Life Lessons from Jon Edwards, CEO of Sunset Studios

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Sunset Studios delivers hi-tech audio-visual solutions to architects, interior designers, and assorted tech-savvy clients. The pursuit of perfection doesn’t come by accident, or by sheer will,” says Jon Edwards, founder and CEO of Sunset Studios Media Solutions in Los Angeles. “It’s by doing the work over and over until we reach the point of being very, very good at it.” Jon’s passion for technology has seen Sunset Studios develop over 30 years into one of America’s most innovative audio-visual (AV) companies. Its work ranges from high-end custom residential AV systems and home automation to corporate, studio, retail, hospitality, and healthcare conference facilities. In the early days of Jon’s career he was part of a team introducing CGI to Walt Disney Studios during Hollywood’s transition to digital. This is when he first harnessed his love of tech — and the efficiencies and improvements it can offer — to an understanding of the importance of customer service. “I saw how tech innovation was changing everything,” says Jon. “Animation was a snapshot of a tech-innovation moment,and we’ve really seen the pace accelerate since then. Working in technology, it is important that I learned to recognize the client’s vision. And that’s what my company is all about: adapting technology and lifestyles to achieve a client’s desire for more simplicity, more time with their family, or more productivity in their work. All of these things dovetail into what we do as systems integrators.”

In the 1990s, the Sunset Studios team began working with leading architecture firms and designers to install a single-user interface for subsystems in residential properties. The umbrella of control involved lighting, environment, surveillance, and background music — but predated the arrival of the internet. “We were talking to architects and designers about this coming transition,” says Jon, “and just grew our resource and referral base through our work with design centres in LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, and Houston.”

The technology has moved on substantially since then, although, while there is generally greater awareness of what can be achieved, some confusion over how it can be done remains. “People often assume that they don’t need wiring,” says Jon, “because everything is wireless these days. But you’re not going to have a robust wireless network unless you’ve got a solid, wired backbone.” The key to achieving those client aims has always been the user interface. “That’s what we really brought to the table at the design centers,” says Jon. “For us, the key to the pursuit of perfection is making it simple: it’s got to be straightforward and one-button-friendly. As a boutique, hi-tech design firm, we focus on the level of clientele we have and the service we provide rather than on increasing volume.” With the growth of Collaboration Room technology and the advent of Direct View LED Video Walls and digital surround sound, the future of immersive entertainment continues to excite Jon. “The advent of AI and AR may again shift our lives even more fundamentally than the internet,” he says. “Think self-driving car collaboration rooms or gyms. We’re at the fulcrum of implementing tech innovation, working within the spheres of the owner’s vision and the ambition of architects and interior designers. But our aim will always be to use technology to bring our clients’ ideas to life.”

In my interview with Jon Edwards, I started with

What inspired you to produce this upcoming short film with your wife?

Marina Edwards, Director of “My Love in the Sky”

When my wife shared with me her idea to shoot a film about an American veteran who comes back from Iraq wounded and struggles adjusting to civilian life, I immediately agreed to dedicate my time and energy for her support. I knew it’s a very difficult subject, but coming from the military family (my dad was in WWII) I hundred percent believed it’s necessary to bring awareness to our society about our veterans, to show that we deeply appreciate what they have done for us.

We feel that we know what trauma is, we live with so much around us every day. Yet for any of us to believe for a moment we understand what a veteran has been through, particularly during conflicts and war is frankly another level. But, our film “My Love in the Sky” is not about war, it’s about Love and Hope.

What is your overall Vision 5 years from today?

Many years I was thinking how to achieve success, receive more benefits from my work, but honestly, after being involved in creating a movie about our veterans, hearing many their dramatic stories and realizing how much we still should do for these people, I shifted my focus and now try to build my business in a way to be able to help others who need our support.

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