CEDIA, the global trade association and central touch point for residential technology, was one of the first players in the AV world to look at COVID-19, and adapt to help their many members, installers and integrators. They launched the CEDIASTRONG program, for global scale virtual events, roundtable discussions, webinars and even a Scholarship Fund.
Let’s talk about virtual events. These are not the same as live events - the ability to smile face-to-face, to actually look at a high-resolution display, to check out and get amazed by the latest products in the market… That’s quite the experience. But after having experienced the CEDIA EXPO Virtual event, I am sold on the idea that such events are not only an acceptable replacement when live events cannot take place, but also a suitable platform to interact with fellow professionals, learn about other companies and organizations, and promote your products and services.
The HDBaseT Alliance not only ‘attended’ the event, but we also had our own booth, live sessions, and participated in some of the educational sessions (such as the CEDIA Deathmatch: Video Transport Technologies) and events (such as the Tech Bites.) We hosted some of our members in our booth, uploaded several brochures, videos and use cases, and were available for any virtual discussion during the event. All-in-all, it was a very successful event. CEDIA EXPO did an amazing job in setting up the platform, and helping exhibitors to make the most out of it. Was it perfect? No, but neither are live events. But it was extremely exciting, and, in many ways, we were able to learn more, engage more, and contribute more to the overall experience.
It’s not that virtual events are ‘easier’ than live events, in terms of set-up and breakdown… It’s a different kind of set-up (and having to deal with tech hitches can be frustrating sometimes), but it demands just as much (if not more) focus and effort from the different groups in a company or association. Messaging, content, overall look-and-feel, goals, and how to make sure to meet those goals. Even though we’ve had virtual events in the past six months, the CEDIA EXPO took it to a different level, with a full schedule of educational sessions, virtual booths, and joint events. What’s more important, the whole event is still up on the platform, and you are all invited to visit the site and watch the recorded versions of event & sessions. The platform will be up until December 2020. I do invite you to check out our recorded sessions:
- Maximizing the Residential Experience with More Speed, with Alliance member MSolutions, and learn how HDBaseT's latest specification - Spec 3.0 - significantly improves the overall residential experience
- Audio Return Channel: How to Manage Whole Home Audio with Smart TV’s Internal Apps, with Alliance member AVPro Edge, and experience HDBaseT as the ultimate solution to optimize residential installations with the distribution of Audio Return Channel (ARC) signals back to the rack and into a distributed audio system.
- One Step Ahead: Keeping Order in Chaos with HDBaseT, with Alliance member Grandbeing, and check how to address the new residential challenges of today by leveraging HDBaseT technology.
- The Importance of CEC and ARC in Today’s Connected Home, with Alliance member Pulse-Eight, and learn how CEC and ARC can be extended with HDBaseT for a better and more efficient residential installation.
In many ways, even when we go back to live events (hopefully soon), there is no reason to give up on virtual events, as we can reach out to people who may not be able to attend every relevant live event (because they are not available at the dates, because of cost, because of family, health or other issues). Virtual events – just like webinars – bring considerable benefit to all of us, and we should make the most of it whenever possible. The fact that most – if not all – sessions are recorded provide us with even more flexibility as to when to attend it and learn from it. In addition, the ability to upload our latest content (about Spec 3.0, about residential installations, videos, press releases and more) is a major benefit of such events.
We are looking forward to the upcoming ISE 2021 and InfoComm International 2021. At the moment, they are being planned as regular, live events. Will this hold true? We don’t know – we have no control over what’s going on. But we are ready to adapt & make the most out of it. Will you join us?