Long before they grew into industry leaders with sprawling trade show booths, the giants of the CI channel were once but small companies with great ideas. CEDIA Expo is doing its part to foster the next wave of tech trailblazers with its Innovation Alley, and the results have been positive.
Located toward the back end of the show floor, Innovation Alley is a showcase of 22 up-and-coming companies, many of which are exhibiting at CEDIA Expo for the first time. One of these is local Colorado business Emporia Energy, which earlier this year launched its first product, the Vue smart home energy monitor. “It’s been going really well, we’re getting a lot of great traffic,” said Marty Stadelmaier, the company’s director of strategic partnerships. “A lot of folks are interested in what we’re doing. It’s reinforcement that we’re heading down the right track.”
Orlando, FL-based Konnected is also making its debut at this year’s Expo. “This is our first time at CEDIA Expo, it’s our second trade show ever,” said Ben Lebson, electrical engineer at the company, which develops sensors that connect old, pre-wired security systems to leading home automation systems. Currently operating in the DIY space, Konnected is looking to get into the custom install market, which led them to the show. “[Exhibiting] has been great. We’ve been getting a lot of interest, especially with some of the higher-end home automation platforms.”
The show also been a worthwhile experience for A Cloud of My Own. Based in Cambridge, MA, the company provides network and IoT device security for smart homes, with the aim of protecting smart devices from hackers. “We’ve made great connections with folks, potential partnerships as well as interest from installers,” said Jay Hartley, the company’s CEO and founder.
“For a first-time exhibitor, we wanted to see the value that CEDIA would bring to us,” said Michael Li of doqxD, an Atlanta-based manufacturer of accessories for smart home devices, particularly Google. “We’ve definitely found a lot of attendees who have an interest in accessories. It’s a win-win: we help the installers learn about how they can increase their business, and they learn about Google’s new smart displays.”
As a developer of backend software server and design tools for custom control and automation systems, Washington-based CIWare Labs has succeeded in getting some promising leads as a first-time exhibitor. “I’ve found the show riveting,” said Todd Bartleson, the company’s senior software engineer. “Everybody’s got something really interesting to say. There’s lots of cool ideas and technologies and tricks here, and I’ve been very impressed by that so far.”
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