As the custom installation world becomes more entrenched in areas such as lighting fixtures and power of ethernet, battlegrounds are developing between the worlds of low-voltage electronics and high-voltage electrical. The natural evolution of the technology has led integrators to expand into these growing areas, while electricians in many cases look to “protect their turf” by working to have local and state municipalities pass potentially restrictive laws against CE pros.
That’s when CEDIA’s often-unheralded role of advocacy for the industry becomes so important.
At the upcoming CEDIA Expo 2022 in Dallas, CEDIA will be holding its first-ever Advocacy Town Hall open to all attendees. At this breakfast event on Thursday, September 29, attendees are asked to come ready to share information and find out how they can work together with CEDIA to advocate for the industry. CEDIA CEO Daryl Friedman and director of government affairs joined the podcast to tell us more details.
“We’ll be convening all of our members and non-members — everybody who’s attending CEDIA Expo — to learn about the important issues that are happening that affect their business day to day,” says Friedman. “Many people don’t even realize it, but the government relations and the regulations that happen in their local jurisdiction, and at the state and federal level impact your business. In the worst-case situation, if CEDIA wasn’t here, it could actually shut down their business.”
The goal of the Advocacy Town Hall is to express to integrators why and how they can get involved. It’s one thing for legislators to hear from the association, but it has increased credence when their local constituents… in this case custom installation companies… are also in their ear.
“The government can decide whether you have a robust business or whether you have no business,” adds Friedman. “We want all of the people in this community… the integrators and manufacturers… to be part of that campaign with us.”
Reaman explains the format for the Advocacy Town Hall will be a panel discussion with integrators who have been actively working at the municipal level on licensing and permitting issues.
Will Breaux, business development manager at iconic.systems in Houston, along with Leon Soohoo, president and CEO of Paradyme in Sacramento, Calif., will join Reaman and Friedman for the discussion. The breakfast starts at 7:30 a.m., with the presentation kicking off at 8 a.m.
Reaman says most of the legislation being drafted that could adversely affect integrators is from the electrical industry.
“As the technology has evolved, integrators are installing more lighting and PoE devices. Those are large causes for licensing or a change in the scope of work of who can install what product,” he says, adding that there are also some restrictive regulations that are driven by the security industry, but not as many as from the electrical industry.
CEDIA maintains a system using keywords to identify and track potential legislation, but Reaman says having local integrators involved is important.
“An important part is hearing from our local members of what they’re hearing,” he notes. “So if you hear something, please get in touch with me and we can work through the process. The sooner we can hear about it, the more time we have to hopefully have a positive outcome for our members in that jurisdiction and the industry as a whole.”
To that end, at the Advocacy Town Hall there will be terminals where integrators can plug in their address and the software will then automatically send an advocacy message that the dealer’s local or state representatives.
“It is a very quick and easy way to write your legislator and get on the record as being somebody who cares about this industry. As their constituent, you’re the boss of that person you vote them into the office you can vote them out of office. All politics are local,” concludes Friedman.
Hear more from Friedman and Reaman by watching or downloading the podcast above. Find past episodes of the CE Pro Podcast by subscribing to the CE Pro YouTube channel or our Apple and Spotify podcast feeds.