A year on from CE Pro Eu’s interview with the at-the-time, brand new CEDIA CEO, Vin Bruno, the CEO answers eight questions on CEDIA 2016 and reflects upon the year gone by.
1. Why the merge with CEDIA EMEA? And what has the response been from CEDIA members?
Over the last year, it has become clear to the CEDIA leadership that officially unifying CEDIA Americas and CEDIA EMEA would provide a series of benefits that we couldn’t ignore. The integration of CEDIA will improve the member experience across the board.
Unifying as one global organisation strengthens the voice and the influence of CEDIA and its members both locally and around the world. CEDIA members will have access to a much broader support system and deeper resources through CEDIA’s collective global staff. And the global integration will result in increased operational efficiencies and decreased expenses, and those savings will be invested directly back into member programmes.
Member response has been positive, and CEDIA EMEA members will have the opportunity to approve the integration at the AGM hosted on November 4th at the IET London, Savoy Place. This will be held alongside the London Tech Forum, which will feature 10 manufacturer training courses along with the latest products from key manufacturers and distributors.
I will be at the AGM and I look forward to connecting with members and answering any outstanding questions they may have about the integration.
2. You’ve spent one year as CEO; what has the year brought for CEDIA, and the wider industry?
We are an energised CEDIA and that has been made even more evident to me after my second CEDIA show as CEO.
Collectively we have accomplished so much over the last year and so many of our accomplishments are centred around the relationships we have been able to foster over the last year. We’ve been able to show our members in Australia and New Zealand that we are dedicated to their market. Coldwell Banker has used CEDIA curriculum to train more than 2,000 real estate professionals on home technology.
And CEDIA will be making its debut at Design and Construction week this coming January where we will host the CEDIA Smart Home Pavilion for the show’s 110,000 designers, builders and architects. I’m excited to continue to grow our reach over the next year as we move forward as one global CEDIA.
3. Last year you said you planned to get out in the field more with manufacturers – what have you learnt from this new approach?
I thrive on the conversations I have with CEDIA members whether they’re a manufacturer or a home technology professional. Being intentional, it’s about creating time to meet with them, and opening the channels of communication has been one of my greatest sources of pride over the last year. The passion and innovation I see in all of our members never ceases to amaze me. Visiting members continues to expose new and exciting ways that CEDIA can foster growth in the industry and drive business and profitability to CEDIA members.
4. You were keen to look at a new curriculum last year – particularly in regards to networking education, which you and CEDIA members felt was lacking – how has this gone?
Networking education continues to be a hot topic in our industry and our curriculum is being updated on an annual basis to reflect the most up-to-date standards and best practices. We also offer a robust selection of networking courses online for anyone who is interested in learning how they can master the network with CEDIA’s Networking Specialist Certification.
A way we were able to expand our networking offerings this year was re-working and updating content we had to offer a three-day Advanced Networking Boot Camp at our CEDIA headquarters. Our training volunteer of the year, Mike Manascalco did a fantastic job teaching this hands-on course and helping update the content. We are offering this boot camp at CEDIA HQ in November and we look forward to getting other dates on the calendar.
5. Raising awareness about CEDIA and the custom install industry for the consumer was another focus last year – have you seen any traction with this?
Gaining consumer exposure for the exceptional experiences CEDIA members deliver will be an on-going effort for CEDIA. One partnership we are particularly excited about for North America is one we have formed with Houzz. Though this partnership, CEDIA members who are on Houzz now have the ability to upgrade their profile with a verified CEDIA member badge. This is an exciting development for CEDIA as Houzz is a leading platform for consumers to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. We hope to emulate this same programme in Europe as well.
6. This year was big for Amazon Alexa integrating with numerous manufacturers – has the uptake surprised you?
I’m not surprised that Amazon has chosen to partner with companies in our channel; voice control is shifting the home technology landscape and home technology professionals will be the ones who can deliver end-to-end solutions. To that end I think Amazon will absolutely help raise the awareness for our channel – the consumer demand for voice control is there and new players continue to emerge in this market as we saw at our show with the participation of Josh.ai.
7. How was CEDIA 2016, now that you can reflect back on it?
It was another fantastic year for CEDIA in Dallas and I’m so proud of the experience we were able to create for our attendees. There were endless opportunities for them to “think big” from attending any one of our 115 CEDIA training sessions to catching one of the 13 CEDIA Talks in the booth or one of our new panel sessions. We built on last year’s success and we will continue on that path in San Diego next year!
8. What are CEDIA’s goals for next year? (And beyond?)
We have several initiatives that are in place and underway and we will execute them flawlessly – in the coming months we have the CEDIA Smart Home Pavilion at Design and Construction Week as well as ISE to look forward to. Looking beyond our current plans and engagements, CEDIA leadership is working with an expert from London Business School who is helping us define and develop a five-year strategic plan that will guide CEDIA forward.