We recently spoke to Duncan Summers from Sync-box about how the company’s key product was developed and how he feels AV installation is a great opportunity for electricians to add value for their clients and another service to their business offering.
Professional Electrician last looked at Sync-box in 2014, when our tester, Steve Williams,was impressed by the clean and professional ﬁnish the product offered. Since then, founders Duncan Summers and Steve Noyes have continued growing the business, managing to secure £55,000 of investment after appearing on BBC’s Dragons’ Den. We caught up with Duncan to ﬁnd out how Sync-box was conceived and ask if he really believes there is an opportunity for electricians in AV installation.
In the words of the creative team behind the product, what is Sync-box?
Sync-box is a totally unique, recessed power and AV socket, for use when installing wall mounted flat screen televisions. Essentially, it is designed around a standard double socket space using the same module components already being used throughout the globe. Sync-box is recessed by 40mm and has a cover plate which, when in location, has a slender 10mm profile. Therefore, it is now possible to install a new ultra-thin LCD or LED screen with all cables connected professionally and stylishly behind the screen.
“Homes are now a technological minefield of CCTV, home cinema, intelligent lighting, remote heating and multi-room sound systems. This can be very daunting and easy to leave to the ‘AV Professionals’. However, when the barriers are broken down and looked at practically, there is a fantastic opportunity for the sparky to offer extra value to their service.”
How did you and Steve begin working together?
I first met Steve, when he came to my home to install some AV equipment, eight years ago. I was intrigued by the AV business and we became friends. Steve owned an AV business and I was the owner of my own successful business. Steve had a few whacky business ideas which we discussed following
through. However, the AV industry was changing quickly and none more so than flat screen TV. It was becoming impossible to mount a flat screen to the wall professionally. Steve came up with the idea of recessing the cables and connections, which would solve the problem of mounting flat screen TV’s to a wall. We quickly started down the road of designing and prototyping Sync-box!
Why did you decide to go on Dragons’ Den?
After a year of trading, Sync-box was growing quickly. We had sold 2,000 units worldwide with large enquiries coming through from major developers. We have designed and prototyped other products to run with the Sync-box product range and realised we required funding to take Sync-box to the next level. Having approached various investment channels, it was proving to be a long and painful process. I considered applying to Dragons’ Den for investment as I was confident in the product and thought, it can’t be anymore long-winded or painful than the other avenues of investment we had tried!
What was the experience like?
The BBC was just fantastic. The actual day of filming Dragons’ Den was amazing. The format has changed this year as we were interviewed before and after we went into the Den. Despite the hard time we received from the male Dragons, Peter Jones was a true gent. He congratulated us afterwards and had a nice chat with us. It’s a day we will never forget!
What feedback have you had from the industry since?
Since appearing in the Den, the phone and email enquiries have exploded. We have received multiple calls from various distributors, world-wide. We are talking to a large distributor, based in Dubai whom approached us after seeing the show. This is with regard to supplying Sync-box to three brand new Trump Hotels in India and one in Dubai! The AV industry’s reaction has also been fantastic. We have received so many kind words and congratulation messages!
What are your plans for the future?
Initially we are looking to grow the Sync-box product range. This includes a dry wall version (for plaster board walls) and metal cover plates high-end complexes. It is our intention to grow the business to a £5m turnover in three years by gaining a large presence in the US as well as EMEA. We also have other product solution ideas which we would like to take to market.
We are always encouraging our readers to embrace new technology and take their businesses in new directions. Do you think AV installation is a good way to go?
In this ever changing world, it is important to stay one step ahead of the game. Homes are now a technological minefield of CCTV, home cinema, intelligent lighting, remote heating and multi-room sound systems. This can be very daunting and easy to leave to the “AV Professionals”. However, when the barriers are broken down and looked at practically, there is a fantastic opportunity for the sparky to offer extra value to their service. A perfect example of this is Sync-box. Long gone are the days where you would walk into a house and ask “where is the TV point” in the lounge? And it was literally one TV point, in the corner of the lounge! However, studies show that the average household has between five and 10 TV points. Lounge, kitchen, bedrooms, games rooms, etc. Not only are there TV points in most rooms, they are also all wall mounted and eye level in a room.
Sync-box is the new TV point, fitted as standard. It is completely adaptable to any configuration and comes with a beautiful cover plate which can be adapted to any electrical furniture finish. This is a perfect solution for the electrician to complete the wiring and offer a beautiful finished install.