Automation pioneer AMX celebrates 30th anniversary

posted on Monday, 25th June 2012 by Steve May

AMX  Home automation 

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AMX is in celebratory mood. This year marks its 30th anniversary in the home automation and control business and the company says it doesn't intend to let the milestone go unrecognised.

President and CEO Rashid Skaf comments: "I know I speak for everyone at AMX when I say how grateful we are of our 30 year legacy. Around the world, award-winning AMX products are installed in hundreds of thousands of installations. I am especially proud of the company AMX has become and the innovations we have fostered over the years. I want to thank our customers, partners, friends and families for supporting our journey and look forward to what lies ahead in the next 30 years."

It all began with a slide projector
The company's origins are modest but predictably born of innovation. In 1982 salesman Scott Miller was determined to find a way use a wireless garage door opener to control his slide projector. It was an idea, he thought, with commercial potential. With wireless control, presenters would have far more freedom to address their audience, he reasoned. According to AMX lore, he built the first run of MX20s and sent them to customers with the proposition: If you like them, pay me for them, if not sent them back.  "I still remember that night in 1982 when my wife and I celebrated the sale of six $200 remote controls for slide projectors," says Miller. "Our first big order; the emotional rush I got from that $1237 deal really got me."

The company grew rapidly over the following decade, thanks to ever more sophisticated technical solutions.  AMX extended its reach from local to international markets, and in November 1995 became publicly traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange for the first time. Acquisitions of AudioEase and PHAST followed, giving it a significant foothold in the residential market for the first time.

The Modero era
The AMX most integrators know today came with the launch of the brand's iconic Modero touchpanels in 2001 (pictured above). That line, spearheaded by future CEO Rashid Skaf, helped revolutionise the custom install market. AMX followed with the roll-out of its Resource Management Suite (RMS), a software solution designed to manage and control a limitless number of resources and services from a single point. Two years later came the NetLinx line - an entirely new control platform comprising integrated controllers, lauded at the time for their processing power and networking functionality. 

In March 2005, AMX caught the eye of the Duchossois Group, a privately held, family-owned company. "When we started looking at AMX, we immediately knew there was something different about this company, something special about the people and the way they designed products," says Robert Fealy, President and COO of The Duchossois Group. "The explosion of digital media and the complexity of integrating various technologies and devices demanded elegant and intuitive solutions, and we were convinced AMX could deliver them. We also knew there was a natural fit between the values of The Duchossois Group and those of AMX. These values always place the customer first. We succeed only when our customer does." Fealy duly joined as chairman of the board of directors of AMX.

The next journey
With the arrival of Rashid Skaf as president and CEO, AMX went on another acquisition spree. Six companies were snapped up between 2006 and 2008: Matrix Audio Designs, AutoPatch, Endeleo, Inspiration Matters, ProCon Technology, and Atrium Group Developments. Suddenly the company found itself with interests and products spanning automation and control, signal and media management, switching, user interfaces and digital signage. Today, the company is focused on innovative IP control multimedia solutions, with products like the Enova DVX and DGX switchers, as well as the world's first panoramic-format line of touch panels, the Modero X Series.

According to Skaf, it's these which symbolise where the company is heading. "We're embarking on a new journey," he says. "Enova is the definition of innovation and early response from customers has exceeded our expectations."

For more on the AMX story visit our partner page here.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology specialist who also writes for T3TechRadarHome Cinema Choice, Trusted Reviews and The Luxe Review.

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