AMX Hydraport


the business model for IDM


the power to control the conference room


a product + a revenue stream for AMX

After several years and several successful product launches, the CEO of AMX approached us with a new challenge. This time, he wasn’t looking for another electronic control device. Instead, he wanted a way to cement the company’s position as a leader in the commercial AV market.

“I want to own the conference room,” he said.

Suddenly, we weren’t being asked to design a product — but to identify an opportunity. So, in a series of brainstorming sessions, we focused on ways to connect and power all of AMX’s separate control devices. The solution: a power distribution unit — connected to the AV rack system — that would fit seamlessly into a conference room table.

Historically, commercial furniture makers had offered a few basic solutions for supplying power to their conference tables. Often, these were little more than power strips mounted to the underside of the table with a cord routed down one leg.

The “A-ha” moment wasn’t the creation of a new category, but rather bringing the current category to AMX. By expanding on what manufacturers like Knoll and Steelcase had done, we developed a proprietary new product — and also a new revenue stream.

Our flagship product was the HPX1600 — an extruded aluminum chassis with a modular system of connections for power (US and international), HDMI, lighting, window controls, and Ethernet. Each module slid effortlessly into the chassis, allowing the AMX distribution team — or even an installer — to configure on the fly.

A highlight of the HPX1600 was its motorless housing — which featured a unique clutch mechanism and a dampened linear spring to create a smooth, elegant user experience.

The HPX1600 launch coincided with a trend toward smaller meeting spaces like huddle rooms. That’s when a global contract furniture manufacturer approached AMX about adding some proprietary features to the HPX1600 platform.

Seeing a new opportunity, we built upon the HPX1600 concept and designed the HydraPort — an equally powerful product at a reduced price point.

We developed three versions that held six, nine, or twelve modules respectively — thereby accommodating a wide range of tables, configurations, and budgets.

Leveraging the dampening tech in the HPX1600, a Retractable Cable Module (RCM) and a flat cable — giving users more cord and a more elegant, longer-lasting solution.

As the HydraPort production deadline drew near, we struggled to achieve a consistent finish on the extrusion that would satisfy high-end furniture makers selling to clients in Class-A offices. Not only were we getting 40% yield on an expensive item, but we were also going through the extra steps of pairing different door panels with different chassis from different lots.

So, we developed a new finish for the aluminum chassis, set up a cutting station, and improved the yield to 96%.

That’s when we brought the manufacturing operation in house. And that’s how IDM was born. For the first time, we could invent, design, and make a product for distribution through our client’s existing channels.

The move transformed our relationship with AMX. Now, it was a strategic play in which both partners were fully invested in success. It meant AMX could leverage our full potential in realizing their vision.

Of course, it also meant designing a manufacturing organization. First, we switched from bench-building to a six-station assembly line to create significantly better efficiencies. We set up a prototype line — and quickly realized we needed a new facility to support end-to-end supply chain management.

Soon, demand for the HydroPort and RCM grew from 100 units per week to more than 500 per day. Over ten years, we’ve assembled tens of thousands — and shipped them to AMX distribution channels.

Our clients don’t have to worry about scaling when demand suddenly spikes. Our facility — and our entire company — is designed and built for that.

Design Leadership

Industrial Design



IDM + ˚F

Let's Talk

Picture of Anne Lewis
Anne Lewis
Quality Assurance

Anne likes things neat and tidy. As an avid gardener, she knows a pristine landscape doesn’t happen by chance—there’s always someone pruning, watering, and tending to the details. Anne is that person for IDM. “I shape things,” she says, “often behind the scenes, to make sure we deliver what we promise.”

At IDM, Anne works to “make excellence a habit” by overseeing our ISO certification program. She also helps cultivate a culture focused on customer satisfaction—whether that “customer” is internal or external. With her self-described “relentless smile” and what Frank Lloyd Wright calls “an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen,” Anne keeps us alert, on our toes, and bringing our very best each day. “I love working with bright people who are passionate about what they do,” she says.

When she’s not digging in the dirt, you might find Anne nurturing her love of reading at the local library.