New York (September 9, 2019) — Luxury lifestyle brand Bang & Olufsen is pleased to announce several exciting developments in its North American organization, strengthening its position in the monobrand and custom integration channels.
“Our strategy for the coming year is to grow our business in North America,” explains Ulrich Wohn, Managing Director of Bang & Olufsen America. “We will do that by expanding our monobrand retail presence in key cities throughout the Unites States and Canada, and by strengthening our relationships with our custom integration partners.” Over the last three months, Bang & Olufsen has opened new stores in La Jolla and Vancouver. Later this week, the brand will be returning to the annual CEDIA Expo to display a selection of exciting new products and platforms that have special relevance for custom integrators.
Organizational changes to support growth ambition, especially within custom integration
To support this growth ambition, Bang & Olufsen veteran Brian Bjørn Hansen, who currently serves as the company’s Head of Custom Installation and Third-Party Integration, will be moving to New York City and working out of the US headquarters in downtown Manhattan. Hansen will take on a new role as Senior Manager of Retail Business Development for North America, and he will focus in particular on the monobrand and custom integration channels.
“There are few people who understand the custom integration business like Brian,” says Ulrich Wohn. “He combines a deep technical knowledge and with a sharp business acumen, and he is highly regarded by all of our partners in North America. He is also an incredible spokesperson for our brand. He truly understands what makes Bang & Olufsen tick.”
Hansen, who also serves as one of four employee-elected members of Bang & Olufsen’s Board of Directors, believes in the strength of the company’s current product line. “We have a super strong product portfolio,” he says, “which can serve any of our customers’ needs. I want to work closely with our custom integration partners to ensure that all of them are familiar with the amazing capabilities of our products, and also help to grow our network of monobrand stores in the US and Canada. By building a strong network of partners, we will be better able to reach consumers and to share with them the brilliance of Bang & Olufsen.”
Hansen will be joined in New York City by Aaron McCarty, Retail Business Development Manager, who will be relocating from the Chicagoland area. McCarty has nearly 15 years’ experience with Bang & Olufsen, and he will continue in his current role, managing both monobrand and custom integrator accounts in the western United States and Canada.
Home integration part of Bang & Olufsen legacy, with customer experience as guiding star
Founded in 1925 in Northwest Denmark, Bang & Olufsen has long been known for its innovative and progressive product designs. New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) houses 18 Bang & Olufsen products in its permanent collection, and over the last six decades, Bang & Olufsen has collaborated with a host of renowned designers including Jacob Jensen, David Lewis, Torsten Valeur, and Michael Anastassiades. The brand’s ground- breaking approach to design is coupled with a commitment to beautiful sound and unrivaled craftsmanship.
“Not everyone realizes that home automation plays an equally important role in Bang & Olufsen’s history,” says Hansen. In 1982, Bang & Olufsen introduced the world’s first multiroom distributed audio system, which allowed customers to control their centralized audio components from any room in the house. In the years that followed, the capabilities of this system—known as Beolink—increased considerably, including the addition of video distribution and lighting control. And by the late 1980s, customers could control music, video, and lights throughout their entire home with the use of a single Bang & Olufsen remote control.
For several decades, Bang & Olufsen made use of a proprietary infrastructure, and the Beolink system was largely closed to third-party integration. A lot has changed in recent years, and today, Bang & Olufsen products are compatible with all third-party home automation systems. “We have become platform agnostic,” explains Hansen. “We want our customers to experience the magic of Bang & Olufsen using whatever backend system suits them best.”
Hansen’s tenure at Bang & Olufsen began 22 years ago, in August 1997, when he joined the company as a Software Engineer and Developer. His first task was to develop software that enabled VCR integration on the original Beovision Avant, a 32-inch tube TV—Bang & Olufsen’s first widescreen. “Our goal was to enable seamless control of the built-in VCR using Bang & Olufsen’s Beo4 remote, in order to provide our customers with a fully-integrated video solution,” Hansen says.
Much has changed in the way of technology over the last two decades, but Hansen’s objectives have remained largely the same. “Every project I’ve worked on is designed to streamline and simplify the user experience,” he says. “That is how we define luxury at Bang & Olufsen. We place the human experience at center of technology.” To this end, Hansen has developed and maintained relationships with key integration partners including Atlona, Control 4, Crestron, Lutron, and Origin Acoustics. He also oversaw the development and construction of a fully functional, state-of-the-art model home—dubbed “BeoHome”—which was built in 2018 inside Bang & Olufsen’s Innovation Lab in Struer, Denmark. BeoHome has been used variously as a platform for sales, training, and testing integration capabilities.
Bang & Olufsen returns to CEDIA Expo
Bang & Olufsen will be exhibiting at the upcoming CEDIA Expo, September 12 – 14, where it will feature two of its newest products: Beovision Harmony, a 77-inch television experience that combines Bang & Olufsen signature sound with state-of-the-art OLED technology; and Beosound Stage, the brand’s first sound bar. The Bang & Olufsen exhibit will also highlight the brand’s integration capabilities, featuring a fully automated living room that can be controlled by any one of four home automation systems. “Bang & Olufsen is a founding member of CEDIA,” says Hansen, “and we are thrilled be returning this year to show off some our most exciting products ever produced.”