I moderated a Webinar panel this month with CEDIA. It was an opportunity for the industry to get know the new CEDIA Chairman, Federico Bausone, better and to fire some hard-hitting questions at the assembled panelists.

If you follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter you were aware of it and hopefully able to join us. If you were unable to join us or would like to hear the archived Webinar again, please log onto customretailer.net and click on the Webinar button. In preparation for the panel I reached out to several CEDIA members and non-members alike, across the US.

One thing is certain, many of the integrators are either coming back slowly from the recession, or they have found niches in their particular markets to concentrate on for the future. One integrator told me that in some ways, as bad as the last few years have been, it’s no different than the business model cycle we’ve always had: “In the early 90s we provided theaters and whole-house audio to doctors, in the late 90s it was the dot.com guys. In the early-mid 90s it was the Wall Street types…Now I have gone back to my previous clients, who don’t want to or cannot move homes. Enough time has gone by, they figure they’ll start putting money into the entertainment and automation of these homes they’re going to stay in for the foreseeable future.”

A major niche in many parts of the country is commercial design and integration; we’ve been talking about this potential for quite some time. As promised, our new column on Commercial Opportunities debuts this month. If you have something to add about the challenges of commercial integration, products or techniques that have made your life easier or just how you have worked with the business owner/corporation vs the homeowner, please drop me an email at Mjenson@napco.com.

I would love to read and possibly share some of your electronic systems contractor experiences in the commercial realm; cautionary tales welcome!