Four months into his tenure as CEDIA’s chief executive officer, Vin Bruno talks to Paul Skelton about how the association plans to refocus on the Australian and New Zealand markets.
Any time members of the home automation industry gather the conversation will eventually turn to CEDIA and what the Association is doing to rebuild in the local market.
It would seem, from the conversations I’ve had, that everybody wants a strong group to guide the industry, especially in the face of some incredibly difficult challenges facing the industry (e.g. the growth of the DIY market, end user awareness and a lack of new talent entering the sector, to name just a few).
Where the conversation stalls (and in some occasions becomes heated), is when the question of how CEDIA can regain its position atop the industry in Australia and New Zealand rears its head.
In February, I spoke with CEDIA chief executive officer Vin Bruno about their plans for A/NZ and how they plan to counter the scepticism that is growing in the market.
Paul Skelton: Why are the Australian and New Zealand markets important for CEDIA to rebuild? And how will you achieve this?
Vin Bruno: CEDIA is dedicated to growing markets all over the world. Wherever home technology is being installed, CEDIA will be there. We want to ensure we are moving forward with relevance. With that in mind, we are dedicating resources from CEDIA HQ in Indianapolis to the Australian and New Zealand markets to determine the next right steps to grow the membership base and provide valuable resources.
PS: Given the challenges CEDIA has faced in recent memory, how will it overcome the scepticism and wariness among former members to re-join the association?
VB: A very important step to rebuilding in Australia and New Zealand has been engaging (Connection Magazines general manager) Jeremy Sweet to join our board of directors. Jeremy has been invaluable in advocating for the market and has provided meaningful insight as we create our strategy. We are confident that as we move forward we will have the right insights to evaluate the priorities for Australia and New Zealand. Further, time will help us overcome scepticism and we appreciate the opportunity to meet and engage with members.
PS: In the past, CEDIA offered very clear incentives to distributor members, many of which are no longer available. Given Australia and NZ are distributor-centric markets, what benefits are there for distributors specifically to join?
VB: We are looking for new ways to partner with distributor members. One program we are considering, which has seen success in the United States, is the authorised training partner program. This program enables distributors to teach CEDIA content in their training facilities. Attendees garner the benefit of both local training and CEDIA content, and distributors have a way to drive traffic to their location. This benefit, when rolled out, would be available exclusively to CEDIA members.
PS: For that to work here, how will CEDIA develop education and training that is relevant to the local markets and encourage/ensure attendance?
VB: Developing curriculum that is tailored to the Australian and New Zealand market will be a process, it won’t happen overnight. The good news is that CEDIA training and certification is more robust than ever and we will work with the membership to understand their needs. We are hopeful in being able to offer a mix of localised training as well as online resources.
PS: On a broader level, what approach will CEDIA take to end user outreach in the region?
VB: We understand that raising awareness about the work CEDIA members do among architects, builders, remodelers and interior designers is a top concern among many CEDIA members around the world. We are vetting opportunities and programs directly with members and on behalf of the industry.