27.08.15

Taking CEDIA Education to the South of Africa

Wendy-Griffiths

By Wendy Griffiths, Executive Director of CEDIA EMEA. CEDIA EMEA is currently active in 41 countries, and is seeing this number contin...

Wendy GriffithsBy Wendy Griffiths, Executive Director of CEDIA EMEA. CEDIA EMEA is currently active in 41 countries, and is seeing this number continue to grow year on year. One country which is seeing continuous membership growth is South Africa. The industry in this country is starting to see a surge in smart home projects, following the recession, and the Association is providing the tools for home technology professionals to be able to win this new business and complete the projects to a high standard, whilst raising awareness of the industry to design professionals. Last month, CEDIA took the opportunity to visit one of its highest growing markets, arranging a five-day in-depth education and networking event, which stopped off in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. Wanting to ensure the latest technology topics were covered, as well as providing a local angle to the learning, CEDIA enlisted the help of subject matter experts, international specialists, and local CEDIA Certified Presenters. At both locations, the Association focussed on education for home technology professionals, presentations for design professionals (working with the South African Institute of Architects & Institute of Interior Designers), and networking for the industry, following on from insight into the technology trends set to hit the industry. Education Eleven training courses and exams were held over the five days, including Cables and Connectivity, Introduction to Lighting Fundamentals and HDMI 2.0. The Residential Networking and Home Cinema Design Workshop sessions both proved extremely popular with attendees, further proof that these established courses remain a top  with most companies within the industry. [caption id="attachment_10302" align="aligncenter" width="1280"]CEDIA in South Africa2 The Association focussed on education for home technology professionals, presentations for design professionals (working with the South African Institute of Architects & Institute of Interior Designers), and networking for the industry.[/caption] CEDIA continues to accept the importance of working with design professionals around the world and South Africa is no exception to this. To support this, the Association invited design professionals to attend dedicated events where we presented our CPD presentation “Designing Integrated Future Ready Homes”. As a reflection of the interest in the smart homes market,  CEDIA received nearly 100 registrations for the two sessions, proofing that there is a demand from this homeowners for integrated technology and that the design community see the importance of working with a professional in this community. Networking and Discussions Home technology professionals and trade suppliers were invited to attend Connect with CEDIA networking sessions. At the Johannesburg event, CEDIA hosted a state of the industry discussion, and allowed attendees to give their opinion on the market. Security and lighting were two key topics, as these are standing out as key driving factors from a client decision making process. CEDIA also heard about the challenges that currently face the industry. These included a lack of consumer confidence in spending due to the recession, concerns relating to politics within the country, and how load shedding is affecting the infrastructure required for smart homes. Despite these concerns, the general consensus was that the industry is on the start of an upward curve. In total, CEDIA welcomed 81 industry attendees over the five days, all of whom chose which sessions best suited them, and gained new skills and knowledge to continue delivering high quality projects in the residential market. For Sbusiso Sobantu from Goat Systems CC, this was his first CEDIA event. He attended several training sessions in Johannesburg, and after gaining further understanding of the benefits of being a CEDIA member, he signed up to be part of the Association. “Becoming a CEDIA member, and attending the training events in South Africa have been on my agenda for a while” commented Sbusiso. “This year, everything fell into place, and I was able to attend the event—something which was a dream come true for me. “I found the Home Cinema Design Workshop to be extremely interesting and useful. The training staff were well informed, easy going and in my case, took the time to explain things in more detail, and provide extra assistance when needed. It was an exciting feeling to be amongst some of the best brains in the industry, and to get the opportunity to meet those who have been doing this job ever since CEDIA began. In all, it was a well organised and successful event, and I look forward to attending more CEDIA training events in the future.” [caption id="attachment_10303" align="aligncenter" width="1280"]In total, CEDIA welcomed 81 industry attendees over the five days, all of whom chose which sessions best suited them. In total, CEDIA welcomed 81 industry attendees over the five days, all of whom chose which sessions best suited them.[/caption] Another first timer was Wade Ngulube, a Systems Designer at BNC Technology, who has been in the industry for just under three years. “Attending a CEDIA event has always been something I looked forward to doing, as I knew that it would expose me to new concepts and avenues as a designer, both technically and holistically. In my role, not only do you need to have the desire and ability to craft things beautifully, but to also commercialise them into functional products. It is important to create an emotional connection between the products (in our case cinemas) and people in any form of design. This is what I learnt during the two-day Home Cinema Design Workshop and the 3D Audio and Immersive Sound for Home Cinema course that I attended at the event. “I am fortunate enough to work for a company rooted in the principles and ethics of CEDIA and have instilled this in every employee they have nurtured and are still nurturing. During my years at University, I didn’t have the opportunity to interact with CEDIA. I believe that the greater presence the organisation has, the great the industry will grow and potentially attract young people to commit themselves into being young professionals in this industry. It's a growing and exciting industry.” This event was hugely significant for CEDIA. Getting such a great turn out of people highlights the requirement for localised events. Also, the feedback that CEDIA receives on the work that it is doing for its members, as well as the concerns that the industry has, is extremely valuable for the association to continue to provide its members with the tools they require to succeed. For more information on CEDIA, visit www.cedia.co.uk