Industry Q & A: The CEDIA Manufacturer Awards

Ed Wenck | Apr 06, 2021


Amit Ravat, co-founder and director, Lithe Audio https://www.litheaudio.com/

Richard Litofsky, co-founder and CEO, madVR Labs https://madvrenvy.com/

CEDIA: What product of yours has won in the past?

Amit Ravat: Our Pro Series Ceiling Speaker won the EMEA Award in 2020.

Richard Litofsky: The madVR Envy Video Processor, 2020, Americas.

CEDIA: What was your reaction when you won?

Ravat: Pleasantly surprised and quite proud -- to get the recognition of the industry as a company that’s just four years old was wonderful. Our first entry was a CEDIA Awards finalist and our second entry won. That’s really gratifying in such a short space of time, and we celebrated.

Litofsky: I was quite surprised. We had high hopes, but when the Americas Awards ceremony started I thought we must have not won, because people had prerecorded acceptance speeches. I thought to myself, “Well I guess we didn't win, because we hadn't been asked to make an acceptance speech.” As it turns out, there were so many terrific winners in the software and hardware categories no one in these categories made "speeches,” so when I saw we had one I was extra surprised.

CEDIA: Do you use the award in your marketing materials? How?

Ravat: Absolutely. Everywhere. Every opportunity we get or any material that leaves our marketing department and is linked to the Pro-Series speaker, has that awards logo on it. And it appears on websites, on any advertising, social media platforms, blogs, even trade shows. We've got a little badge of honor that we stamped in the corner of our trade show stand.

Litofksy: Yes, we use the award badge in our email and on our website.

CEDIA: What makes the CEDIA Awards unique? What makes the award important?

Ravat: It's the go-to, isn't it? CEDIA’s where people go to find knowledge, education, learn the whole trade. For CEDIA, the judges, the experts within the industry, well-respected, people are saying that actually this is a good product. It’s great to see those people reflect what the installers tell us (which is frankly, most important: that integrators’ trust in what we make). That just affirms what we've been trying to do, innovate and design good quality products.

Litofsky: When talking with dealers or prospective customers, it is nice when it comes up. It helps with our credibility, especially since we are a startup company.

CEDIA: How does the $300 entry fee stack up against other advertising opportunities?

Ravat: It's pretty much the same as us doing a quarter page ad in one of the trade publications. There’s a chance you may not win, of course, but if you become a finalist or you win, then it pays for itself 10 times over.

Litofsky: Simply put, the entry fee was well worth it.

CEDIA: What would you say to someone considering entering the Awards?

Ravat: If you're a product manufacturer, it will help you find new distribution channels even in different countries.

Litofsky: Be prepared and make sure you can demonstrate the product well. Also, hope that a construction crew does not pull up outside your window and start running tree grinders making huge amounts of noise just minutes before you start the online presentation to a panel of judges. (Long story, but hopefully we can all meet one day and I'll be happy to share it.)

CEDIA: Any specific advice on the entry process – how does one get noticed? Will you enter again?

Ravat: Give as much detail as you can on the product. You know it inside and out – you built it from scratch, right? The guys judging your products are going to be looking for that detail. We also gave good photography of the product, and also connection diagrams, so that whoever's picking up that bit of paper or email or PDF, they really get to understand what the vision is, why you've done what you've done, and understand the product and the benefits to the installers and the end users. As for the next entry – we’ve got things in the pipeline that I can’t tell you about right now.

Litofsky: The CEDIA website really made it easy and straightforward to enter. I’ve suggested the possibility of adding a category for Best New Startup or Leadership awards, which I would hope we would have a chance to win, however such categories do not exist. If you'd like to add one, I have a company and CEO I'd like to nominate. ;)

Enter the CEDIA Awards here -- it's not too late!