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Velodyne Supports Breast Cancer Research

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Last month, Velodyne ran a special promotion on our pink vPulse headphones. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, we sold our pink in-ear headphones in a 2-for-$50 promotion with a portion of the proceeds going to Breast Cancer Research. We are proudly donating to our organization of choice, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. We wanted to go beyond providing awareness and contribute to a foundation actively working towards prevention and a cure for this disease. A woman in the U.S. is diagnosed with breast cancer every 2 minutes and there are nearly 3 million survivors here in the U.S. alone according to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation website.

“In 2014-2015, BCRF will award $58.6 million in annual grants to 222 scientists from top universities and medical institutions around the globe. In addition, $11.6 million has been committed to the international Founder’s Fund project focused on metastasis.” Mestasis is the spreading of cancer or tumors to other parts of the body than the place it first started. With sound financial efficiency (88% of their funds go to actual breast cancer research), this foundation seemed to be the best to receive our proceeds out of the many choices available.

If you are interested in making a donation to this foundation, please visit their donation page on their website.

 

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The Gray Market: The Issue Really is Black & White

 

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The so-called “gray market” is many things, but it certainly isn’t colorless.

Wikipedia puts it succinctly: the gray market consists of “distribution channels which, while legal, are unofficial, unauthorized, or unintended by the original manufacturer.”

Unauthorized dealers see nothing but green. Manufacturers, like Velodyne, see red. And consumers need to notice the flashing yellow signs. Indeed, caution ought to be the watchword; it’s buyer beware, big time.

The gray market might be attractive for some borderline players in the channel, and it’s superficially appealing to consumers, typically through lower prices or easier access to seemingly identical merchandise.

But the gray market isn’t actually a very friendly place for anyone. And the issues that confront consumers are, in fact, pretty black and white. People buying from unauthorized dealers run the risk of ending up with prototypes or other less-than-final products, offered as the real deal.

In his recent Business Law Todayarticle, “Dealing with Unauthorized Online Dealers: Sales of ‘Genuine’ Products,” attorney Robert W. Payneexplores the challenges manufacturers face from unauthorized online retail and the legal nuances of unauthorized selling: http://www.americanbar.org/publications/blt/2014/07/01_payne.html.

Payne ought to know. He’s a partner in the law firm of LaRiviere, Grubman & Payne, LLP in Monterey, Calif. He practices intellectual property law, including copyright, trademark, and patent litigation. Here’s his take:
Online sellers (some authorized by the manufacturer; many more not authorized) now have low-cost, direct access to consumers through their own websites and through online market places such as alibaba.com, eBay, and amazon.com. This has led to a tsunami of online dealers infringing intellectual property rights.
While many products sold by unauthorized online retailers are counterfeits, some sell products actually manufactured by and for the trademark owner. The sale by unauthorized dealers of “genuine” goods poses the greatest legal challenge to makers of well-known brands. It may or may not be a bigger business challenge, but counterfeits do not pose serious legal issues; “genuine” goods, on the other hand, are another matter. Further, the unauthorized sale of “genuine” goods is exploding on the Internet…

Such unauthorized dealers compete unfairly in a sense. They are essentially “free riders.” They have minimal overhead and do not invest significantly in customer service, showrooms, quality, or advertising. Nevertheless, unauthorized dealers reap the benefits of such efforts. They trade off the brand owner’s hard-earned reputation for quality and customer service. Not having the same overhead, they can undercut authorized dealers on price, driving prices down with their unfair advantage and making it difficult for authorized dealers (and ultimately the brand owner itself) to make a profit. Additionally, the product may differ in some way, such as lacking warranty protection. It is this differential in service and quality of promotion and quality inherent in a system of authorized dealerships which needs to be protected. 

We could not agree more. The adage about something sounding “too good to be true” definitely applies here. The moral: know what you’re buying and from whom. If you do, you can’t lose.

 

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Another Great CES In 2014

welcometoCES2014This year’s International CES was great for Velodyne. We were able to hold many face to face meetings with our worldwide suppliers and distributors. We really do value our relationships and it’s nice to be able to solidify our partnerships in this manner rather than the usual Skype call. We also had the opportunity to connect with the press directly at Unveiled and conduct recorded and live-streaming interviews.

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IMG_4222During the course of the week, we were able to show off many of our new products. In addition to our vLeve, vBold and vQuiet, we had our vFit on hand. It had literally just come in, and is technically still not available, but our first fitness headphone was well-received. Our new wireless sub, the Wi-Q, was a big hit. We gave it front-and-center status in our suite at the Venetian, and are sending out several units for reviews. We also had many subs in finishes the public has not seen from Velodyne before. We had subwoofers in gold, red and purple metallic. Additionally we had a subwoofer wrapped in leather. CES gives us the ideal opportunity to get feedback from both the press and our customers on potential new products. Velodyne personnel and staff who really know our products inside and out were on hand to answer technical questions regarding our audio equipment. The constant flow of traffic through the suite was exciting and kept us going all week long.

IMG_4264A definite highlight was receiving the Editor’s Choice Award from Stereowise Plus. Velodyne President, Marta Hall was on-hand to receive the award personally.

Another highlight was Marta Hall’s interview on a webcast for Geekbeat.TV. She so eloquently shared information about our company and our three divisions, as well as our headphones and our artist skins. The exciting part for most was when she announced we would be giving our free headphones to everyone who came to our website to register for our newsletter. It was incredible – the response we received was outstanding. In Velodyne’s spirit of giving, it is just another fun way we can share our great products with the public.

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IMG_4236Due to some recent announcements by the Ford Motor Co., we had David Oroshnik from our LiDAR division present at the show this year. Our LiDAR car was on display in the Sands Ballroom, where thousands of onlookers each day could see our technology scan the environment in real-time, 3D, on a large flat screen. David held plenty of meetings and press interviews for this division and answered all of the product questions regarding our patented LiDAR technology as well. The questions ranged from basic, “What’s that?” to the very complicated. It was quite a busy spot to be as we also had our headphones and skins on display complete with a listening station.

IMG_4340Velodyne is a fun and intrinsically artistic company. We had one of our friends and fans, Marquette King, punter from the Oakland Raiders on hand to take photos, sign autographs and discuss his love of the brand. We also had two talented dancers from SCC Presents reign in the crowd and distribute literature. There was never a dull moment for us in the Ballroom.

IMG_4367We also participated in the Fashionware wearable tech fashion show again this year. This show is “growing up”. With it’s own room dedicated to the show in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, this year’s presentation had a full runway, modern lighting, 2 large screens and a hosted bar and warm appetizers. We had two models in the show, one wearing our vBold bluetooth headphone, and the other wearing our vFree. Both models wore outfits that were featured from other wearable tech companies. This was the perfect environment for us to show our products as fashion and technology are at the core of who we are. It was an honor to participate in this event.

How will we top CES 2014? We now have almost a whole year to prepare for next year’s show. We will need every last minute. Until then, Las Vegas. Viva!

 

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Work Off Holiday Excess With The vFit

3_blueRunning is my personal passion, but after family and work it unfortunately comes in third on my list of priorities. However, since running is my “ME” time, I make the most of it. If I’m not running with a friend, thus making a social event out of it, I am running with headphones. When I’m running with my music, I am making my own personal party out of my run.

I won’t lie when I say that the vFit is my most anticipated Velodyne product release to date. The vPulse is an amazing, well-reviewed in-ear headphone which I have used to work out but the vFit is a fitness-targeted headphone. The most attractive feature of these headphones for me are the sport ear hook to keep the headphones on your ears. Plus the vFit comes with 3 sizes of ear tips in 2 different colors to ensure proper fit. The cord clip to prevent flopping up and down when running or on an elliptical trainer at the gym is key.

From a technical standpoint, I am impressed these headphones, like the vPulse, come with a mic for phone calls and controls which are located on the cord. The 10 mm driver coupled with a 20hz-20Khz frequency response means incredible sound, living up to vPulse standards.

Cosmetically speaking, the initial offerings of blue and pink on black should meet the needs of most fitness enthusiasts who require good sound until other colors are released. These headphones should be available in time for holiday shopping so stay tuned. I know I will!

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New From Velodyne: vBold Bluetooth Headphones

 

Satin Silver vBold

Satin Silver vBold

Just in time for the holidays, Velodyne is launching our sophomore wireless headphone effort, the vBold. The vBold is conveniently compatible with Apple products and Bluetooth compatible devices. Their unique design is credited to Marta Hall, our President and recognized international artist. Similar to the vFree, the vBold have intuitive on-ear controls which set these headphones apart from most headphones on the market. These headphones are available in matte black and satin silver and fold up into a carrying pouch included in the box.

Some noteworthy features of the vBold are the re-chargeable battery which lasts over 10 hours, with the flexibility to use them wired if needed (wire included). The microphone in the headphone can be used for phone calls as well as online gaming. The convenience to move freely while talking on the phone, hands-free is priceless. The Bluetooth connectivity goes to a range of 30+ feet so the ability to function untethered becomes extremely easy.

Want to impress your friend or loved one with an amazing gift for the holidays? Go bold. vBold.

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Thirty Seconds to Mars at the Hollywood Bowl: Love Lust Faith + Dreams Tour

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Left to right: Tomo Miličević, Jared Leto, Shannon Leto

You know that feeling when you’re listening to a song and it feels really familiar? Maybe it’s playing on the radio, or a friend turned it on, but you absolutely love it and need to know who plays it. Perhaps you have heard it before, but only now are hearing it with fresh ears. That happened to me recently, when my brother put on a song called “A Beautiful Lie.” I had actually heard it many times before, but it was always hidden among many songs that I didn’t particularly like, so I would not really be listening. But this time was different. We were cleaning up the kitchen after dinner one night, and he put the song on. It was familiar to me—after all, I’d been hearing it for a few years—but I’d never really listened to it. It was incredible; I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t realized it sooner. The band was Thirty Seconds to Mars, and I was hooked. I began listening to them all the time. When I was in my dorm room, my roommates hardly ever saw me without my vFree on. So you can imagine my delight when I discovered that they would be playing at the Hollywood Bowl on October 12.

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Tomo Miličević, Shannon Leto, and Jared Leto onstage for “Conquistador”

The concert was absolutely amazing. It was brilliant, a breathtakingly beautiful performance. Tomo Miličević was on guitar and keyboards, Shannon Leto on drums and percussion, and Jared Leto with his amazing voice. Leto’s vocals were transcendental, ranging from low and visceral to high and angelic, and everything in between. His voice has the power to make you feel any emotion, bringing tears to your eyes with sorrow or joy, making you curl your fists in anger, causing you to sing with him about dreams as your eyes well up in hope.

The show opened with a band from Copenhagen called New Politics. Then came Panic! at the Disco, who played some songs from their new album interspersed among some of their better-known songs, such as “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” and “The Ballad of Mona Lisa.” At this point, the crowd was fired up and excited for Thirty Seconds to Mars to take the stage. The lights dimmed, and the beginning of “Birth” began to play. As the song transitioned into “Night of the Hunter,” the band appeared on stage and the crowd went wild. The upbeat song got our blood pumping and immediately involved. We all sang as loudly as we could, lost in the moment. Then came the angry “Search and Destroy” before “This Is War.” Jared did a great job getting us involved: holding the microphone out to the audience for parts of the song, running out into the audience, along pathways, engaging with the audience. “Conquistador” followed, from their new album Love Lust Faith + Dreams.

The stage during "Closer To The Edge," with the Echelon symbol hanging high up in the air.

The stage during “Closer To The Edge,” with the Echelon symbol hanging high up in the air.

At this point, the band played “Do or Die,” “City of Angels”, “Buddha For Mary,” “Depuis Le Début,” “Pyres of Varanasi,” and “End of All Days.” “City of Angels” really hit home with the audience because it’s a song about our city and the dreams that brought us here. It’s emotional and personal, and it touched each and every one of us, even those who don’t live here. A pair of acrobats on a seesaw provided the perfect distraction for Jared Leto to sneak out into the crowd, unnoticed. All of the sudden, a spotlight shone directly onto the center of the Bowl, illuminating Jared with an acoustic guitar. The crowd went wild, my brother and I included. Jared was playing a set for us, up in the nosebleed section! He played an acoustic version of my favorite song, “Hurricane,” in such a sorrowful and moving manner as to bring tears to my eyes. It was beautiful, and I sang myself hoarse on that song. Next came “The Kill,” their most famous song, but played in a much more subdued manner. Then it was his beautiful rendition of Rihanna’s “Stay,” which sounds like it was written for his voice.

From the "City of Angels" lyric video, also used in the music video.

From the”City of Angels” lyric video, also used in the music video.

 

Jared returned to the stage then, and the band played “Kings and Queens” and “Closer to the Edge.” They told us that it was time to see the premiere of their music video for “City of Angels.” Like most of their videos, Bartholomew Cubbins (Jared Leto’s pseudonym) directed it. I can’t say much about the video (as it has yet to be released) but that it was beautiful and brought many of us to tears. It was a gift, and we are all thankful that they chose to share it with us that night.

The concert was drawing to a close, and it was time for one last song. Finally, Thirty Seconds to Mars invited members of the audience up on the stage with them as they began to play “Up In The Air.” It was the perfect song to end the night. The whole audience knew it from start to finish, and we sang our hearts out. “Up In The Air” is a single from Love Lust Faith + Dreams, and it’s an incredible song. When my brother and I left that night, we were singing that song. Hours later, at two in the morning, we were still singing.

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The band poses in front of the crowd at the Hollywood Bowl.

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Step Out In Style to Fight Addiction

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Velodyne had the honor of teaming with celebrities in a noble cause at the Summer Spectacular hosted by The Brent Shapiro Foundation for Alcohol and Drug Awareness. Attorney Robert Shapiro and his wife Linelle founded their foundation when their son Brent succumbed to alcohol and drug abuse in his early 20’s. After the loss of their son, the Shapiros hoped to create awareness about alcohol and chemical dependency and stop the spread of this disease.

This party and fashion show raised over $500,000 for the foundation. Attendees such as Larry King, Paula Abdul, and Sugar Ray Leonard supported the successful event. Velodyne donated 35 of our vPulse in-ear headphones, the ideal fashion accessory for those on the go.

Marta Hall, Velodyne President, has been close to people who have struggled with addiction. “We need to recognize it as a serious illness and provide real solutions.”

The Brent Shapiro Foundation for Alcohol and Drug Awareness  seeks to conquer alcohol and drug dependence through education and support.

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6 Memorable Moments from the Finish Ticket Concert at the Great American Music Hall

Concerts are a fun way to discover new music and to explore the city. Find shows for new bands coming to your area by staying connected with local radio stations, venues, newspapers, and ticket sale sites which all have webpages dedicated to upcoming shows. Social media sites are a good way to stay up to date with bands you find. Start by checking out Finish Ticket on Facebook!

1. The Great American Music Hall served dinner.

2. The opening band, Local Hero, covered R. Kelly’s Ignition Remix.

3. Michael and Brendan Hoye’s huge smiles during “In the Summer” when fans flung pink bras onstage.

4. Backstage with Finish Ticket when they got the news that their largest headlining performance yet sold out.

5. Finish Ticket’s high energy performance of “Bring The Rain.” In our interview with Finish Ticket they shared it was their favorite live song. The audience loved it too.

6. And of course, Velodyne’s vFree giveaway!

Amanda Christensen won a pair of autographed vFree bluetooth headphones and Finish Ticket merchandise.

Now go get crowd surfing!

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Airport Entertainment

vQuietFor those of you who haven’t heard about Velodyne’s newest partnership, our headsets can now be found in a large number of major airports throughout the United States at Airport Wireless storefronts.
Maybe you forgot to bring along a quality, stylish listening device for your trip…No problem! Head over to an airport directory, find the Airport Wireless store and discover a range of choices including vPulse, vTrue, vFree and vQuiet- all with their unique Velodyne flare.

We all know airports and layovers can be terribly boring. I definitely do. Recently, I made the cross-country flight from California to Pittsburgh, PA where I go to school. However, I found myself a little bit of entertainment when I got there.

Pittsburgh is one of the airports that features the amazing “v” series products, so naturally, I wandered over to find them. Not only were they displayed with a great amount of class, but one of the employees said that the vQuiets were “awesome!”

Velodyne quality is undeniable and now, an abundance of travelers can experience it for themselves! Next time you find yourself in an airport, find an Airport Wireless store, see what the employees have to say and try out a little bit of Velodyne3 ingenuity for yourself.

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