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Questions and Answers

Often getting the answers you really need is a function of knowing enough to ask the right questions.

The book for our industry is just now being written, so sometimes its difficult to know the right questions to ask. Now, as we move toward CEDIA EXPO, its appropriate to mention some answers CEDIA is providing to the questions asked by the industry and its members.

First, as a residential electronic systems contractor (RESC), have you ever asked how we can avoid feeling like were filling an involuntary role as a beta test site? And, manufacturers, how impossible does it seem to design products without having a good understanding of what your products will be connected to? The newest answer is the CEDIA Technology Council. CEDIA will not only be acting more proactively in networking new technology information for and with its members, but CEDIA is now initiating efforts to create a product development and testing lab to work with member manufacturers. In this lab CEDIA will evaluate new products during their development as well as investigate and debug how those new products interact with other products in electronic systems.

Second, if youre not a regular RESC member of CEDIA, have you ever asked how can I find a better way of plugging into and contributing to CEDIA? What has been called the Manufacturers Council is becoming a bigger tent, and will now be called the Associate and Affiliate Member Council. More emphasis is being placed on increasing interaction with all affiliate and associate members. CEDIAs main RESC membership will derive greater benefit from the additional information and perspective gained from all manufacturers, sales representatives, consultants, and press.

Third, and potentially one of the most important questions, have you ever wondered how legislation at the state and federal levels might affect your business? CEDIA has full-time staff dedicated specifically to this area and is actively monitoring and advocating on members behalf. Their efforts include consensus building with our industry partners and other associations, advocating new legislation that is in line with our members benefit and marshalling grassroots resistance to unfavorable legislation. Investigating this area will also yield a greater understanding as to why CEDIA is heavily involved with certification requirements. And, despite the daunting size of some of the other players, CEDIA has been very successful in identifying and defending against potential legislation that could negatively affect RESC member businesses.

Finally, have you ever thought the CEDIA regionals just werent doing it for you anymore? As a manufacturer and a sales representative with all this equipment and staff thats needed, have you asked why cant we cut down on the number of these events? Isnt there something CEDIA can do to grow the industry pie and help us generate better connections with the architect, interior designer, and builder communities? The answers started in February of this year in San Francisco following the CEDIA Management Conference. It was called the Electronic Lifestyles Forum. We invited national leaders and speakers respected by the community of architects, designers, and builders. For the ESC members who attended, they found that our industry is getting their attention, and they are engaged. Many attendees even asked if they could attend a showing of our products. That answer is coming in stage two with CEDIAs new Electronic Lifestyles EXPO in Las Vegas, April 18-21, 2007. With this one event CEDIA is helping to grow the industry pie. Architects and designers are attracted to it because they receive AIA and ASID credits for attending this event, while CEDIA is consolidating its regional education into one venue.

Now arent you glad you asked?

Andrew Ard is a CEDIA board member and chairman of IPRO in Dallas, Texas.