Andrew Online

Andrew Online

Taking the Time to Get it Right

By Andrew Edwards

You don’t always have all the products you want, when you want them. I’ve had to learn to live with that fact. It takes time to design and engineer products, and as those products become more complex the time required to develop them lengthens. As a manufacturer, you’re always faced with the challenge of deciding when a product is ready for market. Should you continue making improvements or is the product ready for prime time? Sometimes continued engineering effort can make the difference in whether a product works some of the time, most of the time or all of the time. At Extron we have always taken the conservative approach.

The challenge becomes greater when there is competitive product being marketed as the one solution for everything, and it’s shipping. In that situation, you know that there will be sales lost, because some customers will take the gamble and try the product. Some are making the decision because they have to, some because they are excited at the prospect of new technology.

The industry is undergoing a transition to digital. We are faced with interfacing to new video, audio and data formats which come and go seemingly overnight. DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, Light Peak, Thunderbolt to name a few. The classic marketing tactic at a time like this is to turn on the FUD – Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt. Tell everyone how the world’s falling apart, disaster looms on the horizon, or analog sunset if you prefer. But wait! There’s hope, there IS a solution! And it’s only available from….

You get the point. It’s a sales & marketing game, and it sells products. At least it does in the short term. What happens over the long term depends on how easy or difficult the product is to install and how the product performs and how the competition responds.

Extron has never been sales & marketing focused. We’re engineering driven and we’ve stayed focused on developing products. While others may have been faster to market, they also released products in a condition that would not be acceptable for an Extron product. In many cases they have chosen to make unprepared beta testers out of their resellers and end-user customers.

Our SMX and DXP Digital Video switchers have enjoyed tremendous success. With thousands of units now in the field they have proven to be rock solid in their performance. They are easy and quick to setup. If you haven’t seen our Out of the Box videos, I encourage you to check them out at Senior Applications Engineer, Chris Bach sets up an HDCP compliant system using our DXP switcher in under 15 minutes start to finish. No “smoke and mirrors”, the entire video is shot in one take.

Our new XTP CrossPoint Systems introduced at InfoComm were designed with this same attention to detail and consistency. It’s a well thought out product that you will find easier to set up, higher-performing, and with SpeedSwitch technology, your switching speed is only limited by the capabilities of your display.

Many customers I speak to have been clamoring for us to release a product like the XTP, given all of the grief and frustration they’ve had implementing other digital products. We could have rushed to market with a product equivalent to theirs, but remember, at Extron I have a Satisfaction Guarantee that applies to ALL customers and products, not just the ideal scenarios. Sometimes it’s better to forego an immediate sale if it means that you hang on to your credibility. Extron may miss a sale or two, but I sleep better knowing that we’re doing the right thing for our customers.

Despite the marketing hype, we’ve been told that installing digital media systems hasn’t been easy. However, at times like this you’ll find that Extron’s approach is to be honest and straight, and to deliver products that you can count on. After all, we sell products, not fear, and I’ll put Extron’s “Service, Support & Solutions” up against their “Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt” anytime.

If you have any comments, I would like to hear your thoughts. Email me at


Andrew C. Edwards
President, Extron Electronics

Read more Andrew Online articles in our archive