CEDIA | Our History



CEDIA was founded in 1989 by a group of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the up-and-coming electronic systems industry. Their vision was to advocate the needs of the home technology professional by becoming the leading resource, promoting commerce, offering training, and aiding in the assembly of a legitimate industry that was at the time considered more of a hobby.

Since that time, CEDIA has grown into an international association with more than 3,500 member companies worldwide and has come to be recognized as the universal mark of professionalism for industry businesses.

The association has expanded tremendously in its 20+ years of its existence. The CEDIA show is a great example of the evolution of this industry. The first CEDIA show, held in Amelia Island, FL, hosted 500 attendees and featured table-top displays from some of the industry’s pioneers, the show has grown exponentially since that time in both exhibiting companies and attendees. CEDIA 2018 drew nearly 500 exhibiting companies and more than 20,000 attendees.  

CEDIA has advanced the industry by developing timely industry education and certification, launching research initiatives, advocacy on legislative issues, building relationships with architects, builders, and interior designers, educating the consumer, and recognizing industry achievement.

30 Years of Connection, Part 1

by Ed Wenck | Feb 13, 2019

As CEDIA approaches the 30th anniversary of its founding (it became an association in November of 1989), we are speaking with a variety of members on CEDIA’s history and impact.

On the founding of CEDIA

David Weinstein, Lutron Electronics (CEDIA Board Treasurer): CEDIA was founded almost thirty years ago, by a group of young home technology professionals that dealt in specialties such as two-channel audio in the early days of home theater. They banded together to develop an organization that would serve the best interests of the home technology professional and increase the awareness among manufacturers.
Clark: CEDIA brought together people who were passionate about what they did and how they cared for their customers. I could share in the knowledge and devotion the various companies, techs, programmers, audio/video geeks, and business owners brought to the early years of CEDIA. It became a specific “culture” of the future.

Tabatha O’Connor, CEDIA Global President and CEO: They had a vision. They had a passion. They wanted to be able to take what they loved to do and have people understand it. Get it out into the world and to be taken seriously.

David Graham, Grahams (Former Chairman UK): We set up the first UK chapter here in 1996. I was amongst one of the thirty or so companies that got involved in setting up the chapter, as we called it then, in the UK.

On CEDIA as a family

Marilyn Sanford, LincEdge (CEDIA Fellow): There are people in the CEDIA community who are lifelong friends now because I think we share something great, and they’re all part of building something great. It's really collegial, it's meaningful. That really creates a glue — a real attraction, commonality.

O’Connor: I came to CEDIA from another organization, and it was very competitive environment. At CEDIA, I was seeing firms helping each other: "Hey, do you need help? I'll come help you put the design together. I'll help you with the install." That to me was about being a family; about being a community. You're still seeing that today. That's also where we're seeing the passion that inspires people to become volunteers. You never know how many volunteers are helping out on any given day.

Weinstein: I think it's exciting that this industry is very synergistic in terms of people sharing ideas, people sharing best practices. It's not a cutthroat, competitive industry — everybody recognizes that by working together to support the interest of the industry, and our end-user customers, is a rising tide that floats all boats.

Joel Silver, Imaging Science Foundation (2018 CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner): Coming into the CEDIA world was rewarding on many levels, but the single most rewarding level was meeting like-minded people, meeting wonderful people who all want to do the right thing for their clients. It's a pleasure and a privilege to be able to sit with some of the brightest people on the planet who share your mentality, who want to move the industry the same way.



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