CEDIA’s Keynote Speaker Has Plenty of Irony to Go Around

There’s no doubt that Amazon’s Sarah Zenz will be one of the best keynote speakers CEDIA has ever heard. She’s one of the smartest people at AMAZON, she’s an amazing speaker and she was a kick-ass product manager.

But, in a doubly-irony, she’s been asked, by the ALL-MALE CEDIA board to address the attendees who are largely about to be mostly decimated by the likes of Amazon, Apple and Google.

Look, let’s all be honest here — the CEDIA channel, as it is defined today, is in big, big trouble. And, the next CEDIA board will make or break the distribution channel.

But, this keynote could be the proverbial tipping point.

Amazon is attacking the home from nearly every front. Its Prime Delivery is a no-brainer home-delivery service of nearly everything you want to order – even food, if you add the company’s Pantry service to that. Its Fire product line includes a device for every possible way entertainment is reaching the masses — via the TV, the tablet, the phone and even via the air. Amazon Prime Video not only delivers TV shows and movies to nearly every device with a screen but also now has original content. And, the Echo line, with Alexa, is doing what NO control system in AV has been able to do — make things simple.

As more and more companies join both the Echo eco-system as well as make more of Amazon’s products Wi-Fi compliant, the CEDIA channel, as it is defined today, will suffer.

None of this is good. Deny it all you want but don’t buy stock in ANY glue-company at CEDIA — only the biggies like LG, Samsung, Sony, etc.

But notice I referenced, twice in fact, “the CEDIA channel, as it is defined today.”

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What does this mean? Well, ask your neighbors. Seriously, ask them while pumping gas, while at your local Starbucks, while you’re in the grocery store and while you’re out at dinner. The answer will be the same. They don’t know who the heck Savant, or URC, or Stewart, or Russound, or Xantech, or SnapAV, or AMX, or CINEAK or at least 75 percent of the companies who are at CEDIA are.

But, they do know Lutron. And, thanks to the company’s Caseta — conveniently sold via Amazon and and TRULY self-programming — they all want Lutron control.

Lutron is hitting the jackpot thanks to three big factors: Simplicity, compatibility and availability. Caseta is a no-brainer to set up and control and it’s inherently compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Google Home. It also doesn’t take a three days to quote and sell it — you can log-in, as an Amazon Prime member, buy it immediately and have it the next day, delivered right to your door. Less than 24-hours after you decide you want whole-home control of your lights, you can have it installed and working.

We need way, way more of this. Simplicity. It’s what the customers want.

So, listen carefully as this will be all over Sarah’s keynote. Just listen. Stop being defensive and L-I-S-T-E-N.

Oh, and if you haven’t had a chance to play with — and understand the value of the Amazon Echo with Alexa, run on out to your local Home Depot and buy one on the way home — or order one through Amazon — after all, it’s way faster than calling a HomeAV integration firm.

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