As the curtain closes on another jam-packed year for the home technology sector, you might be wondering about CEDIA membership renewals. Why should you join? Why should you renew? From networking to training, marketing to advocacy, discounts to development, a CEDIA membership powers success and cultivates a one-of-a-kind community for the custom integrator channel. We caught up with Amanda Wildman, a seven-year CEDIA member and two-year board member, member of the CEDIA Certification Commission, immediate past chair of the CEDIA Professional Development Advisory Council, and owner at TruMedia, to hear about the value CEDIA members will gain heading into 2022.
How would you describe the past 12 months for CEDIA members?
I think I speak for everyone when I say we’ve been navigating some uncharted territory. None of us could have foreseen the pandemic or how our industry could respond to it over the past year, but the custom integrator industry and CEDIA remained incredibly resilient and creative. A lot of industries had to shut down for a longer period or reduce their staff, but, quite interestingly, the home technology industry got busier! Juggling the challenges of having fewer people in the field and prioritizing health and safety has been new to all of us, and with more demand and importance placed on the home, we’ve experienced a much faster pace of business. We’ve had to learn to adapt and respond to the demand amid supply chain issues, social distancing, and more.
What’s been going on at CEDIA during this time?
At CEDIA, there’s been a lot of behind-the-scenes work that not everyone has been able to see, but it’s all great work. Especially with fewer events and opportunities to connect face-to-face, it’s been a little trickier to share all the new developments, but heading into the new year the channel is in for a few treats. We’re looking forward to getting to know Daryl Friedman, our new CEO who joined our team in November 2021. The leadership at CEDIA and Vetted Solutions did a fantastic job selecting Daryl, spending nearly a year narrowing down the perfect fit to lead our organization. Finding the right CEO for CEDIA was a much different task than for other businesses or organizations — as advocacy and mission take priority over financials for an association.
We’ve also been investing heavily in our certifications and standards to bring them up to the highest level of excellence for the custom integrator community. Our certification commission, led by David Whitney and Dennis Erskine, is working hard to achieve the selective ANSI and ISO accreditation requirements, giving our certifications a global reach and aligning them with the most in-demand skills. It’s been a tremendous effort by CEDIA and many volunteers to align our certifications with these standards, ensuring that members all over the world can access them and benefit. The Cabling and Infrastructure Technician (CIT) certification has already been submitted and is pending approval. We’ve also just wrapped up the beta testing of our Integrated Systems Technician (IST) Certification, and we’re working on getting the networking certification completed for next year, too. As an ANSI Standards development organization, CEDIA, led by Walt Zerbe and Peter Aylett, has been making headway on standards, creating a solid foundation with RP1, RP22, RP23, and JSTD710. Through standards, CEDIA is able to recommend best practices and specify standards for design, installation, and integration of technology for people to support their lifestyles. Overall, this work delivers a load of incredibly valuable credibility for the CEDIA channel globally, and as CEDIA becomes the go-to organization for hiring top-tier integrators, we’ll only continue to grow our programs.
What are you most looking forward to for the CI channel in 2022?
As we get back to a bit of normalcy following a busy year, the value of home technology is more widely recognized than ever before. As homeowners realize the role technicians play and how home technology will enhance their lifestyle, I’m looking forward to skipping ahead in the conversation with designers, builders, and architects. Homeowners are savvier and have more information available to them, and they have more curiosity and openness to the benefits of the automated home. This year, CEDIA members will make our voices heard as thought leaders to win business, and we’ll make the smart home more accessible with that.
I’m also looking forward to getting back to face-to-face meetings at trade shows and events. The Tech Summits are proving to be immensely beneficial for members this year, and, moving forward, we’ll be taking more opportunities to share our ideas and learn from one another. Business owners have spent the past tumultuous year — which CEDIA has coined “The Year of the Individual” — finding new ways of doing business and working to refine their models. We’ve really gone back to basics to find the freshest ideas — and companies like Origin Acoustics have been tremendously helpful in supporting firms through it all with resources and knowledge. There are so many opportunities for growth in this market, and I know I’m ready to embrace them and share what I’ve learned.
What sets CEDIA members apart from other custom installers?
CEDIA members comprise the world’s best custom electronic design and integration companies globally, with a range of industry veterans and fresh ideas alike. First, the level of camaraderie between members is arguably the most stand-out part of CEDIA membership, and it offers the unique advantage of unlimited mind-melding, advocacy, and expertise across the CI industry. Even though CEDIA Expo was small this year, it was telling to watch how the attendees came together around the joint goal of making the home a better place with technology. A heavily volunteer-based organization, CEDIA members eat, sleep, and breathe home technology and strive to make the industry the best it can be — it’s never just for a paycheck. From the fun networking events like CEDIA Expo happy hours to advocacy for legislation to support our profession, CEDIA members bust their butts to make it all happen.
On the professional front, our training programs, certifications, and incubator programs are what make good integrators great, with skills development and a chance to broaden your portfolio. CEDIA member benefits like CEDIA Education, Certifications, Standards, CEDIA Propel, and Grow with Google help you grow your business, operate effectively, and build you and your employees’ skills within this ever-changing industry.
What is your favorite part of being a CEDIA member?
That’s easy: I get to work with some of the coolest people! If I had the opportunity to live while Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla were alive, just to be around that level of genius, I’d take it in a heartbeat. But, honestly, that’s kind of what I get at CEDIA. When you’re a member, you’re with the godfathers of the home technology industry, and you get to work alongside them, learn from them, and volunteer and advocate around the most intelligent, diverse group of people. I’ve gotten some incredible ideas from fellow CEDIA members, and I’ve had so many opportunities to share my own perspective, too. It’s really a mutually beneficial growth opportunity for all.
This industry is collaborative, working with folks with mixed backgrounds, different levels of experience, different expertise, and unique perspectives is tremendously rewarding to my growth as a technician and business owner. From there, we’re also able to offer homeowners unique perspectives that tailor their homes to their lifestyles. CEDIA is an organization truly for everyone in home technology — people like me, a woman in tech, people that have worked in the space for 50 years, and people looking to make genuine change in a space that benefits so many. As we work to continue diversifying, I always say: You can’t change the past of what the industry was, but you can change what it looks like going forward. And getting to do just that is everything.
Learn about how you can join CEDIA or renew at cedia.net/membership/.