The Next Chapter Begins

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Virtually everyone that I have spoken to since CEDIA EXPO in Denver last month saw this years show as an important milestone for our industry. While we often look ahead in this column, lets first highlight what made EXPO such a key event.

Yet again, EXPO attendance records were broken, topping 28,000. Even more clearly evident, however, was the transition from convergence to collision in the types of products and technology that were unveiled in Denver. Computer, security, and even commercial video suppliers were not tucked away in remote areas and small booths, but instead they were uncompromisingly nestled amid other traditional CEDIA-channel suppliers. And despite all of the extra room provided by the Colorado Convention Center, space at the show was in such demand that suppliers lined the hallways as CEDIA attempted to accommodate all who wanted to display their products.

As my term on the CEDIA board of directors ended on the last day of the show, Im now looking forward to my role as a council chair for the new Associate & Affiliate Member Council. This group will look to gain greater participation of all manufacturers, sales representatives, consultants, distributors, and other affiliates (including press) within the CEDIA organization, with direct benefits to the main residential electronic systems contractor (RESC) members.

Former CEDIA president, Ray Lepper, who also attended the last board meeting of his term and encouraged all to stay focused on the strategic plan for CEDIA, provided one of my favorite quotes of the show. He stated, As we are looking forward to the next few years, my hope is that we remain strategically focused so that we are seen more as a member of the building community and less as an alternate form of retail.

Last month I mentioned attending a curriculum meeting for customer relations. Progress continues for creating course material for the Electronic Systems Customer Relations (ESCR) College within CEDIA University as the new Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) met at CEDIA EXPO. This college will be providing RESC member companies with important new tools for improving sales, marketing, public relations, and customer interaction efforts throughout the member organizations.

As we look ahead to upcoming events and topics within our industry, hopefully many saw the events that shaped this years EXPO as yet another peek into the exciting and challenging new chapter that we have begun to write.

I am confident that we are up to the task. We are the industry that, several years ago, looked at what existed in the market and created a new way of bringing systems solutions to the marketplace and into peoples homes. With this same confidence, we are ready to talk in terms of the home as content and designing the home environment; fulfilling homeowners design requirements and need for safety and escape. But, were not stopping with this idea, we want them to be able to take that lifestyle with them on the road with portable media and have multi-home synchronization. And, while many of you are probably saying that were already doing that now, the unfortunate truth is that too few people know it. The only measure that we have of our impact on the market is the extent of our ubiquity within it. This is why I urge all of us to discuss, work through, and collaborate with others inside and outside of what we perceive as us in leveraging this next chapter.

Many of us know-what-we-know to do what were doing now, but dont-know-what-we-dont-know in going where were going. Learning to know-what-we-dont-know and becoming competent in what will be needed requires effort and instruction from others. In so doing we will also have our part in defining whats needed. For example, what process electronically can we create that allows for us, the architect, the builder, and interior designer to be working together in a living, dynamic blueprint of a home while its being built? A homebuilder who I heard from this year is doing just that and achieving incredibly efficient home completion schedules. Im anxious to see how much we have written in this chapter by this time next year.

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