Fall Means Football, School and Electronics

Every year at this time I get excited for many reasons: fall is my favorite season; the grass won’t need cutting for much longer; the Chicago Bears are starting their march to their first Super Bowl victory in more than 20 years; and the CEDIA Expo is only days away. The only thing better would be if I had kids, they’d be going back to school.

Of these, the CEDIA Expo holds the most promise for excitement. Personally, I’m excited to see the incredible new electronic equipment that will be introduced to the market. It’s difficult not to stop at every new flat-screen TV, speaker system, iPod interface, projector, media server, or the hundreds of other new products on display. Professionally, it will be great to find new products to which I can expose RDB readers.

For those who don’t know, CEDIA is an acronym for the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association. CEDIA’s members are contractors who can design, install and seamlessly integrate high-end home technology systems, including home theaters, distributed audio/video, home networks and security systems, to name only a few. The annual expo is in Denver this month from the 14th through the 17th. Register by visiting cedia.net/expo.

As architects and custom builders, you should be as excited about the CEDIA Expo as I am, if not for your own enjoyment, then for your potential clients and home buyers. The Consumer Electronics Association predicts an 8 percent increase in consumer electronics sales in 2006, and 6 percent in 2007.

Sales of lighting controls, home automation and energy management equipment experienced triple-digit growth between 2004 and 2005, according to CEA. The one CEA statistic that should affect you the most is that 23 percent of home buyers who did not purchase a multiroom audio system or home theater system regret that decision. That’s missed opportunity — and profits.

Homeowners want new technology, and they want you to make it available to them. But you don’t have to be an expert in electronics to please them. Let an electronic systems contractor, like a CEDIA member, fill that role. It’ll make you look good, and your projects better.

CEDIA members can bring the same level of value to a project as architects and interior designers; they are the fourth trade. Involve a technology contractor early in your next project. The results can be better design, more product sales, more profit and happier customers. Aren’t these the goals of every project?