Education is Everything at CEDIA Expo 2018
CEDIA’s annual Expo is slated for September 4-8 in San Diego, and the numbers are again robust: 500 exhibitors, 20,000-plus attendees, and more than 110 education sessions, 35 of which are new this year. There’s a renewed focus on education at the association — and the Expo course catalog reflects that.
CEDIA’s Dave Pedigo (vice president, emerging technologies) explains how new classes get added to the Expo offerings (and how some old ones get dropped) — it’s something that’s evaluated after every Expo: “We look at the data, see what classes went well. I break them up personally into quadrants, so I can look at it. Classes that are highly attended and highly evaluated, we'll bring them back.”
As Pedigo and the rest of the CEDIA team evaluates the sessions that have already been on the books, they’re also looking for input. There’s a “call for presentations” process that runs parallel to the team’s work on the existing catalog. Pedigo explains: “The call for presentations is, people say, ‘You know what, I'm an expert in this particular area, and I think that this is something that I want to teach.’ We go through, and we look at all of them, and this year we were just overwhelmed by the number of people who offered to share their knowledge. The topics range from how to make money on service all the way to the changes in cabling from the National Electric Code.”
A Doubling of Profit
Pedigo’s especially proud of what the industry’s done over the past decade — and he believes CEDIA’s commitment to education has helped. “We had a technology council meeting. It was a three-day meeting — this is probably 2010, 2011. We were looking at the emerging trends, opportunities, threats, and the number one threat to the industry was a lack of business acumen by our membership. Not technology changes, those kinds of things, but lack of business acumen.
“Fast forward to 2018, we've seen a doubling of the amount of average gross revenue that our members are making, which is good. I don't think we can take much credit for a stronger, healthier economy and those kinds of things. What I think we can take credit for though, is that we also saw a doubling of net profit. That means that the education in this arena’s having a terrific impact — when you run a business better, you see more in the profit column.”
Pedigo notes that the volunteers who teach CEDIA classes have a broad array of approaches: It’s not cookie-cutter, lecture-with-PowerPoint stuff. Hands-on learning labs are key, along with sessions that encourage attendee discussion with facilitators — these are approaches one can find at various CEDIA sessions.
One class you’ll see is titled “Architectural Cinema,” (offered Wednesday, September 5 at 10 a.m.) and the instructor is a CEDIA stalwart named John Bishop. Bishop’s resume is pretty impressive — he literally needs a minimum of three business cards by way of introduction:
- Personal cinema architect and president, b/a/s/ (Bishop Architectural-entertainment Services, a tech rep firm for high-end entertainment systems and sales engineering);
- Director of architectural audio services for James Loudspeaker Company (including training, presentation, and design consulting for music and cinema systems) and;
- Founder, T/PCA The American Society of Personal Cinema Architects (a design group applying professional cinema standards to high-end residential entertainment systems).
As you’ve likely guessed, Bishop’s been around for nearly the entire lifespan of CEDIA itself. “I was an original Runco International HT guy (from 1993 until they closed shop in 2016) and developed a design utility program for Sam Runco to help launch CineWide,” Bishops recalls. “I called the program the ‘Personal Cinema Architect’ and did many trainings in Cabo and on the HT Technology Cruises with WSR [Widescreen Review]. Before setting up my rep firm in '93, I was EVP of a/d/s/ and helped launch their 'Architectural Audio' CI series of loudspeakers and an audiophile multi-zone electronics system driven by LCD keypads. So, I'm very attuned to architecturally designed homes and the entertainment systems appropriate to them.”
Bishop continues, “As James Loudspeaker's director of architectural audio services, I just launched a series of pre-engineered immersive audio sound system designs for specific room sizes, from 1,500 cubic feet to 24,000 cubic feet with imaging system criteria included. These are simple 7.4.6 architectures, but in the process, I developed a rationale for an immersive sound design that takes into account seat proximity to elevated speaker positions for all three codecs. I'm looking at it in a new way that addresses the practical realities of ceiling heights and wall distances. I also address perimeter sound system design for opaque screens, both projection, and direct LED.”
Bishop tells us that all of this informs the class content, which he calls “a survey of high-end architectural cinema; a 90-minute overview of these issues.” That 90-minute survey is stuffed with practical information, says Bishop. “I’ve just benchmarked a cinema we designed in the Boston area using my 'Architectural Cinema Proof of Performance' procedures, which I'll cover in the class.” The project Bishop references is clearly close to his heart, as one can feel his excitement when he shares the specs: “This is a cool room: It’s SH Acoustics acoustically ‘architect-ed,’ with my imaging design using the Barco Prometheus Blue Laser DCi 4K projector driving a 10' x 24' Stewart Filmscreen Vistascope on an ST100 reference surface. We set up seven pixel-mapped and masked AR's and three light-level modes for SDR, HDR, and ‘lights-up’ entertaining, so one might watch sporting events like the Kentucky Derby in the room while having enough light to socialize.”
That excitement extends to the rest of the class Bishop’s presenting: “If you attend, you'll see a lot of images and hopefully get something useful from some of it, or at least a little food for thought. For example, one of the topics that get a good reaction is my 'Experience Mapping to the Academy Theater' process. It tells the truth about the quality of a movie experience driven by a genuine cinema-viewing geometry. It guarantees design outcomes in that regard.”
The Employee Life Cycle
Of course, the classes aren’t limited to technical knowledge — quite a number are dedicated to business acumen. Courtney Berg is an HR specialist who handles the latter.
has managed retails stores, handled insurance underwriting, studied at med school, and eventually landed at an ambulance company. Along the way, she picked up a unique set of human resource skills that led her to open her own firm specializing in helping small businesses: CourtSide Consulting in Colorado.
She’s also taught a number of courses at CEDIA Expos, and she’s returning with a pair of courses that cover hiring, team building, and even the thorny questions that surround discipline and termination.
When it comes to her day-to-day client interactions, Berg says she’s “a practical strategist. I figure out what's the right strategy for that organization by asking questions, by listening, by really zeroing in on a company’s culture and needs.”
But, while her one-on-one advice is tailored with precision, she’s uncovered some general principles that can help firms both large and small in the CEDIA universe.
On Thursday, September 6, Berg presents a three-hour class called “The Employee Life Cycle Workshop.”
The “life cycle” covers the following for those making hiring decisions:
- What to do before you hire someone
- How to orient them to your company
- How to effectively set expectations and manage their behavior
- How to discipline and terminate employees safely
Berg shares that she covers “preparing attendees to hire people, how they go through the hiring process, how they make a hiring decision, even the interview questions…I give them examples. Then once they get on board, how do you manage that employee day-to-day? How do you manage their activity? How do you keep them engaged? All of those things are going to be in the Employee Life Cycle.”
Dave Pedigo appreciates the time folks like Bishop and Berg donate to the mission: “They're doing it because they want to see the betterment of the industry. These folks don't get paid, they're not paid, speakers.”
And Pedigo always comes back to a central thesis: “There's a document that was written by the World Economic Forum. It's called ‘The Future of Jobs,’ and it really talks about where jobs are heading from 2018 really to 2022. The big takeaway for me? I’ll sum it up: To be successful moving forward, you have to switch your mindset to be a lifelong learner.”
Get more info and sign up for education at CEDIA Expo 2018 here. Save 10% when you register two to three people from your company or save 15% per person for four or more.
CEDIA is the leading global authority in the $14 billion home technology industry.
CEDIA represents 3,700 member companies worldwide and serves more than 30,000 industry professionals that manufacture, design, and integrate goods and services for the connected home.
CEDIA is the brand of custom-installed home lifestyle experiences that define a pathway to prosperity for members and ultimate contentment for clients. This is achieved by engaging all integrators and manufacturers, regardless of level of development and geography, with forward-looking insight and the education, tools, relationships, and support necessary to provide clients with best-in-life experiences at home.