It all started with strings - Cleerline Technology Group is an affiliate of D’Addario & Co Inc. D’Addario’s history in manufacturing musical instrument strings dates back to the 1600’s in a small town in the Abruzzi region of Italy. Over the last 40 years, D’Addario has established itself as the world’s largest musical accessory company, including a full line of accessories for guitar and pro-audio applications inclusive of high-quality audio/video cabling.
Within D’Addario’s brand and product portfolio in the early 2000’s there was a small cable group built upon innovative designs for coaxial cable use within the music industry. In 2004 Robert D’Addario was recruited within the company to explore how D’Addario could expand into other markets with their innovative Planet Waves CableStation™ coax system. In 2005 the Planet Waves Custom Installation division was launched at the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association Expo (CEDIA) held in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Solutions for Integrators
Throughout the early 2000’s, Planet Waves Custom Installation division established itself as a leader in connectivity solutions for the residential custom AV installer. Over the years the product mix evolved to include innovative Coax solutions built upon the original CableStation™ product, HDMI solutions and Speaker connectors. These parts and components were all built with the ultimate goal of making the installer’s job easier, more efficient, and more reliable.
In 2008, with a new set of market conditions brought on by the severe global recession, Planet Waves Custom Installation needed to creatively approach a distressed custom installation marketplace. In 2009 Planet Waves established a strategic relationship with Custom Install Supply headquartered in Missoula, Montana.
Custom Install Supply was established in the mid-2000’s to supply and manage small parts for the custom installation market. The two principals, Ryan Prentice and Rick Sant, came from a long line of successful integration companies in the Pacific Northwest. During their years in the installation business, they realized one of the biggest hurdles they faced was making sure a $5 part didn’t prohibit them from finishing a six-figure project on time and on budget. They built Custom Install Supply by utilizing their experience as the cornerstone for providing and tracking the parts needed for their work in their integration business. Partnership with Custom Install Supply provided Planet Waves with new insight into the on-the-ground needs of integrators.
The Next Phase
By 2009, the team at PWCIS, an acronym used in the market to describe the relationship between Planet Waves and Custom Install Supply, knew that the long-term health of the Planet Waves Custom Installation product line depended upon finding what was next in connectivity. HDMI had changed the market for coax, eliminating component video as the default choice of installers for video distribution. Planet Waves did not have a Cat5, Cat6, or Cat7 initiative, the competition for such a solution being too great, and for the most part fully commoditized. PWCIS would turn their attention to the next phase of connectivity: fiber optics.
It was clear fiber optic cabling was difficult, fiber was scary, and fiber plainly presented challenges to the coming wave of system integrators that would be installing it. Whether it was the termination process of the fiber (putting a connector on in the field), the pulling of the fiber cable, or the certification required for the known fiber cable and connector providers: the residential installer didn’t have the time or the repeat jobs to warrant spending money or effort to get up to speed on fiber optics. It was also clear that copper solutions were starting to hit the ceiling of usable bandwidth for increasingly higher definition video transmission, and the required bandwidth for a home network would only increase in the coming years. Fiber was the future of connectivity, so PWCIS looked to provide the solution.
The ultimate goal was to create a fiber solution that could be pulled and handled like category cable, and be as easy (if not easier) to terminate compared to Cat5 or Cat6 RJ45 connections. The result is Cleerline Technology Group’s SSF™ product. With the development of this proprietary GGP (glass, glass, polymer) fiber, Cleerline Technology Group was established in 2012 as a new company via the merger of Planet Waves Custom Installation and Custom Install Supply, with the ultimate goal of providing the most innovative solutions for connectivity.