HTA (The Home Technology Association) is exactly what our industry needs right now and the HTA Summit proves it.

As an integrator in the NJ/NYC area, I have the opportunity to attend not only the major expos and events across the country but also those hitting The Big Apple. I make a point to attend as many of these events as possible, always learning and taking away something – whether it’s a new way to look at business or a new product to include. The Home Technology Association Summit in New York City proved to be an event that stood out among many in our industry.

Offering up rigorous standards that homeowners should be looking for and creating an elite group of dealers across the country who pass their screening process, HTA is already filling a big void in the AV and Automation industry. HTA is designed to empower homeowners and the specification community but is also empowering their certified dealers and allowing them to differentiate themselves from the ever growing crowd of AV integrators.

At their first summits which took place in both LA and NYC, HTA offers up more than the normal technology summit. Focusing on what makes their certified dealers different, presentations spoke about creating the experience for our clients, not just the technology. With significant installation experience and solid business practices a requirement to be HTA certified, dealers benefited from speakers like Ben Pearson who touched on bringing the luxury experience to clients– an often overlooked topic at technology events. If integrators are solely focused on the final product, they’re losing out on making the installation part of the experience and building long standing relationships. Joey Kolchinsky touched on providing next level service after the installation, making sure clients receive the ultimate in post install service without dealers losing their mind. These presentations were targeted for those dealers working in luxury homes and provided invaluable information and business practices to take back and implement to help make sure clients are being taken care of from beginning of the relationship and beyond. The final presentation of the day by Dan Cauflield was hilarious and honest as he explained how to grow your business to the next level, get out of your own way, and “stop being stupid”.

Perhaps it isn’t surprising that in a room focused on providing exceptional experiences to our clients, there was a great presence of women. As my partner and I looked around the room, we were both pleasantly surprised to see more women representing integrators. In an industry that needs more women, it was refreshing to see a bigger mix at the summit.

Aside from the speakers and brief presentations from some of the leading AV brands such as Crestron and AudioControl, one of the biggest benefits to attending HTA’s first summit was the camaraderie. Through lunch, margarita break time, and the post summit dinner, dealers connected with brand sponsors, presenters, and other dealers. Dinner was full of conversation about the industry, business, what’s worked and what hasn’t, but more importantly personal connections were made. Many who know of each other through social media were able to connect in person. Now that HTA’s first summit is over and dealers have come together, it’s our responsibility to continue highlighting the Home Technology Association and educating home owners and specifiers. As HTA continues to provide standards our industry desperately needs, it’s up to us to get the conversation so loud you not only hear the dealers, you hear their echo.