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Wipliance’s Steps to Success: Happy Hour, Tech Evenings, YouTube Videos (CEPro June Cover Story)

With more than 30 special events under its belt cultivating relationships and sales; a YouTube channel with pro-quality videos to fuel marketing; and a second location 1,400 miles away, integrator of the year Wipliance stays very busy.

CEPRO Magazine 
June 2019 Cover Story

When Lee Travis, owner of Seattle-area integration firm Wipliance, explains what makes his company special, he mentions not the topnotch technology that’s offered or the high caliber of installations completed — although both are stellar — but rather how his company is constantly changing and evolving to build and expand its business.

In just over a decade the company has developed some serious marketing chops and a bold business strategy — both of which have helped it land many industry accolades, not to mention some impressive sales stats.

Recently honored by the Consumer Technology Association and CE Pro as the 2019 TechHome Mark of Excellence Integrator of the Year, Wipliance recorded annual revenue of $5.6 million from 151 custom installs last year. It is also one of the most efficient systems integration businesses in the industry, producing $230,000 in revenue per employee from a staff of 20.

The 13-year-old company has never been one to rest on its laurels, though. Ever innovative in its marketing approaches and stalwart in its business practices, Wipliance thrives on its willingness and ability to tackle new challenges. It’s a commitment that has created clear-cut differentiation from the competition and helped build a glowing reputation among customers, vendors and business partners.

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Integrator Spotlight: Lee Travis, Wipliance

Your business was founded in 2006. What is the origin of your business name? What did you do before were you in custom integration? Talk about how you got interested in doing this work – and as you gained experience, what it was that you felt you were able to offer clients that was unique in the field.

Lee Travis: The name stands for “wireless appliance.” Years before I had the company, I felt that in future we’d have so many more wireless devices. And we’re not in the white goods business, but if you take the word “appliances” and drop off the app and put a “wi” there, that’s how you get the name.

I got into the car audio business first. I attend the Consumer Electronics Shows and at my 33rd CES this year, we won the Integrator of the Year Award. I loved car audio, but that industry began to change, and it was becoming a little more homogenized. OEM was developing better systems and cell phones were getting down into the free range – when we used to pay five grand for a cell phone, and the average cell phone bill was $1,500. As the car audio business waned, we started to do some home systems – people would ask us to do theaters, with those big CRT projectors. Eventually, I made a full move over to home and commercial, adding in other things builders wanted us to do, such as the communications and security wiring. They wanted us to cover all of the low-voltage category.

 

Obot Electric and Obot Energy, appear on your website as corollary businesses for your installation operation. Why did you develop these service offerings? And what are the advantages to being a one-stop shop - providing “end-to-end solutions,” as you say on your web site - for clients, relating to these corollary disciplines?

“Obot” stands for “on budget, on time.” What would happen is, when we’d go to install a home theater for someone, and we’d need power for a projector or for a TV and power for lighting control and shading as well. We would usually sub that work out to electricians, but often, they would prioritize their work over ours. We’d have a Lutron lighting control job set up to do on a Tuesday, and the electrician was supposed to be there and couldn’t show up till Friday. So I wanted to be able to control the whole customer experience, to make sure we could deliver the system [in a timely way] to our clients.

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Fine Tuning Automation

Fast-growing Bellevue firm Wipliance believes in first taking care of its own

Lyn McKay for 425 Business 
May 22, 2019

With Internet of Things technology powering a growing number of devices in buildings, real-time updates from cloud-stored data becoming the daily norm, and remote management now at consumer fingertips, the idea of personalized building automation has taken on a life of its own.

“We used to spend the majority of our time installing high-end audio/visual systems, but now we install everything from climate control to lighting, window treatments, security, and more, into living and work spaces,” said Lee Travis, owner of Wipliance LLC.

Travis launched Wipliance in 2006 and operates the Bellevue headquarters location; a second location in Scottsdale, Arizona; and an electrical-contracting company. In total, his combined workforce is now 30 strong.

Today, the company supports residential installs, as well as notable commercial building projects such as the new SPIRE luxury condominium tower in downtown Seattle. Other commercial customers include restaurants and bars, tenant improvement contractors, and companies looking to automate board rooms or other conference spaces.

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Wipliance Named CTA Integrator of the Year for 2019

Bellevue, Wash.-based Wipliance receives 2019 Consumer Technology Association TechHome Division Integrator of the Year Award at CES 2019.

“I have been coming to CES for 33 consecutive years and I was still just as excited to attend the show as I was for the very first time,” said Lee Travis, owner of Wipliance, a Bellevue, Wash.-based custom integration firm as he accepted the Consumer Technology Association’s TechHome Division’s 2018 Integrator of the Year at CES 2019. Travis’ ability to maintain that youthful exuberance for his business and the technology is among the reasons his company was recognized by the CTA.

The CTA Integrator of the Year Award is presented to a custom integration company that has shown proven leadership both inside and outside the industry.

Wipliance is the No. 62 company on the CE Pro 100 with $4.6 million in revenues from 151 custom installs. That equates to $30,464 per install. The company is also one of the most efficient in the industry, producing $230,000 in revenue per employee from its 20 staff persons.

Wipliance offers solutions for audio video and smart automation that are unique to the homeowner and their lifestyle, and easily customizable to add value to the space. The company works with high-end homeowners as well as business owners for retail, restaurants and office spaces.

Based in Bellevue, Wash., Wipliance recently opened a second location in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company is highly engaged in the industry as a member of the CE Pro 100, as well as the Control4 Circle of Excellence for 2018.

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Mark of Excellence Awards Winners Announced at CES 2019

Recognizing the finest achievements in custom installation and the best new custom-installation-targeted products and installations the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) in conjunction with CE Pro magazine announced the winners of the 2019 TechHome Mark of Excellence Awards at CES 2019, Las Vegas.

Presented in an evening ceremony at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, the Mark of Excellence Awards recognize groundbreaking residential custom installation projects performed by professional integrators, as well as consumer technology products and services that are primarily targeted at the custom installation channel.

The 168 entries were judged by an independent panel of industry experts. Winners of these prestigious awards receive exposure via the websites and print publications from the Consumer Technology Association and CE Pro.

Check out all of the entries here


Manufacturer Awards:

Audio Product of the Year: Amplification:
AudioControl CM4-750, AudioControl

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WA: 425.702.8600
AZ: 480.771.5500

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