Axonix Finds New Home

September 1, 2004
By Jeff O'Heir

Brian Perkins, custom home manager at Sound Track Technologies, a commercial and home systems integrator in Salamanca, N.Y., doesn't install products from manufacturers trying to crack a new market outside of his company's core focus. But he broke that rule with Axonix, a manufacturer of commercial media storage products that released its Mozaex movie/music media server home system last year and plans to unleash an updated version at this month's CEDIA Expo.

It started when a technically savvy client wanted a "future-proof" media storage and distribution system for his new $4 million home. The client found information about Axonix's Mozaex on the Web and compared it to more expensive systems. Although he had "more money than he knows what to do with," Perkins says, the client liked Mozaex for its price and features, mainly its scalable open-standards architecture. Perkins then talked to people who had dealt with Axonix in the commercial market and liked what he heard.

"Axonix has been more than wonderful to work with, really easy," he says. "I can see us selling quite a few of these because we're a full-service company, and the majority of people coming in now want us to deliver a full solution. That's where I see Mozaex as being a big asset to us."

Even though many of his clients are looking to outfit multimillion-dollar homes, Perkins says MediaMax's selling point is its price. While competitors such as AMX's Max and Kaleidescape's DVD Server systems start at about $27,000, Perkins says a comparable Mozaex system comes in at about $14,000, depending on the number of zones and amount of storage space. Once installed, the full solution, he says, yields very profitable margins.

MediaMax's MediaServer has an MSRP of $6,995 and includes a half terabyte of storage, or up to 80 DVDs; the Ethernet MediaDeck, which is needed to play media from each room, has an MSRP of $500. The optional MediaStore storage unit sells for $5,000 per terabyte. Axonix integrator partners receive 40 percent margins on all products and can get an additional 10 percent off on the first system they buy.

Improvements to the next-gen Mozaex system include an increased zone load to 16 rooms from four; FireWire compatibility that allows the system to attach to third-party storage units; and the addition of high-definition component resolution, scalable to 1080i. The improvements are all part of Axonix's mission to provide cost-effective, open-standards solutions that will eventually be affordable to the emerging midmarket, says Doug Kihm, Axonix CTO.

"We wanted to combine the value of a stable appliance with the cost-effectiveness of open standards," says Kihm, adding that the company began in the mid-90s manufacturing CD-ROM and DVD servers for the commercial markets. Axonix combined those two technologies last year to create MediaMax.

"Open standards is the key to bringing down the cost of media-on-demand," Kihm says. "But there will be different tiers. You'll pay more for higher quality systems, a wider selection of chassis, or better hands-on support. But it won't be so simple that the consumer can go to Best Buy, buy a server and extend it to five rooms."

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