Melanie Malcolm is co-founder and co-owner of award-winning integrators, Bespoke Home Cinemas. Malcolm set up the company, which is based in Leeds, Yorkshire, UK, with her husband Gifford Malcolm in 1996. The company joined CEDIA in 2007.
In 2016, CEDIA members elected Malcolm as a director to the CEDIA EMEA Board where she played an integral part in supporting CEDIA’s transition to a globally-aligned organisation. In January 2019, CEDIA appointed Malcolm to serve on the global board and, shortly afterwards, she has acted as secretary of the board’s executive committee.
Malcolm actively volunteers her time to support the association, spreading the global message and helping to implement the three-year strategic plan as a Strategy Advisory Council (SAC) chair for global accessibility. Within this role, she connects frequently with other SAC Chairs on initiatives including education, standards, engagement, value proposition, workforce development and global accessibility.
Malcolm focuses heavily on workforce development efforts, working to encourage young talent to join the industry. Since 2016, Malcolm has served as CEDIA’s chair of the Smart Home Apprenticeship Trailblazer Committee in the UK, developing the Smart Home Technician Apprenticeship standard.
Over the last few years, Malcolm has contributed to monthly CEDIA group calls discussing business development with members of the association and in 2018 was invited to judge the CEDIA EMEA Awards.
Using her experience in the sales, marketing, events and business networking arenas, Malcolm is engaged with other groups and organisations beneficial to the CEDIA community. She is a founder member of Home Tech Gallery, a community of installers showcasing industry skills to consumers, and is an active member of the Smart Homee Group, which helps engage new companies and individuals with the professional home technology industry. Malcolm has also acted as a judge on the Smart Building Awards, promoted by Essential Install magazine, and shared advice on industry recruitment on The Integrated Home podcast series.
Aside from industry work, Malcolm is a director of two event management companies: Yorkshire Ladies Links, which hosts business networking events and conferences for women in business, and the Yorkshire Choice Awards, which organises charity events and prestigious award ceremonies, recognising inspiring individuals and businesses. Both organisations are known throughout the Yorkshire region for delivering large conferences and award ceremonies. Why do you want to serve on the CEDIA Board of Directors and what is your vision for CEDIA to ensure that it remains relevant and prominent in how it serves this fast paced and growing industry?
My term on the board has only been for a year, it was to take over a role of a previous Director’s term. Continuing would be beneficial for the association as I’ve been helping implement the three-year strategic plan. Setting goals and targets and not following through to support the initiative for another term would be unfortunate, I’m not the kind of person to leave a job halfway through, I’m always committed to helping reach an end result in anything I do.
I’m currently a Strategy Advisory Council (SAC) Chair working on Global Accessibility and my vision is to help support the global campaign offering opportunity, growth, and impact for the members. CEDIA is working hard globally and I’d like to play a key part in finding local subject matter experts and brand ambassadors in new countries that will help promote our industry.
I’m always willing to give up time to support the association as long as my time benefits CEDIA and the members in the long run. Unlike other board members I have two other businesses with skillsets in sales, marketing and event management. These businesses host business conferences, award ceremonies, and networking events and if given the opportunity to serve another term on the board, I’d like to offer CEDIA my support and expertise in these areas. What goals would you expect the board to prioritize in the upcoming year?
I am aware that CEDIA are already working on various goals and initiatives for 2020 and 2021 and we will hopefully see exciting developments in education, standards, engagement, marketing and global accessibility that will contribute to the growth of our industry.
Key goals that are of importance to me personally:
ENGAGEMENT: CEDIA are most definitely marketing, engaging and building connections between design and build professionals which is a priority and of high importance for the membership globally.
Finding local subject matter experts and brand ambassadors in new countries that will help promote our industry.
EDUCATION: As I’ve been working alongside workforce development in the UK the last few years I’m personally excited to see Smart Home Apprenticeship standard complete and ready to roll out nationally.
MARKETING: Showcasing more members across social media, case studies, further interaction with dealers online - The Member of Excellence initiative is already starting to actively promote their certified dealers
MEMBER BENEFIT: More Tech Summits – The Tech Summits have been well supported and hugely advantageous for both – TP’s and trade suppliers so adding more events in new countries is only going help the association grow globally.
MEMBER BENEFIT: The CEDIA Designer – looking forward to new updates and more brand additions, we personally as a company have benefitted massively when using the TCD platform. Given the rapid changes to our industry, what do you think will be the industry's biggest challenges over the next 5-10 years and how would you see it evolving?
There are various challenges within our industry.
Unfortunately, our industry competes with the IoT marketplace daily which is challenging when custom install companies want to specify reputable brands. With the growth of companies such as Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook etc. I can only predict further challenges ahead as more brands join the online marketplace.
For us as a company, we provide our clients with a solution of integrating all their technology with one simple system that they and we can actively support remotely. We give clients confidence that our certified engineers have the knowledge, training and experience but often we can’t compete with the online marketplace. I can only see this evolving by educating customers about their choices and with CEDIA’s support in marketing to the design and build communities this could play an important part in changing the mindset of future clients.
Social media is playing an important part on how we market and educate clients but for most companies, the use of social media is daunting and challenging. With the likes of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn we will see most companies within the next few years using these platforms as the primary source to promote and generate leads for their businesses.
From an HR perspective, the biggest challenges are recruiting new staff. This affects business growth as, unfortunately, there is a low pool of talent nationally and because there is no incentive for school leavers to enter the industry we are not able to recruit younger engineers. Once the Smart Home Technician Apprenticeship is fully approved, we will then start to focus on a recruitment drive to encourage young talent to enter the industry and within 5 - 10 years we will most definitely see recruitment on the up!
Another challenge for our industry are other trades providing smart home technology such as electricians, aerial, and CCTV contractors that aren’t fully trained to design and install high-end systems. Clients and design and build professionals will often go for the cheapest quote without looking at the background of the company. This is a constant challenge we come up against, but within the next 5 to 10 years, we can hopefully educate clients and suppliers that using a certified trained professional is always a better option.