Despite all the strength of the custom installation channel, there are many suppliers in the IoT, wellness and other key smart home categories that are still unaware of it. Well, CEDIA is doing something about it with its newly announced CEDIA Propel affinity program.

The program is designed to connect association members to new brands and products from emerging categories… just like the thousands of smart home products at a CES trade show in Las Vegas that still don’t use, but probably should use, the custom electronics channel. It also aims to be an avenue for manufacturers that are already using the channel to test the waters with new products for the channel.

The initial three suppliers engaged in CEDIA Propel, which includes bringing preferential pricing to integrators, are Amazon Ring, Bryte Restorative Beds, and Immersive Gym. Propel is open to all manufacturer members of CEDIA, existing and new.

The initial three brands in CEDIA Propel are all engaged in the world of IoT and the explosive growth category of health and wellness. CEDIA says the roster of brands participating in Propel will grow over time, with the focus on positioning new and innovative products for the custom integration marketplace, and driving adoption with compelling incentives. Participation in the Propel program is open to all CEDIA members.

According to Giles Sutton, senior vice president of Member Success and Sales, CEDIA, the timing to roll out Propel is ideal.

“Since we rolled out our CEDIASTRONG campaign, which we launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been interacting with our integrator members at a whole new level,” he says. “A recent survey found that 47% of our members are seeking new products and services to add to their portfolios to bolster revenue potential, but more than 50% were struggling to make those connections and negotiate new deals.

“We prioritized creating a business affinity program that will connect manufacturer members, as well as new brands, with our CEDIA integrator members, aiming to raise the tide across the industry as a whole. When Propel is coupled with CEDIA’s vast education and workforce development initiatives, we see significant economic opportunities that can impact the entire channel.”

When asked if the CEDIA Propel program meant the association was treading into the realm currently held by the industry’s buying groups, Sutton dismissed that notion, noting that it is common for associations to have affinity discount programs for members. In the coming weeks, CEDIA will be showcasing each brand individually via webinars to dive deeper into their solutions and how best to market and sell them.  

“Propel is the right program at the right time for our industry,” says Gordon van Zuiden, founder and president, cyberManor, Inc., a custom integration firm in Los Gatos, Calif.

“At cyberManor, we know we need to think beyond core applications like AV, lighting and security to remain competitive. Propel will provide new vendor relationships and expertise in emerging categories. These are the kind of relationships that allow us to be whole home integrators, anticipating and fulfilling all of our clients’ technology needs.”

Amazon Using Propel to Get Closer to Channel

Amazon is offering CEDIA U.S. integrator members access to preferred pricing on select Echo and Ring devices, with deep discounts of up to 25% off when ordered through Amazon Business. As these products have soared in popularity in recent years, integrators have seen increasing demand for professional installation and integration with custom smart home systems. Through the Propel program, CEDIA members will benefit from additional savings on select Echo or Ring products in their customer projects. Amazon also recently launched Amazon ProPortal to provide a one-stop shop for information on their devices.

“Our vision is to make Alexa-enabled smart homes accessible to anyone. For professionals that serve customers that prefer a whole-home solution, we want to ensure that they have access to support and training to help them find success,” says Scott Harrington, director of device sales at Amazon.

“We are excited to work with integrators who are new to or already using our devices as part of their solution for creating smart homes and building their business. CEDIA Propel is our next step in supporting the channel.”

Speaking to the press, Andrew Vloyanetes, GM, Installed Solutions for Ring, says he sees the custom channel as “connective tissue into the home” and even though Ring is already heavily engaged with integrators, he believe Propel give Ring a chance to get even closer to the dealer community.  

Bryte Showcasing $7,600 to $8,600 Smart Beds

Bryte contends that sleep is the foundation of health and has designed an AI smart bed to optimize restorative sleep. Through Propel, CEDIA integrators can add a smart sleep solution to their offering. As part of the program, CEDIA integrators in the US will receive 20% commission of the retail price of the Bryte Restorative Bed purchased, which run $7,600 for a Queen and $8,600 for King. Additionally, member customers will receive free shipping and white glove delivery by Bryte, which is not included in general online orders. 

“Restorative Sleep is a force-multiplier for our health and wellness. By maximizing our restorative sleep, our bodies create immunity, fight infection, heal from injury or exercise and nourish our emotions and mental acuity. So, as we all witness an increase in consumer demand for smart wellness solutions, we are delighted to offer The Restorative Bed to CEDIA integrator members as the centerpiece of their wellness portfolios,” says Ely Tsern PhD, co-founder & CEO, Bryte.

Tsern adds, “We love the integrator and cedia brand and platform and see a tremendous opportunity. It’s about their relationship with clients and the more value and expertise they can bring the more successful they can be. Sleep is the foundation of wellness, and they can introduce a great portion of their lives and it’s an opportunity for us and CEDIA members.”

Immersive Gym Testing the Waters with Smart Treadmills, Rowing Machines, Stationary Bikes

Immersive Gym has developed a way to deliver ultra-wide content dynamically to users as they train on rowing machines, treadmills, and stationary bikes—offering dealers a way to create immersive training experiences for their customers. CEDIA global members are the only group of integrators that have access to the Immersive Gym product in the residential channel and additionally, Immersive Gym is offering a free WaterRower to CEDIA members as an offer to their clients to promote the concept of connected content and exercise equipment.  

“Our aim with Immersive Gym was to turn an uninspiring home gym or studio from one of the least used rooms in the house to one of the most used rooms,” says Charles Pearce, Founder of Immersive Gym.

“By connecting unique ultra-wide content to hardware such as rowing machines, treadmills and bikes users can train fully immersed in their favorite environment, taking them beyond the home to anywhere in the world. Immersive Gym works with leading digital fitness apps as well, allowing users to optimize the indoor workouts they already love.  When the workout is complete, the system can transform the space into a gaming room or simulation room offering integrators a tremendous opportunity to add unique and interactive AV experiences to any project. We are excited to be a launch brand of Propel and be able to bring our innovative home wellness product to the CEDIA community.”

Pearce sees Propel as a solid starting point to get feedback on his product from CEDIA members, noting that integrators are “at the front end of technology.”

Propel is designed to be a growth accelerator across the entire custom installation channel.

“The pandemic introduced some of the biggest challenges our industry has seen in years,” says CEDIA Chairman of the Board, Rob Sutherland. “Strategically, we believe over time, Propel will bring new brands and members from different segments into the industry, fueling growth and opportunity for all our members. There’s strength in numbers and with more companies and integrators embracing CEDIA standards and touching a whole new set of homeowners, our industry will enjoy a massive lift in awareness and influence.”