How CEDIA Can Help You Choose the Right Home Automation Company for You

November 11, 2019

As the demand for home automation continues to rise, so does the need for quality and assurance.  It’s a problem that affects any kind of fast-paced technical innovation.  The likes of social media platforms have grown at unprecedented rates, and they are now facing much-needed regulation.

The same applies to the home automation and technology industry where consumers are often spending a significant percentage of the value of their home on the integrated technology woven within them.

SONA are a long standing CEDIA member, and avid supporters of raising and keeping standards high in the industry.  We thought we would write a blog post to talk about the benefits of CEDIA for the end consumer, and also industry professionals such as Architects, Interior Designers, and Consultants.

Key Goals

What is CEDIA?

Established in 1989, CEDIA stands for the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association.  The association was founded in the USA and expanded to the UK in 1996.  Today, it operates globally, in the USA, Europe, Middle East, Africa, India and Pakistan, and Asia Pacific and has 3,700 members worldwide.

Certification is widely considered the mark of professionalism for tradespersons worldwide, and CEDIA works with architects, builders and interior designers to deliver safe, innovative installations, offering accredited CPD content.

Currently any company or individual can join CEDIA and become a member.  This will give them access to exclusive savings, programs, and offerings designed to benefit their businesses, whilst at the same time, encouraging those member companies to maintain and improve standards across the industry.  There are however no required standards or minimum requirements that a company must demonstrate to become a CEDIA member other than insurance, so offering consumers a high standard of design, knowledge and support is completely optional, not obligatory, and there is absolutely no way for you as a client or a professional who is advising their client to independently verify a companies experience, technical ability or past client satisfaction.

Clearly – something additional was needed to distinguish between the types of members within CEDIA, and give both end users and other professionals reassurance that the company they engage with for their project/s is best suited and experienced to do so.


The Growth of the Smart Home Industry

With the massive growth of this industry comes more people getting into the home automation and technology market.

People and companies with little to no experience are saying ‘yes’ to installing home automation systems if the opportunity arises, when in reality they lack the knowledge, training or experience to do so.

Why?  Because now the smart home industry has become so clever and advanced, that it can provide the technology to do some of complex elements, with a couple of days training.

This is great for the industry in many ways – more choice of companies for the client, and more competition which means companies are motivated to find more ways to give the client better value.

Selecting a Home Automation Company based on Price.

The negative effect of the growth of the smart home industry is that things are becoming saturated.  There’s now SO many choices for who to go to for your home automation, it can be a bit daunting and confusing.

It therefore seems to make sense to do something like get 3 quotes and choose on price.  However if prices greatly differ by thousands, you could be comparing apples and oranges.

Going with simply the cheapest option can be a false economy.  There’s a reason that some companies charge less, and some charge more.  Read our blog ‘Ok, We Admit it.  These projects were cheaper than us.’

The result has been a detrimental effect on the industry as a whole, as many clients are disappointed with the systems they receive that have been installed by companies who lack the experience or knowledge to design and install such systems.

The Advance of Technology, is also its’ Downfall.

It’s an unfortunate fact that in many, if not the majority of all these cases where clients are disappointed with their home technology systems – it’s not the technology that is the problem.  It’s the people who have specified, designed, installed and supported it (or not!).   We’re not saying technology can’t have glitches – it can and does!  All the time.  But we meet more and more unhappy, dissatisfied consumers who are looking for advice on a recent system installation that quite frankly, doesn’t do what they asked for… and the technology isn’t to blame, its the design and installation aspect, and often, also the lack of support.

Quotes from inexperienced companies are often a vague list of equipment with a generic description of that particular item, not a design proposal which outlines what the system will do, when and how.  So often the client has simply signed off on a proposal, that doesn’t really tell them anything about the system they are getting.  This is not how SONA see home automation.  It’s about lifestyle, ease of use, and very personal to the family using it.

What to Look for in Your Home Automation Company

So what should you look for in a home automation company?

  • A bespoke proposal, not a generic list of equipment – your system design proposal should outline clearly what you will be able to do with the system, when and in what rooms.  There should be a comprehensive list of equipment attached to the proposal detailing exactly what is being supplied, so that you can see how the system is made up – and this should detail precise models or part numbers, so that if you are comparing quotations you know exactly what each one includes.  As with any industry you can buy a WiFi access point for £50, or one for £500 – whilst they both do the same thing on paper they have very different performance.
  • Client focused – Knowledge of the best products available for the clients needs. Not just stuck to one brand because it happens to suit the business supplying it.  Whilst many companies do have a preference for the products and manufacturers they use, they should be open to considering all options and able to concisely and clearly explain why they specify any particular product over another.
  • System support – glitches, updates and changes happen as your home evolves.  With over 20 years in the industry we can say you WILL need a company who can support you with this for sure, and how the service and support are provided will most likely be your overwhelming experience with any system you choose.  Does the company have a service and support offering, are they discussing this with you during the initial project design?
  • Experience – Experience of a wide range of systems to ensure you are getting the most concise and comprehensive advice, but also able to guide you in the choices and equipment that make the most sense for you and your family.
    This experience should also enable a company to talk to you about all of the options available to you, and the pros and cons of each of those, guiding you through what can be an often confusing process.  You should feel as if you are making an informed decision BEFOREHAND.  This is opposed to trying to change an expensive mistake after or rectify functionality that wasn’t clearly explained upfront.
  • Confidence – to advise and guide you towards solutions that will give you the result that will genuinely enhance your life.  Not simply sell you the cheapest option to win the work, or tick boxes rather than genuinely understand how you and your family live and design a system to enhance that.
  • A CEDIA Member of Excellence or CEDIA Advanced Member – read more about this below.

How can CEDIA help you find the right company for you?

CEDIA is there to support people getting in to the industry, gaining access to training and experience, whilst maintaining the reputation of our community.

When it comes to helping end consumers though, CEDIA is one step ahead and in 2019 introduced their tiered system so that clients can distinguish between CEDIA members with differing levels of knowledge, skill, experience, reputation and support.

The CEDIA Member of Excellence.

CEDIA recently introduced to new member statuses, which allows companies who achieve key criteria to differentiate themselves from their peers.  These are the only accreditation’s currently available to home technology professionals and provide end users and industry professionals to engage with a company assured that they meet strict minimum requirements.

The CEDIA Advanced Member status proves that a member company has a commitment to continuing education, customer service, and community outreach.  Ongoing education is confirmed and qualified, and companies must provide client testimonials, in addition to actively contributing to their community.

The CEDIA Member of Excellence is the highest status a company can achieve from the industry’s only accreditating body.  A CEDIA Member of Excellence must firstly meet all the Advanced Member requirements but additionally have a record of award-winning craftsmanship and technical design, combined with a commitment to advanced industry certifications.
This includes being shortlisted or winning a CEDIA Award within the last 3 years.  The CEDIA Awards are the only technically judged awards for the home technology profession and are blindly judged purely on technical merit.  They are arguably the only way to independently judge or qualify a companies technical design and engineering standards.
The Member of Excellence status also confirms that a company has advanced, industry specific education, with a percentage of their staff having to take and pass Electronics Systems Certification exams.

SONA are 1 of only 10 companies in the entire world, out of 3700 members, to achieve both ‘Advanced Member’ and ‘Member of Excellence’ status.   Read more about the accreditation here.

This means that we have been recognised by a professional, international industry body for our unparalleled knowledge of smart home technology. From installation to end-user issues, our award-winning solutions have achieved this coveted certification. It is the highest accreditation you can get within our industry.


Benefits to professionals

Whether you’re in architecture, construction or interior design, you’ll want to partner with a smart home technology supplier you can trust.  The CEDIA Member of Excellence or Advanced Member accreditation allows you to do this.

Benefits to end-users

A luxury smart home installation project is a huge commitment.  Consumers need to know that their most valued possession – their home – is in the right hands.  Selecting a Member of Excellence will help you gain that reassurance.

A professional reputation

A CEDIA Member of Excellence status is not easy to come by. It takes years of dedication to innovation, safety and quality. By working with a CEDIA Advanced member or Excellence member, customers are reassured that they will only deal with professionals who offer unrivalled product knowledge.

Ease of project management

SONA complies with all regulations, as regularly published by CEDIA. From land registry rights to energy savings, a CEDIA member can communicate the benefits of a smart home project easily. This prevents any stumbling blocks in the installation process.

Knowledge of tech issues

Smart home technology can present many ethical issues, touching upon privacy and home security. With a CEDIA Member of Excellence, consumers know that all installations are dealt with sensitively.

A study of smart home tech users revealed that some of the biggest frustrations were not understanding products, and user privacy.  With a CEDIA Member of Excellence, customers receive an ethical, lawful installation that leaves them confident in their newly purchased products.

Ask us about CEDIA today

If you’re looking for a trusted professional, speak to the SONA team who are currently 1 in only 10 companies worldwide to receive the Member of Excellence accreditation.

To discuss your upcoming project or get expert advice on integrated home automation, Contact the SONA team today.