In the last quarter of 2017, CEDIA announced a new initiative with Amazon: A Home Technology Pro Engagement Program available to CEDIA member companies with employees who have completed their ESC-T, ESC-D, or ESC-N.
The announcement was a bit buzzy, to say the least some CEDIA members have referred to Amazon as something of a “frenemy,” and there’s been a great debate about whether or not the companies repped in the acronym FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) present either D.I.Y. distress or the dawn of a new awareness for the home technology integrator.
As Mitchell Klein of the Z-Wave Alliance noted in his CEDIA Talk, Amazon has arrived as a player whether the industry recognizes it or not: The Amazon Echo’s now a “fresh pick” at Whole Foods.
For a number of integrators, Amazon’s been a means to an end: Joe Whitaker, guerilla marketer and Big Kahuna at the integration firm The Thoughtful Home, used a basket of Amazon Dots as a calling card. As he told the crowd assembled for his CEDIA Talk in San Diego, he scoured neighborhoods where he’d already done some work, and took note of homes with aging surveillance cameras, dated exterior lighting, or decidedly un-smart doorbells. He attached his business card to the Dots, leaving them on the front porch of the homes he thought might yield new business at no charge and waited for his phone to ring. Whitaker’s initial “Dot Drop” yield no less than a 50-to-one ROI, and landed him in a number of industry pubs.
What’s the old chestnut? “The Chinese character for crisis includes the characters that mean both danger and opportunity” has been debunked, but it’s handy here. As newly-elected CEDIA board member Heather Sidorowicz of Southtown AV says: “I think the news regarding the Amazon CEDIA relationship is a big one. It's an amazing, wonderful first step. And I want to see it move further. I think that this is an excellent way to promote CEDIA membership, and I think it's the first step in what CEDIA can be moving forward and staying relevant.”
Here’s How the Amazon Home Technology Engagement Program Works
The Program does several things: It grows your business by connecting with Amazon customers for custom jobs, helps maximize your billable hours by picking up small pre-packaged jobs for your team, and brings your brand to a broader audience. As part of the Home Technology Pro Engagement Program, qualified CEDIA members will be the only providers able to quote custom solutions. For pre-packaged services, the services you choose to provide will appear on pages with related products while potential clients are shopping. (A note: Pre-packaged services ae totally optional and not a requirement of the custom program. You can choose to take on solely custom work.)
You receive actual jobs when customers choose you for the custom work or a customer orders pre-packaged services and you “win the claim” then Amazon pays you after the job wraps.
To answer the obvious question: Amazon’s cut is a revenue share. For custom jobs, that share is 15% up to $1,000, and then 10% for the portion larger than that first grand. For pre-packaged services, it’s 20% up to $1,000, and then 15% for anything more.* There are no lead fees, no subscription fees, no ad fees, and no startup fees. You only pay for the jobs you complete.
Of course, your participation in the program once you’re in is voluntary: you don’t have to take a job just because there’s a request. Plus, Amazon wants to highlight amazing examples of great experiences with Alexa. Amazon will feature best-in-class examples in their Integrator Showcase launching this fall.
*The fees above apply to ALL professions, ALL service types, in ALL locations. Amazon deducts the fees as a percentage of the service price, excluding any taxes collected through Amazon tax collection services.