With 500 exhibitors, 20,000-plus attendees, and more than 110 education sessions – 35 of which are new this year – CEDIA Expo remains the one can’t-miss event for those in the residential technology industry, especially given its vast training catalog.
So just how does that catalog get built, revised, and updated for each annual Expo?
Education is Everything
CEDIA’s Dave Pedigo (vice president, Emerging Technologies) explains how new courses get added to the Expo offerings (and some old ones get dropped) – it’s something that’s evaluated after every Expo: “We look at the data and see what classes went well. I break them up personally into quadrants so I can look at it. We’ll bring back the classes that are highly attended and highly evaluated.”
As Pedigo and the rest of the CEDIA team evaluates the sessions that have already been on the books, they’re also looking for input. There’s a “call for presentations” process that runs parallel to the team’s work on the existing catalog. Pedigo explains: “The call for presentations is, people say, ‘You know what, I’m an expert in this particular area and I think that this is something that I want to teach.’ We go through and we look at all of them and this year we were just knocked out by the number of people who offered to share their knowledge. The topics range from how to make money on service all the way to the changes in cabling from the National Electric Code.”
A Doubling of Profit
Pedigo’s especially proud of what the industry’s done over the past decade – and he believes CEDIA’s commitment to education has helped. “We had a technology council meeting. It was a three-day meeting – this is probably in 2010 or 2011. We were looking at the emerging trends, opportunities and threats, and the number one threat to the industry was a lack of business acumen by our membership. Not technology changes, but lack of business acumen.
“Fast forward to 2018, we’ve seen a doubling of the amount of average gross revenue that our members are making, which is good. I don’t think we can take much credit for a stronger, healthier economy and those kinds of things. What I think we can take credit for, though, is that we also saw a doubling of net profit. That means that the education in this arena is having a terrific impact – when you run a business better, you see more in the profit column.”
Pedigo notes that the volunteers who teach CEDIA classes have a broad array of approaches: It’s not cookie-cutter, lecture-with-PowerPoint stuff. Hands-on learning labs are key, sessions that encourage attendee discussion with facilitators – these are all approaches one can find at various CEDIA sessions.
And Pedigo appreciates the time these experts donate to the mission: “They’re doing it because they want to see the betterment of the industry. These folks don’t get paid, they’re not paid speakers.”
But Dave Pedigo always comes back to a central thesis, proving that he is an absolute evangelist for continuing education. “There’s a document that was written by the World Economic Forum. It’s called ‘The Future of Jobs,’ and it really talks about where jobs are heading from 2018 to 2022. The big takeaway for me? I’ll sum it up: To be successful moving forward, you have to switch your mindset to be a lifelong learner.”
Find a searchable course catalog, click here.
CEDIA Expo Stats
– CEDIA Expo 2018 | San Diego Convention Center
– Conference: September 4-7, 2018
– Expo: September 6-8, 2018
– CEDIA and Manufacturer Training Schedule: September 4-8, 2018
– CEDIA Awards Americas: September 5, 2018, Petco Park