The Holiday shopping season is looking bleak.

November 12, 2009

The economy crisis will be affecting all aspects of holiday shopping this year.  Sales and coupons will be consumer’s biggest buys while regular priced items may collect dust on the shelves.  People have even voiced that second hand shops for close friends and family will not be out of the question to buying gifts.  Last year’s holiday decorations will be dusted off and reused before the purchase of new ones. 

People will be more opt to buying practical gifts such as clothing and necessities rather than toys and novelty items.  If people are creative that will give them even more options to make gifts this year.  Homemade calendars with pictures printed right from your computer would make a great thoughtful gift.  Joint gifts and secret Santa’s will probably be more popular this year as well.  A ConsumerReports survey on 1,000 adults said that two-thirds of the U.S. plan to spend less this year and that 6 percent are still paying of last year’s holiday debt. 

Some stores have already began trying to make sure that the smaller percent of people who will be shopping, shop at their stores by making sure they market themselves perfectly. has begun their free shipping promotion two weeks earlier this year and also has expanded the number of items available for free shipping.  Some stores who have been already affected by last year’s lack of holiday spending might not have the funds to do as much advertising as the bigger stores. 

Barry Judge the chief marketing director of Best Buy has began targeting young consumers this holiday season.  By placing ads on Twitter and Facebook.  By using these social media networks Best Buy can focus on the younger consumers and that is where they are, not looking in the newspaper.  

The key to financially effective shopping this year is to start the season with a budget and a list.  Start with your budget first, how much realistically can you spend this season.  When doing so remember mostly everyone will be cutting back this season.  Then make a list and next to each name and write the amount you want to spend on each person.  Be creative and talk with siblings about secret Santa’s so you only need to buy for one family member than all five.  Try to use cash unless you know factually you can pay your credit card off after each purchase.  Holiday shopping shouldn’t put you in debt it should be fun!

By Kate Kiselka

Control4 Receives $17.3 MM to Fund SmartGrid Initiatives

July 8, 2009

This morning, Control4, a leading provider of affordable, IP-based home control and entertainment systems, announced that the company had received $17.3 million in new funding to accelerate the company’s efforts in the AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) category. As more and more homeowners and utility companies recognize the importance of real-time monitoring and management of energy usage, the support of new and existing investors is a proof-point to the group’s commitment to the AMI category.

This $17.3 million in funding comes from our investors, Best Buy Capital, Foundation Capital, Frazier Technology Ventures, Mercato Partners, Thomas Weisel Venture Partners, University Venture Fund and vSpring Capital.
As you may know, AMI is an advanced metering system that enables Smart Grid technology initiatives. AMI-enabled electric meters will allow utility companies to monitor electricity delivery to each customer, giving them the ability to power and control high-tech residential devices.
Control4, with their AMI efforts, is striving to bring easy and affordable solutions to the home that translate to real value for consumers. Control4 will integrate its products with ZigBee, a wireless standard for energy efficiency, to let customers manage power usage. This solution will allow homeowners to be in control of their energy usage as they are able to program their thermostat, lights, spa or pool, sprinklers and other connected devices. The in-home system can provide alerts so the user can remotely make changes. The end result: Homeowners save on their utility bills.  
For complete funding details, please click here.