October is finally upon us, and that means that CEDIA EXPO is just a week away. Sure, it’s in Dallas not Denver but that doesn’t mean it still won’t be awesome. And who knows? Maybe two weeks from now we’ll all be saying, “Sure, Denver was great and all, but, man! Dallas! AmIright?!?” It could happen…
While the show floor is certainly the highpoint of EXPO, there are also tremendous education opportunities to be had, and CEDIA has put together more than 100 classes to tantalize your brain. The classes are offered in five different categories including Business Growth, Emerging Trends, Forging Alliances, Operational Excellence, and Technical Excellence.
These classes offer some terrific training opportunities designed to not only increase your industry knowledge and selling power, but also make sure that you stay lockstep with the cutting-edge changes that the industry is making. In addition to all of the pay classes, EXPO also offers a host of free manufacturer training sessions from the likes of Atlona, Autonomic, Control4, Crestron, DISH, Dolby, ELAN, Lutron, Pakedge, Panamax, RTI, Sony, SpeakerCraft, URC, and more. These courses provide a way to get personalized help and education with some of your manufacturer partners and get answers to any specific questions or issues that you’ve encountered.
I scoured through the CEDIA EXPO Training & Certification book and pinpointed 10 classes that would be of benefit to any CI, whether industry rookie or grizzled vet. Showing how CEDIA is keeping up with the times, most of these classes are new for this EXPO.
1. Creating Standardized Home Theater “Packages” That Integrate Design & Technology 1.5-hour class, Saturday 9:00 – 10:30 amThis new class is taught by industry mega-legend Theo Kalomirakis, which is enough reason for you to attend. No one understands theater design like Theo, and this class gives you 90 minutes to soak up his years of experience. Further, creating “customized” designs over and over can be time consuming and overwhelming to a client. In this class, Theo will discuss creating “standardized and reasonably priced home theater ‘packages’ that incorporate technology, acoustics, and design, while simplifying the sales process.”
2. Security as a Recurring Revenue Stream for Dealers 1-hour class, Friday 2:30-3:30 pmRecurring revenue remains the Holy Grail for many, where you can just sit back and watch the money roll in month after month. This new class, taught by Shawn Barry of Alarm.com, will provide “insights and actionable strategies to help home technology professionals take advantage of the rapidly growing connected home market.”
3a. Selling High-Performance Solutions & the Luxury Market 1.5-hour class, Wednesday 1:00-2:30 pm 3b. Selling Integrated Systems to the Luxury Buyer 3-hour class, Friday 8:30-11:30 amThese two classes dovetail well together, both focusing on the luxury market, a segment that many of us try to court. In High-Performance Solutions, Sam Cavitt of Paradise Theater will help you buck the trend of many clients looking for lower priced solutions and help you learn to “create the desire for that high-performance experience.” In his course, EJ Feulner of AHT Global tackles Selling Integrated Systems where he will teach you what he has learned from his successes selling to the luxury market and hopefully you’ll walk away knowing “how to make money selling yourself, your services, and your company.”
4. 4K UHD Demystified 1.5-hour class, Wednesday 10:30-12:00 pm Four-K will likely by a major focus of the show, and something that we will be living and integrating with for many years to come, meaning this new class co-taught by Jeff Murray of Imaging Science Foundation couldn’t come at a better time! If you want to know how 4K will impact the industry, and if your company is ready for it, this is a good place to start.
5. Designing & Selling an Over-The-Top (OTT) & Air (OTA) System 1.5-hour class, Friday 10:30-12:00 pm With clients increasingly interested in cord cutting, this class is more relevant than ever. Frank White, CEDIA’s 2014 Lifetime Achievement recipient, has easily forgotten more about OTA distribution than most of us put together have ever known, and he’ll use this class to discuss the best ways to design and sell systems that “combine local HD broadcasts with Internet streaming devices” to deliver a robust experience for your clients.
6. Stayin’ Alive in a DIY World 1.5-hour class; Saturday 11:00-12:30 pm Is there still a place for custom installation with things like Nest, Sonos, and other DIY solutions that increasingly look to cut installers out of the loop? Evan Ackmann of Crestron handles this new class where he will help you look as this adoption of DIY tech as a “new growth opportunity” and help you learn to adapt and thrive in this new environment.
7. Warning! Avoid These 10 Simple Things That Can Put You Out of Business 1.5-hour class, Friday 8:30-10:00 am The title of this new class, alone, should be enough to make you want to attend. How many of these cardinal sins is your company committing? Leslie Shiner of The ShinerGroup will discuss the simple mistakes that can put you out of business and give a checklist of 10 items you need to focus on to keep your business afloat. (In a side note, my company just celebrated its 20-year anniversary and here are 10 lessons learned from our 20 years in business.)
8. Home Theater Audio & Acoustics Part I 3-hour class, Thursday 9:00-12:00 pm Part II 3-hour class, Thursday 2:30-5:30 pm Part III 3-hour class, Friday 9:00-12:00 pm Dr. Floyd Toole literally wrote the book on “Sound Reproduction,” and this ex-Harman engineer is an undisputed expert on all things audio and acoustics. These three, three-hour classes will undoubtedly challenge you and catapult your knowledge of speakers and acoustics and cover best practices on speaker selection, analyzing room size and shape and subwoofer placement. Pay close attention, and you’ll leave knowing “the best results with surround-sound systems design.”
9a. HDCP & EDID Demystified 1.5-hour class, Wednesday 3:00-4:30 pm 9b. HDMI 2.0 Troubleshooting 4-hour class, Friday 8:30-12:30 pm HDMI and HDCP? How many times have you uttered those four-letter words in a less than loving manner?! These two new classes focus on the issues you are likely to encounter in the field and go over recommended troubleshooting procedures to you can quickly fix the problems and not have to return in the future.
10. Challenges of 4K Distribution 1.5-hour class; Friday 3:00-4:30 pmUltra-High Definition is coming and whether it’s in the form of UHD Blu-ray, DirecTV, DISH, Sony’s media player, or something else, your customers are going to look to you to figure out how to get those signals around their homes and onto their displays. Crestron’s Rob Carter helms this new class to discuss how “resolutions, frame rates, color models, and color depth affect data rates and system design and performance.” If you fear the black-screen-of-death on upcoming projects, this class is for you.
If there is another class that you are excited about, please tell me about it in the comments below, and I hope I see you next week in Dallas!