The message at the CE Pro Summit held at the Omni at Championsgate in Orlando was simple: Now is the time for growth.
Integrators, some of whom have doubled their revenues in 2014, gathered for the hosted event to share ideas, network with each other, meet with key vendors and socialize in the warm Florida sunshine for three days.
The event kicked off with a “Milk, Cookies & Marketing” session presented by Netsertive’s Jamie Sasser. He explained the nuances of web advertising and the how dealers can maximize their online presence. The group then went directly into a two-hour brainstorming session sponsored by ConnectWise on ideas to manage their growth. Attendees broke into roundtable discussions and then presented their winning ideas to the entire group. (Keep your eyes peeled for a full report on the session.)
That evening, Core Brands hosted a networking reception that featured a troupe of actors, some of whom were scantily clad mingling to help lighten the mood among the attendees.
The next morning it was all business with a panel discussion sponsored by Sengled that outlined seven key technologies to “ride” to success. Panelists Ryan Heringer of Sound Concepts in Jonesboro, Ark., Ashley Morelli of System7 in Boston, and Joey Kolchinsky of OneVision Resources in Boston overviewed the huge success they are experiencing in Ultra HD TVs, digital signage, IP cameras, managed networks, streaming audio, lighting control and shade control.
Attendees spent the rest of the day in boardroom presentations from sponsors, and much of the following day in one-on-one appointments with ADI, Alarm.com, Almo, APC, Aten, Atlona, AudioControl, Autonomic, AVocation Systems, Axis Communications, Azione Unlimited, Bose, Boston Acoustics, Channel Vision, Chief, Cisco, ConnectWise, Cool Components, Core Brands, Crestron, D+M Group, Dana Innovations, Denon, Dish Networks, D-Tools, Elan, Epson, Fortress Seating, Hall Research, HDBaseT Alliance, Herman Pro AV, HTSA, IC Realtime, ihiji, Integra, iPort, Just Add Power, KEF, Kramer, leaf, Legrand, Leon Speakers, Leviton, Liberty AV Solutions, Lutron Electronics, Luxul, Marantz, MechoShade Home Systems, Metra, Middle Atlantic Products, NEAR, NEC, Netsertive, NuVo, On Controls, Origin Acoustics, Pakedge, Panamax, Paradigm, Pro Controls, ProSource, Revenew, RTI, Salez Toolz, Sanus, Screen Innovations, Security Partners, Sengled, SnapAV, SpeakerCraft, Sonance, Sony, SpringDeck, Stampede, Stealth Acoustics, Structured Cable Products, Sufire, Synnex, Tigerpaw, Torus Power, TruFig, USAV, Vutec, Vantage, West Penn Wire, Windy City Wire, ZeeVee, and Zigen.
Following a luncheon keynote from noted advertising executive Roy Spence that was sponsored by Tigerpaw, the group gathered for another set of roundtable discussions sponsored by Dish. This two-hour time slot focused purely on ideas around rapid hiring and onboarding new employees. The group netted lots of new ideas on how to find employees, as well as cautionary advice. (Look for full session report to follow.)
The final day of the Summit kicked off with a presentation, sponsored by HDBaseT, from TecHome Builder’s Steve Castle about what builders are looking for in terms of technology, as well as integrators. Amazingly, data show that finding a good integrator is still the No. 1 problem facing builders in terms of adopting new technologies. Castle showed some out-of-the-box ideas that builders came up with for home technology, but he said the key for an integrator to capture a builder’s attention might be in figuring how to offer technology in kitchens and bathrooms, which are the two key rooms in any new home these days.
The Summit concluded with a finale presented by Origin Acoustics. Advising dealers to “stay on target” with their message and their focus, Origin’s Jeremy Burkhardt and Dave Donald invited the group to try their hand at archery. Dealers had a chance to hit targets across the lawn to win prizes under the instruction of professional archers. It was a great way to end the three days of intense meetings.
“I am walking out of here with a notebook full of ideas,” commented John Clancy of Audio Command. Similarly, Dave Gilbert of Hi-Fi Guys said he has gathered several immediate actionable ideas for his business.
Next year’s CE Pro Summit will be held August 17-19, 2015 at the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel in Maryland.