Review: Habitech product demonstration and showcase centre

posted on Thursday, 5th November 2015 by David Slater

Habitech  Showrooms 

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Habitech has been on an upward trajectory for nearly a decade, so it was only a matter of time before its old facility at Alton started to bulge. The new Basingstoke HQ gives the distributor every opportunity to flex its value-added ethos, as Sales Manager Timmi Thorsen explained when Inside CI joined him and his dealers on a tour of the swanky facility.

“We moved into a shell of a building, which offered us the space to make something really bespoke,” he said, “between a much larger warehouse and mezzanine office space, we’ve created a purpose-built training and demonstration centre, complete with a thirty-seat training room, fifteen seat Dolby Atmos theatre, big open-plan round-table space and listening room. “It allows us the facility to make good on our value-added promise: somewhere to fortify our partnerships with product knowledge and great demos, because seeing is believing.”

As we made our way through, I began to understand his enthusiasm. The cost of building a perfect demo room has always been high - small dealers don’t have the money to invest heavily in all the latest kit - so the perfect solution is to let the distributor do the hard work. By investing in these versatile environments, Habitech is adding value to every relationship – not just those with dealers and integrators, but with their customers as well. If the training facilities are state-of-the-art, the demonstration spaces are equally impressive.

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None more so than the listening room, where dealers and clients can experience the quality of the Sonance architectural ranges, including the high-end invisible speakers – they’re are not cheap to buy and install, but when you hear what they can do their value is obvious. As Timmi confirms: “We’re using this room to explain the worth of our design-led approach; the moment folks see and hear the results, the conversation changes from one about products to an exploration of ‘solutions’, and this is where we need to be.”  

Next to the large glass-clad training room is a Dolby Atmos cinema, priced for the mid-market. It’s fitted with Sonance Cinema Series LCR2s for the front and side channels, with two SUR2 speakers serving the rear channel. In the ceiling is a quartet of SUR-1S speakers and the bass arrives via two SUB-100s and a pair of SUB12-250s. Audio is through a Yamaha 11.2 processor and eleven channel power amplifier. The visuals,  in 2:35:1 ratio, come courtesy of JVC’s DLA-X900R projector through an anamorphic lens to a Projecta Cinema Contour fixed fame screen. The room sounds great and looks fantastic, and at a price point of around £47k to the end user, it eclipsed the performance of many more expensive systems I’ve seen. 

Habitech used its open day to launch the Projecta Custom service, which allows you the ability to customise your screen order by stipulating screen drop, borderless, colour finish for case and slat, motor position, curved and dual format versions. Also unveiled was the ‘Ruckus Unleashed’ Smart Wi-Fi bundle, having all the acknowledged capabilities of the brand but with a substantial saving for residential applications. For added entertainment, the hugely impressive Yamaha YSP5600SW Dolby Atmos soundbar and subwoofer repeated its IFA show debut with a sound that blew me away. The unit comprises a 46-speaker array and fits neatly into a small cinema room, effectively avoiding the clutter of 11 speakers around your walls and ceilings.

I left Habitech deeply impressed. The company has demonstrated its commitment to forming long-standing dealer partnerships by investing a six-figure sum in a training and demo suite of great quality and purpose. The brand has a great name for adding value but this new facility takes the whole shebang to another level. If you’d really like to wow your clients, arrange a visit. If my experience is anything to go by, you’ll not walk away without bagging the job.

For more stories about Habitech and its product portfolio, visit our partner page here.

David Slater

David Slater started his writing career with SVI writing a popular column, he has also guested on publications like Home Cinema Choice and
Living North

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