You might say that Gordon Van Vuiten was ahead of his time. For 12 years he worked as a value added reseller (VAR) who provided service, support and sales to major companies—a corporate IT man for hire. His company had contracts with million dollar corporations and B2B was the place to, well, be. But in 1997, he sold the business and took a step in a direction that seemed risky for a person with a background as a VAR—offering services to the consumer. But today, this transition is making sense to more than just a handful of VARS; they are becoming the newest faces handing consumer electronics to the consumer and bridging the gap between IT and A/V.
Today, Van Vuiten runs CyberManor, a company that installs high-end audio/video systems and data networks in homes. To some, CyberManor may seem like a traditional CEDIA-type installation company, but the heavy background in corporate IT gives them a unique perspective on the business. "Networking and digitization is great because it can get you a leg up on your competitors," says Van Vuiten. "But in and of itself may not always have that much profit associated with it, it just makes you more of a full service integrator."
To some, this comes as no surprise. Business strategies are being changed to welcome this evolved breed of CE reseller. "We really saw this coming a few years ago, [along with] how technologies were integrating," says Dan Schwab, vice president of marketing for D&H Distributing. D&H has been supplying VARs for years, but recognized that products that married CE and IT were fast becoming a reality, and as they began supplying these products, they began seeking out VARs who wanted to sell them to consumers. Today, according to Schwab, nearly one-third of D&H's business caters to this kind of IT reseller.