The best kind of smart home is one that’s designed to be smart from the outset, and CEDIA is doing its best to make sure more and more builders are aware of that.
At the 2017 International Builders Show (IBS), part of Design & Construction week, going on now through January 12 in Orlando, FL, CEDIA is working to maintain and forge new connections between the home technology and builder communities. Through its Smart Home Pavilion on the show floor and a series of presentations, classes, and panels, CEDIA—as well as its integrator volunteers and 13 manufacturer members—is doing its part to help members get in on the ground floor of new construction.
One of the key benefits of this presence, according to Dave Chic, CEDIA’s senior director of industry relations, is helping to dispel apprehensions and misconceptions that builders often have of residential technology.
“Builders are a little afraid of it because they just have a feeling that it’s going to eat up their budgets, that things are going to be compromised—maybe some granite countertops or the screened-in porch, something like that,” he said. “They have a fear that once it’s installed, it’s going to break, and they won’t know what to do with it. They have a fear that they don’t even know where to start to research products, and installation times, and when all of this happens during the process.”
A staple of CEDIA’s presence at this show has been its educational offerings, and this year there are 10 20-minute presentations, one 45-minute presentation, one hour-long classroom presentation, and two interactive panel sessions. And for the 10th year, CEDIA is presenting an emerging trends class (which Chic said has historically been one of the most highly rated and attended classes held at the show each year) titled, “Residential Technology Trends That You Can’t Afford to Miss,” presented by Dave Pedigo, CEDIA’s VP of emerging technologies.
“What we feel like our responsibility is, is to be at these events to open the doors for members in their respective communities,” Chic said. “As you can imagine, it would be hard for them to be away from doing business to [attend] a show like this… however, all of the CEDIA volunteer presenters are integrators. So they will be delivering the important message of the value of collaboration, and that there are professionals within these folks’ communities that they can work with to, as we always tell them, get your integrator involved from the very beginning.”
CEDIA is also presenting its Finder Service, a program that helps builders locate a CEDIA member in their community. “We’re trying to get that information into the hands of all of the people who come to events like this,” Chic said. “It’s one thing for us to be in a classroom and tell these builders, ‘You’ve got Alexa, you’ve got Nest, here’s an HVAC system, here’s our recommendations for smart home,’ and then the person leaves. We want to make sure we’re giving them the resources to be able to leave the IBS with some things that they can go ahead and start the minute they get back into their offices.”
For integrators looking to take initiative in connecting with builders in their areas, there’s the CEDIA Outreach Instructor (COI) program. Developed 10 years ago, COI trains CEDIA members to provide training and education to builders in their communities. “So, in essence,” Chic said, “what they can do is they can call the home builders association in their neighborhood and say, ‘Hey, I know you’re doing a parade of homes next week, and you have some need for some education courses. I can offer you continuing education classes at no cost, and I’ll instruct.’ That way, those folks have a direct connection to that person as being the expert in their area.”
For Chic and CEDIA, though, this International Builders Show is shaping up as a refreshing reminder that relations between the technology and building communities are moving in a positive direction. “We know now that people are embracing technology; they know they have to do it,” Chic said. “Clients are mandating that their homes have these technologies. So we’re seeing now more so than ever that the NHB folks are really embracing this. It’s been a wonderful progression, I will say that.”