By Brooke Constance White
Not that long ago, the term “audio-video” or “AV” meant just that: audio and video. Today, the AV industry has evolved into something much bigger: smart homes with entertainment, wellness and sustainability features. In Montana, SAV Digital Environments and owner Cory Reistad are at the forefront of that movement.
It would have been easy to just stick with the audio-video side of the industry, but instead, SAV (originally Studio AV), evolved and grew alongside trends and new technology, adding automation and other streamlined services to their portfolio of capabilities.
When he first started as an “AV guy,” in the early 2000s, Reistad recalls the big ‘wow factor’ trend was to put speakers in multiple rooms.
“Now that’s so commonplace, especially with the advent of new technology and wireless internet,” Reistad says. “Our business has really shifted from that as a primary avenue of business, to wellness and making the network throughout the home as robust as it can be.”
This includes elements such as automated window coverings, lighting and climate control, security and surveillance, air quality systems, off-grid power, commercial grade network, and in conjunction with industry partners, solar and water quality systems. Many of these smart home features are hugely influential on the wellness of the client and their home. For example, an unoccupied home setting that can be activated remotely to close the shades to protect furniture, turn off water pumps, change temperature and turn off lights.
Prior to the pandemic, the wellness world was a kind of kitschy trend, Reistad says. Once people started spending a lot more time in their homes, they began thinking about what quality means to them, whether it was entertainment, aesthetics, or their quality of life.
“A lot of wellness features improve the look and feel of their home, whether that has to do with their HVAC systems, lighting, sustainability—it’s all about how we can get your home to work on its own and not rely on the grid or power systems as much,” Reistad says. “A lot of this focus is on what this home means, not just on a material perspective, but how do I feel inside of it. This is the center of our conversation when we meet with clients.”
Although wellness products are one of their primary focuses now, entertainment systems and audio/visual equipment are still just as important and fundamental to their business. There’s a trend towards wellness but it’s not exclusively one or the other, Reistad explains. It’s more about integrating it all into the home’s system as a single, cohesive experience.
“The same system we put in five years ago now has the ability to tap into an air quality system or the circadian lighting that changes the color of the lighting based on the time of day or what you like,” Reistad says. “We’re the integrator that makes all of this seamless for the client to use.”
Of course, aesthetics is a driving factor in all they do, Reistad says. It’s often about making the technology disappear or blend into the decor so that it functions seamlessly.
“It’s either about aesthetic or invisibility and either way, it’s all about still having fidelity and flexibility,” he says. “Aesthetic means a speaker can make an artistic statement but in an architectural-forward home.”
While aesthetics is a driving factor, SAV doesn’t stop there. They don’t just find something that works or that fits or meets the client’s standards—they always approach a project from all angles to ensure it is the very best it can be and serves a meaningful purpose.
SAV’s mission statement, “Dedicated to the relentless pursuit of enriching our clients’ lives through meaningful technology,” isn’t just a nice phrase, Reistad asserts. Their employees actively live this statement out in their day-to-day work, making sure that each project serves a purpose and far exceeds expectations.
It’s this depth of understanding and breadth of knowledge that makes Bozeman-based SAV stand out from the pack.
Because their systems integrate with so many other systems in the home, Reistad said they have to collaborate with a variety of other trades.
“Our level of knowledge and our diverse skill set, along with the level of execution and follow-through is unparalleled,” he says. “We have a very project management-based approach to what we do because we’re a large, small company but operate more like a large company with divisions and internal teams.”
This perspective, coupled with SAV’s unyielding commitment to concierge-level service, are two things that Reistad is dedicated to offering to all its customers. And these values aren’t simply words reserved for SAV’s staff.
“Our company’s culture is all about our crazy commitment to create the best systems we possibly can and to provide top notch customer service,” Reistad says. “These are the things that we focus on an hourly basis and that do not change as technology advances and trends change. We are committed to being the best we can for our customers.”