Tell us about iRoom and it’s background.
iRoom was founded in 2008 by the current CEO Marc Hofer. Marc’s original business was Custom Installation, based near Salzburg Austria. This region of Europe is well known for its design and engineering superiority. When the original iPad was released it was immediately recognized as the future of automation interfaces. For the money there’s no way to beat the iPad as a control interface. The Austrians saw an opportunity to use their CI and Electrical knowledge to build cool solutions for Docking. We started the U.S. operation one year ago. This was done to make it quick and easy to service our North American customers.
What makes iRoom’s iDock different from the other iPad Docks on the market?
European styling. We design, engineer and build everything in Austria. This ensures high quality appearance, fit & finish and quality across the line.
We are an in-wall solution. Many are on-wall.
Motorization. With the touch of a button the iPad is motorized out of the Dock so that it can be used around the space. When finished, the user returns the iPad to the Dock where it can be found later, fully charged. Our motorized Docks are very cool, tons of fun and serve a huge function.
Security. With the prospect of removing the iPad comes the possibility that the iPad can be stolen. At iRoom we feature three different methods of securing the iPad in the Dock. The most popular is touch code security. A four-digit code must be entered to open the Dock. This is great for high-traffic areas, public places and Commercial applications.
How do you keep up with Apple’s constant changes to the iPad?
iRoom is primarily focused on Docking iPads. Our Engineers follow the rumors and pretty-much have new products ready to go when Apple makes its announcement. We wait in line all night to buy our samples and immediately get to work. We were first to market with Lightning, the iPad Mini and iPad Air. Modular Kits are available for upgrading / downgrading whenever possible.
We’ve also started building solutions for Android. We currently offer a solution in our fixDock line for Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. Next month at ISE we will release the Galaxy Tab 3 fixDock. Keeping up with Samsung is even more difficult than Apple, as new products are typically launched twice per year rather than once.
Tell us a bit about what is required for installation of the iDock. Is it Retro-fit? What wiring is required?
For wiring, power is the only requirement. Integrators can power our Docks with either hardwired AC or POE. Typically, our customers run cat5 and provide power with a standalone Injector. We also feature an audio output on the iDock line so that the iPad can be used as an audio source. We output analog or digital audio, depending on the iPad. Additionally, our iDock line can be locked / unlocked by contact closure. With an extra two conductor wire and some programming on your control system, security can be achieved at no extra cost.
The only required accessory is the installation box. It can be installed in new construction or retrofit. The installation box provides a solid surface for the iDock to be mounted and protects the electronics on the backside.
Is this something an end user can do or does it require a professional?
A professional is highly recommended. There is knowledge, skill and certification required to cut holes in walls, pull wires to those holes and provide a sufficient wi-fi signal for communication. We do business through a network of Dealers that meet all of these qualifications.
Do you have some examples of how people are using the iDock? Audio, Home Automation control etc.
Whether it’s App driven or Big Control, the majority of our customers are controlling automation systems in homes, offices and retail spaces. Our motorized Docks with touch code security are very popular in Conference Rooms. The Dock secures the iPad until the four-digit code is entered. When released the iPad can be used in the room as the main interface for all audio, video, lighting and shading functions. When the iPad is returned to the Dock it’s secure and charged for the next meeting.
Additionally, our products are being used on custom motor coaches and yachts. The benefit is the ability to use the iPad in the space whenever and wherever you like. We’ve even worked with recording studios that mount our iDock into the recording desk! Engineers love the ability to come to the studio with their work loaded onto the iPad and ready to go.
What’s new or upcoming?
We’ve just started shipping our iDock Air for the iPad Air. There will be many iDock Air models being released over the coming weeks. Next up are two new iPad Mini solutions. We’ve got a motorized miniDock and a fixDock for both generations of the mini coming in February. iPad mini has become a favored interface for so many Integrators and end-users out there. We are very excited about our new line of Installation Boxes. Not only will they allow the iDock to be completely flush-mounted in the wall, they will have huge appeal to Interior Designers. The new boxes will be framed with either brushed aluminum or black. A very thin strip of frame will be exposed around the Dock. Integrators can mix and match black or white Dock bezels with brushed aluminum or black frames. It’s a unique look that belongs in high-end homes, offices and Commercial spaces. We also have a completely different product coming called uniDock. uniDock is an on-wall phone charger. It takes the place of an AC adaptor with the cord. This will appeal to bars, restaurants and hotels. Affluent home owners will love it too.
Where can our readers purchase iRoom products?
iRoom does business through a network of Dealers directly in the U.S. & Mexico. Canada is managed by Techni-Contact. Dealership inquiries are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
About Chris Lehnen, President of i-Room USA
Chris Lehnen runs all aspects of the North American division at iRoom Inc. Chris previously worked for Jeremy Burkhardt at SpeakerCraft, as National Sales Manager and Director of International Sales. He lives and works in Huntington Beach, CA