First, a little history.
According to Wikipedia the word “plumber” dates from the Roman Empire. The Latin for lead is plumbum. Roman roofs used lead in conduits and drainpipes and some were also covered with lead. It was also used for piping and for making baths. Thus, a person with expertise in working with lead was first known as a plumbarius, which was later shortened to “plumber.”
Electricians were originally people who demonstrated or studied the principles of electricity, often electrostatic generators of one form or another. Today they are known as a tradesperson specializing in electrical wiring of buildings, stationary machines, and related equipment.
Both terms evolved into what we understand them to be today. Dude, lead is a highly toxic metal and poisonous, yet the name “plumber” remains! Electricians are not called “power integrators.” Plumbers are not “water integration specialists.” These are simple titles that after years of use, conjure the professionalism you might need for a particular job.
Although we are later to the game, the term “technologist” could do the same exact thing. The word alone does not pull up a page on Wikipedia (what an amazing opportunity to contribute to the open site; CEDIA I’m looking at you!). When Googling the word, the current definition is: “(noun) an expert in a particular field of technology.”
The goal of this title is to encompass who we, as members of CEDIA, are. We are a global trade association for 3,700 member companies that represent every facet of the ever-evolving technology market. Are you still an audio/video company? Sure, but I am betting if you are still alive in the year 2017, you do more than just sell and install audio and video. I bet you also do networking, from access points to remote management. Would you say that you are an expert in these fields? Do you know more than someone who does a quick internet search?
Then you are a technologist.
You incorporate technology into the places where people live, work, and play. (Full disclosure: I did not create this great elevator pitch myself; it was the brainchild of the industry relations volunteer group under CEDIA’s helm, but boy does it say what we are in a quick sentence!)
You are a forward thinker. You are more than just model numbers and prices. You understand how technology integrates together to solve the problems of the client in the home or the office. Beyond integrating itself, you are watching how the industry changes and is morphing. Other terms become limiting, especially looking at the fast pace of change in the technology sector. A technologist tells someone what today is and what tomorrow may become. If someone asks, “What is a technologist?” all the better, for you just opened yourself up to an enjoyable conversation and an opportunity to enlighten them on all you create, beyond just audio and video. We are no longer “the home theater guys.”
Love it or hate it, the term “technologist” is straightforward and tells someone you are in the field of technology. If we as a group can embrace it, we can fit the term around us like a warm blanket on a frigid Buffalo winter night. If we continue to fight it, we may never end up with a term for who we are, and that will leave openings for others.