UCR Grads Making Smart Home Audio a New Standard
By Inland Empire Business Journal staff
We live in an increasing world of connectivity, with platforms by Amazon, Google, Apple, or Microsoft. However, these platforms tend to only work within their own ecosystem, locking consumers into a certain set of products. Vanguard Dynamics’ VAIL Cast, integrates the capabilities of Artificial Intelligence to break these limitations and create a smart home audio interface that is user-friendly to everyone, regardless of what platform they use.
Imagine bringing the ambiance of an upscale restaurant home as you dine over classical music and candles with your guests. Cast your favorite music from any mobile device or laptop to any room. At the end of the day, you tell your home to draw down the shades, lock the doors, and shut off the lights while your favorite songs play in your bedroom. All this, and much more, can only be achieved with VAIL Cast.
Vanguard Dynamics’ goal is to bridge this gap and develop a product that works with every major platform for your convenience. This creates even greater connectivity, allowing everyone to use their favorite products, no matter their platform preference. It acts as a WiFi booster, so the WiFi signal throughout your home improves. By using it with the platform of your choice, it gives you a smart home experience catered to your liking and still allows you to utilize all the capabilities of any smart assistant. Connect VAIL Cast to a TV and any pair of speakers and enhance the sound of your favorite movies, shows, or video games.
Born and raised in the Inland Empire, Alex Chiou is on a mission to make smart home audio a new standard. Chiou founded Vanguard Dynamics in 2011 and has made a profound impact on the audio industry with award-winning and innovative smart home audio products. His current project, VAIL Cast, is a stereo amplifier that amplifies the sound of a smart assistant throughout your home. It connects with all of today’s most popular smart home digital assistants with Chromecast built-in, works with Alexa, Apple Airplay 2, and Microsoft DLNA and it is the only amplifier that works with all platforms simultaneously.
“We’ve been working with home builders around the world for over a decade and VAIL Cast is a game-changer for them because we’re providing an entertainment system that gives their homes high fidelity sound and strong WiFi coverage in every room that is fully universal and future-proof, controllable by any smart device.”
Chiou thought this would be a great opportunity to reconnect with the community of the Inland Empire and has been utilizing resources available by the City of Riverside, such as EPIC, the UCR A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management, Riverside ExCITE, and the Economic Development Department to help his company raise awareness for VAIL Cast. He reached out to both Dr. Ashish Sood, AGSM Associate Professor of Marketing, and the Career Development Center to gather a team of bright and driven UCR MBA students to help commercialize the new product.
Vanguard Dynamics is now working with an entire team of MBA students, including Alex Waskul, Eduardo Tellez, Jamie Linares, Lily Luu, and Randy Pimentel. The team meets regularly to strategize and brings cutting edge ideas they learn in various classes to the company. Each member contributes to the company through their unique skill sets. Lily and Randy help with the creative side of marketing the product, utilizing their superb writing and videographic capabilities to bring the vision of the VAIL Cast to life. Eddie, an audio enthusiast, utilizes his customer experience and public relations skills to increase awareness and facilitate interactions with their brand. Alex W. and Jamie combine their product management experience to ensure the team properly implements strategies, efficiently meets goals, and ensures effective brand management
The team has received continual support and guidance from Dr. Ashish Sood, AGSM Associate Professor of Marketing; the AGSM Career Center; Mai Temraz, Blackstone LaunchPad Entrepreneur-in-Residence; and Steve Massa, City of Riverside Economic Development, to ensure the team has all the insight and expertise needed to become successful.
They are now in the early stages of creating a Kickstarter campaign by generating content, designing reward-tiers for backers, and gaining support from their fellow UCR family in order to spread the word of this new innovative amplifier to become the new standard.
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