January '21

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36 • RV PRO • January 2021 rv-pro.com RV O E F O C U S T here's probably no better example of evolving technology than wireless connectivity. The air is literally filled with electromagnetic signals that do everything from linking people through cellular phone service to remotely turning on home appliances. There's also probably no better example of a company in the RV industry intent upon harnessing these signals than Winegard Co. Ever since company founder John Winegard invented his first multi-channel TV antenna in 1953, the Burlington, Iowa-based firm has focused on technology designed to connect people wire- lessly – much of it developed in-house. Known for its engineering capabilities, the company has acquired more than 90 patents related to its telecommunications business. In August, however, Winegard made its first acquisition, buying WiFiRanger – a move that significantly expands Winegard's exper- tise in the rapidly evolving software side of wireless technology. "WiFiRanger has a great product, especially from a software standpoint, and Winegard has a great product from a hardware standpoint," says Marvin Metzler, Winegard senior director of business development for mobile products. "It wasn't a question of our software being good or their hardware being good. They are. But there are certain things that people want on the technical side that we didn't offer and there are certain hardware components that WiFiRanger didn't offer but we did. It just made sense to be able to say, 'Hey, let's bring the two companies together and we can build some awesome products going forward.'" Ruling the Airwaves James Witty, director of sales of Winegard's RV OEM division, is pictured next to some of the company's wireless products at the Winegard Innovation Center office in Elkhart, Ind. Witty is particularly excited about the RV Halo Voice, an 'Alexa'-style product developed specifically for the RV market, which Winegard expects to debut in advance of Elkhart Open House Week. Winegard is expanding its offerings with the acquisition of WiFiRanger and the development of an 'Alexa'- style voice-command module designed specifically for the RV industry. By Bruce Hampson PHOTO BY BRUCE HAMPSON

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