From CEDIA, the Power Hour Webinar Series delivers business-growth topics that affect electronic systems contractors with topics ranging from new opportunities to emerging technologies.

With economics and technologies ever changing, with varied forces challenging custom electronics firms as they run faster to keep ahead, the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) has fashioned a handy and useful solution. Its Power Hour Series of Web-based educational programs have brought together diverse experts and instructors to share their knowledge and business observations during frequent offerings. Easy to fit into a busy executive’s day, Power Hour presentations have already caught the attention of perceptive businesses. Russ Pritchard, for one, has powered up to aid his firm, The Audio Warehouse. “It was helpful to hear of trends and other dealer experiences,” he says.
What themes are scheduled for upcoming Power Hour events?

Power Hour has brains and brawn for residential electronic systems professionals.
“Face it. Technology is a fast paced business and it’s only getting faster. And it’s imperative to keep up with the changes. With the power of the Internet, clients are being educated at the same pace we are in many cases,” says Pritchard, whose Charleston, S.C., firm, going on 26 years in the industry, has itself evolved from a specialty retailer to a nationally recognized leader in the custom electronics industry.
So it is not surprising that Pritchard harnessed Internet power for his continuing education through the CEDIA’s Power Hour Series of Webinar programs. An international trade association of companies that specialize in planning and installing electronic systems for the home, CEDIA, its members and programs cover systems including home networking; home automation and communication systems; media rooms; single and multi-room entertainment systems; and integrated whole-house subsystems providing lighting control, security, and HVAC systems.
The Power Hour is just as aggressive an educational effort as the association’s overall agenda.
The bottom line: frequently scheduled in-depth learning experiences through the Power Hour Webinar Series deliver business-growth topics that affect electronic systems contractors. The CEDIA Technology Council, CEDIA University e-Learning, Survival of the Fittest, and Industry Outreach teams have joined forces to provide relevant and timely information on emerging trends, new revenue streams and technical education, according to the association’s Jamie Riley.
Pritchard, a satisfied Power Hour attendee, observes, “It was helpful to hear of trends and other dealer experiences. I find this one of the most useful forms of feedback since most dealers face many of the same issues that I do. And it’s always helpful to hear from someone who has already cut their teeth on a new idea or product.”
Pritchard, whose firm is a founding member of CEDIA, pridefully points to how Power Hour sessions can impact bottom lines. “We are pioneering our own version of a service model for recurring revenue. The Power Hour presenter had some great points and suggestions.”
These special educational offerings, like others available through the association, can include continuing education units or CEUs.
Among upcoming Power Hour events:
In late February, the theme is retrofit. It is no secret that the new construction market has slowed, and that has caused many professionals in the electronic systems industry to explore a more retrofit-based business model. New technologies currently make it easier to use existing home infrastructure, and the retrofit market is increasing due to this and many other factors, according to CEDIA’s Riley.

Wednesday, Feb. 24
Making Home Technology Profitable in a Retrofit Market - Powered by CEDIA Industry Outreach
The session helps professionals recognize business opportunities relative to home technology in retrofit projects. It is offered in conjunction with the National Association of Home Builders.

Thursday, Feb. 25
Using a Home's Existing Wiring for Retrofit Installations - Powered by CEDIA Technology Council
Continuing an emphasis on retrofit services, this session spotlights best practices for performing high-quality retrofit installations using existing coaxial cable and sheathed, insulated wire (Romex) within the home.

In March, Power Hour topics center on the business theme of sustainability, points out CEDIA’s Riley.

Tuesday, March 2
Growing Sustainable Business Practices - Powered by Survival of the Fittest
Attendees will discover new avenues from peers on how to incorporate sustainable practices into business strategies.

Thursday, March 11
Offering and Conducting Energy Audits - Powered by CEDIA Technology Council
With energy management services growing at a rapid pace, performing an energy audit is a smart business way to educate clients on how a company’s services can help accomplish energy reduction. This Power Hour presentation covers whether a firm should become a certified energy auditor, and how to use energy auditing as a sales method and new revenue stream.

Wednesday, March 17
Home Technology Relative to the Sustainable Initiative - Powered by CEDIA Industry Outreach
A sustainable home is more than energy efficiency. Here is how to look at the big picture. Learn how technology will assist homeowners with maintaining a comfortable and healthy environment, while achieving a client’s “green goals.” This unique webinar is designed to educate industry partners.

Thursday, March 25
Managing Successful Business Connections - Powered by CEDIA University e-Learning
Discover how to identify and qualify potential business connections with design and build professionals, an ideal way to form lasting relationships.