Time marches on, the world is a quickly changing place, and it’s no longer business as usual. Clichés like these have become a daily challenge for organizations like CEDIA that grew organically to serve an unique niche business, during a specific moment in time, and now must cater to a constituency that is getting both older and younger at the same time.
Old-school veterans, some of whom helped create the CEDIA organization more than 20 years ago, and “new-school” entrants into the business seem to have different needs and tend to seek out knowledge in divergent ways.
These are just the latest challenges facing CEDIA, as it seeks to better engage current association members, reach out to a new audience, and simply remain relevant as an organization. On the surface, you may have noticed CEDIA’s attempt at better social media engagement via “Old School versus New School” Twitter debates, but behind the scenes, the organization is also committed to better market research, technical training, and business education endeavors to serve its manufacturer and electronic systems contractor members.
On the education side, the association is reworking the way its CEDIA University courses are taught to help ESCs make smarter decisions based on business goals and interests, not just job function. And CEDIA is more aware than ever that “emerging trends” in technology must be addressed in a different way from how its more fundamental “core curriculum” is presented. The goal is to seek out new subject matter experts from the manufacturer, service provider, integration, and media communities, to track and teach about these ever-changing technology categories. It’s an initiative embraced by companies like Access Networks and ihiji, who are actively engaged in the curriculum to be delivered at CEDIA EXPO next month. “CEDIA continues to look to manufacturers and service providers for these seminars because we’re the subject matter experts that live and breathe this technology everyday,” Access Networks CEO and founder Hagai Feiner said. “At Access Networks, we’ve deployed networks in just about every automated environment, so we can share not only our knowledge of the underlying technology, but also our experience in the field.”
Mike Maniscalco, VP of technical operations for ihiji, was even called upon to teach a more business-centric class on selling service contracts. He said that even though manufacturers benefit from a certain narrowness of expertise that’s useful to CEDIA University, it’s still CEDIA’s role to serve as the gatekeeper and quality control agent to maintain the integrity of its courses. “CEDIA reviews each session’s content for brand mention, checks for accuracy prior to course delivery, requires instructors to sign a code of ethics, and follows up with a post-session internal review process and co-manufacturer attendance to ensure the appropriate interests are always served.”
During this challenging time for our industry, CEDIA knows that an all-hands-on-deck approach is essential. And it’s important that our trade association remains in the center of it all.