Las Vegas, NVFrom CEOs to industry newbies, the CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles forum last week let the cross-section of residential trade professionals converge in the same place to introduce themselves and their businesses, and choose from a wide variety of education tracks and training.
Margaret Sheehan, CEDIAs senior director of professional development, said that the primary goal of this new show is to bridge the gap between electronic systems contractors and the interior design community to help them work together earlier, more efficiently, and to create avenues for reoccurring revenue.
Its a new outreach focus for us, and we want the design community to know what the CEDIA channel can offer, she said.
ADI helped CEDIA get the word out and publicize the event; its wide footprint of national distributors proved an invaluable contribution. The pricing structure was also well received by attendees; CEDIA chose to offer fixed pricing for both on-site and pre-registration. On ELs busiest day, more than 250 people registered on-site, according to early statistics.
Additionally, many of the break-out classes, CEDIA U courses, and panel discussions let newcomers experience the custom trade for the first time. There are more CEDIA first-timers here than any other CEDIA event, Sheehan explained. In one course led by CEDIA secretary and custom installer Ken Erdman, 23 out of the 25 students had never been to an EXPO or regional event.
According to Sonances Steve Crawford, building relationships with designers isnt incumbent on just one party, which drew him and his company to the design-minded event. It is important for the design and architect community to know who we are as a manufacturer, he said. Sonance, Genesis Audio Video, and Lutron are teaming up next week to offer a special event dedicated to building relationships with designers at Lutrons California Experience Center.
The floor wasnt shoulder to shoulder with attendees, and busy Spring schedules prevented some professionals from traveling to Vegas, so was CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles worth the trip? Absolutely, Erdman said. It may be hard to qualify, but this is a very good show for the industry. Anything that helps us understand business better and saves us just one mistake pays for the trip, he added.
Even if the attendance seemed thin, Triads Paul Teixiera believes this concept is correct. Where else can you get the three vertical industries together with such an opportunity for dialogue, he said.
Sheehan concurs, stating that while there are related trade events peppering the calendar, this is the only show that brings together the three trades (electronic systems contractors, interior designers, and architects) in the same space. Additionally, attendees and exhibitors were excited to have valuable time to discuss their needs and business plans going forward. There are 75 exhibitors on the show floor who came to Electronic Lifestyles to have quality conversations and quality time with new buyers, she said.