantage as specialists is our ability to provide custom solutions for customers that are not available as factory or dealer installed options. This may mean a custom audio system, radar and laser defense systems, remote starters, etc. Unlike the carmaker, we are able to interface directly with the car buyer during (or im- mediately following) the vehicle purchase, providing solutions that are custom-tai- lored to their needs and desires. Although many consumers simply see their car as a utilitarian tool, many are still passionate about the car they drive and want to be able to make it their own. But the biggest advantage that the specialist has is scale. Because we are able to provide custom solutions immediately, we are able to utilize the latest available technologies. And we can do this instantly, unlike the carmaker who would need to wait until the end of the life cycle of a vehicle before being able to incorporate the latest technology. Often, by the time the tech shows up in the show- room, it is already nearing obsolescence.”


My skill: “My partner Ken Ward likes to call us “systems integrators.” This really is a more accurate description of what we do than “Installer” or “Technician.” We bring together system components (often from varying manufacturers), combine them into a whole, and seamlessly integrate that system into the vehicle. More than simply making sure that the electronic compo- nents work together, we are also skilled in many forms of fabrication to ensure that the


30 Mobile Electronics December 2013


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