CEDIA board member and Managing Director of Melbourne based TotalQ has added his opinion on the recent launch of Viiv.What I’ve come to understand is that overall there seems to be a general theme to your articles that questions the lack of enthusiasm by specialist retailers to embrace what you see as the inevitable convergence of IT and CE. Most recently the article “Viiv Are You Ready?” of April 5th 2006 prompted me to respond, particularly to the comment that a “wait and see” attitude by CEDIA design installers (DI) and CE specialists might be a drawback for the “big opportunities” on offer to this channel via the ViiV platform. Upon reading this I wondered if these were similar opportunities missed by this channel when Windows Media Centre Edition was going to be the next big thing to cripple the specialist if it didn’t jump on board?
The CEDIA DI is not at odds with your belief that convergence is inevitable, in fact many or most are highly experienced in the use of products that cross the boundaries between CE and IT. We have been dealing with convergence well before anyone. In it’s simplest form I could use the humble music server as an example and more complex, the automation systems of companies such as our own. The factors that differentiate these products from more traditional IT or attempted convergent products that are type cast as a regular threat to a CEDIA members existence is the philospohy behind the products, the company’s that make them and the professional CEDIA DI’s that install them.
Your article supports the fact that the CEDIA DI is crucial to ViiV’s success with Don MacDonald’s efforts to “touch base” with resellers and integrators, namely CEDIA members and its board of which I am one. Intel, like Microsoft before it, although both willing, are not capable of changing the attitudes alone of the consumer that sees the place for a computer well and truly in the study. Intel and Microsofts push into the digital home enteratinment area is born from the fact that the many studies around the world are already filled with the computer, it’s Intel chip and Microsoft operating system. The next bastion for expansion in the home for these companies has to be the living room or greater still, the entire home.
The role of a CEDIA DI is to ensure that the customers needs, desires and wants are met. In meeting those demands CEDIA DI’s are proficient in the expertise of a range of products that are built from systems developed by experience of installation, the training and support of manufacturers and critically the ongoing education programmes provided by CEDIA. These systems that have ensured the thousands of succesfull installations and satisfied customers around the world are the same ones that will evaluate the worthiness of new technologies, platforms or otherwise.
The only barrier to a CEDIA members success is their own apathy. It is one thing to be part of an association it is well and truly another to be active in its participation. This could be their only criticism. There has been much conjecture and comment about the recent spate of business failings and staff cutbacks that are generalised as problems of the CE specialist or CEDIA channel, and that if changes do not occur soon then there are leaner times ahead. In contrast to reports the CEDIA association has never enjoyed such a large membership and although it is far from my own expectations the increasing membership shows growth whilst CE and IT generally show otherwise.
So are we ready for ViiV? As we have done in the past as pioneers of this sector we will continue to excel in the professional installation and integration of the home owners digital lifestyles. So instead I will ask you, is ViiV ready for us?

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