Attendees poured through the doors of the Colorado Convention Center yesterday morning and out onto the CEDIA Expo show floor to see the future of residential technology. But this year’s show itself is a future the organization could hardly have imagined when it held its first gathering 30 years ago.
“There are so many great things that have happened over the 30 years,” said Tabatha O’Connor, CEDIA’s global president and CEO. “We have so many core, key people from the very beginning still engaged, bringing in not just the next generation, but several generations behind them that are picking up this wonderful industry.”
The inaugural show in 1989 drew some 500 attendees to Amelia Island, Florida to see table-top displays from select pioneering companies; this year, O’Connor said the organization is expecting more than 20,000 visitors and around 500 exhibitors as the event continues to grow.
“We won’t know the official numbers until after the show is over, but we are up on our attendance from the same time last year, and we have more exhibitors on the show floor than we did last year,” O’Connor said. “What I am seeing is a much bigger presence from so many key manufacturers, and also our Innovation Alley: we have 22 brand-new companies coming to the show floor, which is more than double from last year.”
No doubt contributing to the draw is the show’s return to this ever-popular host city. “We, as a community, absolutely love Denver,” O’Connor added. “It has been the best city to host this event. This city just gives off an energy that the community loves.”
Apart from staples like high-end audio and trending tech like 8K displays, O’Connor said this year’s Expo will be noteworthy for showcasing other nascent fields in home systems. “The buzz I’ve been hearing about is lighting and where it’s going,” she said. “The lighting providers’ presence is much bigger this year. And that is the gateway you’re seeing into the designers and to the consumer. And it’s not only the lighting, it’s the wellness piece, too, so it’s a balance of these two pieces coming together.”
Overall, CEDIA Expo 2019 promises to present attendees with the latest technologies in every category, components with which they can engineer the house of tomorrow. “Look for new ideas, new things that you can either adapt into your company or that’s going to be a positive disruptor,” O’Connor said. “There are going to be so many great things to see and take back.”