By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
CEDIA (the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) will continue to offer regional education seminars for installers, but the association is debating whether to continue pairing the educational events with a mini trade show.
Attendance at this year's third and final regional event met CEDIA's expectations, but attendance at the first two fell short, said spokeswoman Brittany Nims. "We think we will make some changes." A change of cities and event dates is also on the plate, she said.
This year, CEDIA revamped its regional seminar program by combining them with small trade shows where exhibitors were limited to 10x10-foot booths. The intent was to secure larger convention center venues that could accommodate all of the manufacturers and installers who had been turned away in the past because of a lack of hotel space, said Buzz Delano, a member of CEDIA's manufacturers' council and Sonance's sales director. CEDIA also trimmed the number of regional events to three from five.
About 55 manufacturers attended each of this year's events, in line with expectations and up from about 20 in previous years, Nims said. The year's third event, held in Philadelphia, attracted about 700 installers and 200 manufacturer personnel, but the previous two events in Los Angeles and Miami each attracted only about 300-350 installers, "about the same" as each of last year's events, she said. "We had hoped for more [installers] for the first two events because we brought in the exhibits and extra classes."
"If they were all like Philly," Nims added, "we would keep it the same."
"We're evaluating if we'll continue with a mini Expo or go back to education and training only," said Jeff Kussard, chairman of CEDIA's education committee. "Maybe it was just the timing or other factors [including the economy and 9/11]."
The Los Angeles event was held on President's Day, which many installers may have used to spend time with their school-age children who had the day off, Nims said. The Miami event was held within a week of the Electronic House Expo.
The regional events and annual September Expo have served different industry demographics, the association has said. At the regionals, most attendees are industry newcomers looking to get grounded in the basics of products and installation, Nims said last year.
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