CEDIA Expo 2018: Design Connection Tour Sticks the Landing - Designers are the Future
CEDIA Expo 2018 had a lot of weight on its shoulders. It was the first true look at what the new tradeshow company could do. Although the branding and messaging largely stayed the same, there was a host of improvements that became quickly evident including a focus on builders and designers that might have existed before but has never been so prominent.
The message was underscored by the Design Connection Tour - a two-day experience that hosted a dozen or so design thought-leaders as they were given a private tour of many design pioneers in the CI space. That includes Control4, Barco, Nexus 21, Leon Speakers, and a handful of others. It helped paint a picture of how everyone from Vanco to Screen Innovations is doubled down on the success of working with industry partners. The two tours featured two different groups of designers, as well as two different tour guides in David VanWert of VanWert Technology Design and Joe Whitaker of The Thoughtful Home
And the pilot was a huge success. The designers - decorated in their own honors - were hungry for answers and information about screens, projectors, and even a full-stacked Middle Atlantic rack at the Legrand booth. They even stumped a few booths with questions on how products worked, revealing that this is an industry excited to learn about how technology can influence their client's lives.
Even curated speakers at the TechTalks stage addressed why it is so important to begin focusing on building a relationship with designers. They answered questions such as 'Should they meet with the client together or separately?', 'Who should "take the lead" with the customer in a joint sales conversation?', and 'Should the integrator present a proposal directly to the client, or submit it to the designer for a product markup?' It was interesting insight from Barco Residential’s Tim Sinnaeve, Shane Durkin of Flagg Coastal Homes, and Vitrea Smart Home Technology’s Amir Seluk as moderated by Houzz's Paige Ferrante.
The big take away was that communication is key. It is so crucial to begin a project with everyone on the same page and not piecemeal partners in later when the budget is spent or the project is constructed. They stressed the importance of CEU's and lunch-and-learns as well as making an effort at both to bring something new to the table.
Overall, the purpose of the Design Connection Tours gives insight into the future of the industry. We are seeing a lot of collaboration from integrator to integrator, manufacturer to integrator, and association to integrator. But now is the era of industry to industry as projects like Connected Design and CEDIA Expo's Design Connection Tours begin to mature and show just how potent and fruitful relationships outside of your inner circle can be.