I had a chance to meet up with the new management at Escort / Cedar at SEMA this week and hear about the future of the company and what the new team envisions for Escort’s future. Here’s the complete interview.
So the main idea is their focus on sharing alerts, especially with their Escort Live / Cobra iRadar apps. There was a little bit of a twist on it that I wasn’t expecting though that helped put everything into perspective for me.
The idea was a shift in thought away from thinking of radar detectors themselves as products. The idea is that the point of the radar detector is to get an alert and the alert is the product. The alert is something you can share via the app to other radar detector users. You can also share it with other drivers running a Cobra dashcam or Cobra CB radio which is especially nice for those who can’t run a RD for whatever reason or simply don’t want to and yet they can still get the realtime alerts too. While the shared alert idea is nothing new, it’s the shift away from thinking of the RD and dashcams as the products and towards thinking of the alerts as the products that helped tie everything together for me as far as the whole ecosystem. Rather than a bunch of assorted different products that happen to connect to the cloud, you have an interconnected alert sharing system first and foremost with many different devices that all tap into it.
Another big point is that Escort wants to reduce the overall product lineup substantially. Having so many versions of similar products (“Hey look! Yet another rebadged M4!”) makes it tough for customers to decide which product they should buy. Additionally, it also makes it really tough for Escort to release updates when they have dozens of different detectors yet their engineers can only do so much at once.
Speaking of having many detectors, they want to start making their detectors more similar under the hood, similar to how auto manufacturers often share a chassis between multiple different vehicle models. They want to do something similar with their different detectors moving forward so that when they make a change to one detector such as a BSM filtering update, they can more easily and rapidly adapt that update to other detectors as well. (This is actually why it took so long for the Max2’s BSM filter to come out even after they had it available for the Max360. It turns out they’re actually quite different under the hood to the point where the BSM filtering code couldn’t simply be copy/pasted. It had to be rewritten for the other detector.) Different detectors have different processors and amounts of memory and this is an issue when trying to port over changes from one detector to another. I definitely hope they can make this happen to where both older and newer detectors with varying hardware, antennas, and underlying platforms can still receive the same changes more easily.
It’s also going to make things easier for them in terms of the supply chain, inventory they need to carry, having replacement parts available, how many different products the customer service people need to know about, and so on. We’ve given them a lot of flack for how many different detectors they carry, and it sounds like they’re wanting to cut down on their overall product count as well so I’m glad about this.
Finally, as far as meeting the folks at Escort, they were all really nice people. I enjoyed spending time with them. I know the company has gotten a lot of flack online for their behavior and actions the past few years, and deservedly so. However, meeting with them in person at shows, that’s always been a positive experience for me and I’m glad that the same continues to hold true with their new management team as well. Chris, Gail, and Manny are all great people.