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Article


“It’s about trying to block out some of the competitors and partnering with someone who treats customers the same way you do.” - Paul Cronin, Atrion senior VP
December 07, 2012 | by D. Craig MacCormack

The concept of A/V-IT convergence has become almost a cliché at this point because it’s been discussed, analyzed and considered so much in the past few years. For Atrion, though, the convergence of A/V and IT has been a way of life for a while.

That belief and early adoption led Atrion to partner with HB Communications more than a decade ago, after company executives realized how much they could help each other and earn new business after talking at a Cisco partners’ conference.

“It became obvious it was easy for our two companies to work together pretty quickly,” says Dana Barron, CEO at HB Communications. “The model is there for other A/V integrators to reach out to IT-centric companies. It’s a good model to emulate, but I’m not surprised it doesn’t happen more often. In a lot of cases, companies can get very protective about sharing information with someone else.

“Our ownership recognizes the value of working together and trust has been established so our sales staff realizes it’s OK to be transparent. There are so many opportunities we bring each other into. We recognize now how we can work together,” says Barron.

Covisia is another long-time Atrion partner. While the managed services provider was acquired by Waltham, Mass.-based All Covered in April, it remains partners with Atrion to this day.

The relationship dates back more than a dozen years, when Atrion senior VP Paul Cronin worked with All Covered director of service delivery Peter Cullivan at Dimension Data. All Covered uses Atrion’s services mainly in its data center and unified communications call center, says Cullivan.


Click image to view photos of Ation’s new 31,000-square-foot headquarters and more.

“They have very clearly defined practices,” he says. “They invest heavily in talent before the sale and make sure the solution is designed properly before the sale. I’ve seen it first-hand and it gives me confidence. You know the solution is going to have success and the engineering talent is going to be put in the right position.”

Atrion and HB have worked on dozens of projects together over the life of their partnership, most notably Atrion’s new 31,000-square-foot headquarters that opened in conjunction with the company’s 25th anniversary earlier this year.

Atrion’s new home has 15 conference rooms all of which are equipped with various levels of state-of-the-art technology, from flat-panel displays with built-in speakers for presentations to integrated videoconference systems. The facility - almost triple the size of Atrion’s old HQ - also has four customized digital signage displays, tailored to clients and/or employees.

In the conference rooms, a Crestron touchpad allows for simple scheduling and building control automation.

The leaders of both companies check in on the partnership every quarter to make sure both sides are still getting what they want from the deal. HB typically garners about a 2-1 revenue split on jobs they work on with Atrion, and Cronin says, “We’re OK with that.”

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About the author

Craig MacCormack is a veteran journalist with more than 15 years experience covering local and national news and sports as well as architecture and engineering. He joined Commercial Integrator in January 2011. Follow him on Twitter: @CraigMacCormack.
View all posts by D. Craig MacCormack
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