There’s something to say about the fact that the millennials are swiftly entering the housing market. And coupled with their love (and near dedication to technology), it should come as no surprise that these are also the consumers who are ripe with enthusiasm towards connected home technology. As a matter of fact, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate recently published a study that did more than justify this changing of the tides, highlighting that 77% of ‘Millennials’ surveyed seek “essential, purposeful homes with the technological capabilities they have grown accustomed to”.
With that in mind, there’s no better place than CEDA EXPO for us 20-somethings to immerse ourselves in the wonders of smart home solutions – and the custom integration that turns these high-tech dreams into a reality. Whether attending as a PR representative (like myself!), brand marketing associate, integrator-in-training or savvy consumer, CEDIA EXPO is a one-of-a-kind classroom that educates us on the latest and greatest home tech trends. With a sneak peek at exciting new product introductions and the opportunity to network face-to-face with the brains behind these impressive solutions, CEDIA EXPO has quickly become one of my most beloved and highly anticipated industry events. Although, I’m not quite a vet, this will be my third EXPO and as one of the new kids on the block, I’ve put together a crash course for other young and encouraged minds to help maximize your show experience:
- Plan accordingly. If you’re attending the show for business, don’t forget those cards! Business cards are one of the easiest ways to stay connected with your fellow home tech specialists, allowing you to collect emails and additional contact info. It’s also great to keep a notebook handy and a good camera – whether that’s your smartphone or an easily portable digital. Trust me, you’ll want to jot down notes and capture video or snapshots of your favorite technology, it’ll be great inspiration for you down the road.
- Set your sights on special events. Whether it’s First Time Attendee Orientation or the Opening Keynote, CEDIA has a ton of great events planned to help you ease into the show and really get your bearings. Especially as an industry newbie, events not only help you to dive into networking, but also act as a great foundation for your show experience. This year’s Opening Keynote will be given by Sony Electronics President, Mike Fasulo – definitely one you will not want to miss!
- Get social. Yea of course you’ll want to hit up some of those networking cocktail hours, they’re a great way to unwind and reconnect with both new and familiar faces from the show floor, but it’s also key to get rockin’ on social media! Make sure to follow the #CEDIA14 hashtag for the most up-to-date conversations and coverage. And if you’re a social media junkie like me, it’s also fun to turn to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as a means to documenting your favorite moments from your CEDIA trip. (PS: some of us foodies also like to share our favorite CEDIA meals throughout the week, use the hashtag #EatCEDIA to join in on our fun…we’re hoping to top last year’s trip with even more mouthwatering pics!)
- Go mobile. The CEDIA EXPO 2014 App is my go-to resource for navigating the show; it’s a no brainer since I’m practically attached to my iPhone. The mobile app allows you to pull all of the information you need straight to your favorite mobile device including: schedules of sessions and events, exhibitor booth and product information, interactive show floor map (aka life saver!), and local information such as restaurants and shopping.
- Enjoy Denver after-hours. After you’ve had a long day jam-packed with trainings, booth visits and networking, you deserve a little down time, and there’s no better place than the city of Denver. I’ve been fortunate enough to me nurtured and lead by some of the best and brightest CEDIA veterans who know where the hottest spots are to fill your belly and quench your thirst. My must-visit haunts include:
Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen (1317 14th Street); try the drink called “Unicorn Tears”…it’s beyond delicious. They ain’t messing around behind that bar.
The Market Café (1445 Larimer Street); a vast Hot Toddy menu and Nutella flavored iced coffee, what more could you want?
Beast + Bottle (719 E. 17th Ave.); seasonally-inspired farm-to-fork goodness. I once went for dinner, then for brunch the next day. No shame in my game. Can’t rave about this place enough.
Overall, CEDIA EXPO is an amazing experience for home tech professionals of any age, but it’s also become a critical element as I personally and professionally grow within this industry. For those who will experience #CEDIA14 for the first, or maybe second time, relish in the opportunity to explore hundreds of new audio/video, control, networking and lighting products – these innovations really are the best of the best and will shape our industry for years to come. Makes you feel pretty special that you get to be a part of it all, no?
Quick reminder for all who have yet to register for CEDIA EXPO, you can score FREE access by registering with Guest Code CT7 – so help this #CEDIATweep out while securing your spot at the show!