And Peace of Mind
Overlooking Manhattan’s vibrant Union Square Park, Cloud9 Smart was founded by Fernando Zorrilla in 2001, when the former communications executive identified a technological train wreck: Phone system providers were not communicating with phone service providers, and neither were communicating with the cablers that connected them. Everyone suffered because of it, and Zorrilla realized that as offices gained valuable technical components, they operated smoother and more efficiently. Cloud9 Smart was born from this simple realization, the same guiding principal gradually expanding into the residential market, and soon executives from commercial clients wanted Zorrilla and his team to outfit their homes.
And, while the move from commercial to residential environments was in many ways seamless, Zorrilla also knew that, in their homes, people especially crave simplicity. To that end, Cloud9 Smart’s mission is to provide cutting-edge home and office automation solutions that are absolutely easy for the entire family to use. The company values life experience as much as workplace productivity, functional practicality as much as technological sophistication.
But arriving at simplicity often requires the most careful planning and greatest attention to detail. As CE Pro’s founder and longtime editor Julie Jacobson recently reported on a Cloud9 Smart installation, sometimes there’s a lot more to just “hanging a TV.” When a client asked for a 75” Samsung TV to be mounted in his living room—six feet off the ground, four feet from a sidewall, adjacent to a fireplace, in a tricky corner between a window and a brick wall—Cloud9 Smart responded with enthusiasm. Careful planning, the right people, and some outstanding tools, including AudioQuest cables, certainly simplified the process, resulting in a happy client. Mission accomplished.
Identifying disappointments around technology and building solutions to change that experience is a thrill.
Cloud9 Smart’s Director of Marketing and Admin, Jordan Wills, discusses his company’s perspective on technology, the value of a pleasant environment, and the importance of strong relationships. Read the complete interview to learn how AudioQuest brings Cloud9 Smart some much-needed peace of mind.
Being an early adopter sometimes necessitates an ongoing cycle of change, which, while exciting, can detract from the comforts of reliability and consistency. Indeed, there is real value in doing something once and doing it right—especially when it comes to technology for the home.
Wills explains, “In an industry built on the future, we try to remain a little less ‘bleeding edge’ and a little more practical. We don’t want our clients to be the first on the block to have the new technology. We want them to be the first on the block to have it work correctly every time. We’re very meticulous about the products we pick and the methods we use to connect them, because time is our clients’ most valuable asset, and our job is to never waste their time.”
Cloud9 Smart believes that comfort, security, and longevity are fundamental characteristics of a healthy, successful workplace.
“The fact that about 1/3rd of our team has been with us for over a decade makes us feel like we’re building something special,” Wills continues. “Our pride is earned around the customer experience, but our passion is around building a great place for our team to work. Having an engaging and pleasant environment to come into every day makes us feel that we’re skirting the rat race. When a customer ranks us ‘10/10’ after a complicated project, it makes the headaches it took to get there worthwhile.”
In much the same way that Cloud9 Smart was born from its founder’s ability to first identify, then properly address a technological challenge, building solutions that meaningfully improve their customers’ lives is an essential ingredient of Cloud9 Smart’s culture.
“Identifying disappointments around technology and building solutions to change that experience is a thrill,” Wills says. “In a constantly evolving industry, trying to remain agile and predicting its direction is a welcome challenge that keeps us engaged and excited for the future.”
To realize their vision, Cloud9 Smart must be able to foster strong relationships with reliable vendors. The company has been a loyal AudioQuest dealer for many years.
Wills explains, “We believe in using best-in-class products from reputable brands, and, when it comes to cables, AudioQuest is our default solution for our custom installations. We use the Cinnamon and Red River products in our rack installations and balun kits. Additionally, whenever we have local systems, we optimize the level of AudioQuest cables to match the performance of the given components.
We don’t want our clients to be the first on the block to have the new technology. We want them to be the first on the block to have it work correctly every time.
“We have strong relationships with Jim Scatena [AudioQuest’s Director, National Accounts] and Shaun Schuetz [AudioQuest’s VP, Sales]. Whenever we have questions or issues, need to provide feedback, or would simply like to test a product, we just have to ask! AudioQuest makes it easy to do business, and that is incredibly important to us when selecting any vendor for a given category.”
How did the relationship between Cloud9 Smart and AudioQuest begin? And how has it grown over the years?
“When we began to look at utilizing AudioQuest cables in more applications of our installations, our first thought was HDMI cables,” says Wills. “Knowing that the cables would meet a standard of performance, value, and reliability was key to our team and clients alike. We ultimately decided to use the AudioQuest Cinnamon as our de facto HDMI solution on all installations, and today, we utilize AudioQuest cables in multiple places throughout a project.”
Would Cloud9 Smart recommend AudioQuest’s products to other integrators?
“Absolutely,” says Wills. “Cable selection is given short shrift both when designing a system and in troubleshooting it… But sometimes the cable is the culprit of mediocre performance, making it a small but crucial part of any system. We feel it’s very important to know that our cables come from a team that takes performance and durability seriously. AudioQuest removes one wild card from overall system performance and gives peace of mind knowing we have rock-solid support should anything go wrong.”
For more info on Cloud9 Smart’s practical innovations for home integration, visit www.cloud9smart.com, or call (212) 633-2222 to schedule an appointment to visit the showroom at 1 Union Square West, New York, New York. Hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Weekends are for fun.