A chat with Mauricio Mejia, HomeTech El Hogar Digital SAS, Medellin, Colombia.
CEDIA: How did you become interested in residential technology?
Mauricio Mejia: I began when I was very young, when I was in my university studies 17 years ago. At that moment, I was involved in a project of home automation with a microcontroller. The iPhone didn't exist, the iPad didn't exist, so it was a totally, totally different world.
I was working with this microcontroller and with my computer I programmed the microcontroller to control the curtains, to control some vents, to control the lighting. That was my first contact with residential technology. I had to do a lot of troubleshooting – but I really enjoyed it.
CEDIA: You have multiple companies – how has your business grown?
Mejia: Yeah. When I began my first company, it was only three people. Today, at Home Tech, we have 47 people. I have another company that is a lighting company, Alpa Comercial-Ecotech. We work on commercial lighting projects and we have about 27 people. I also have a construction company with my brother, Projectos Urbanos. We began that company six years ago. In that company, we have 150 people.
CEDIA: What should we know about the Colombian market that might be unique?
Mejia: People think of Bogotá when they think of Colombia. We have so many more cities: We have Barranquilla in the north, we have Medellin, we have Cali, we have Bucaramanga, I think that you have to put your focus in all the big cities of Colombia, not only Bogota. This is very, very important.
Also, for some reason, all of our clients just love bass. I hear my colleagues says: "Man, people in Europe, they buy two towers, and that's it. Two towers is perfect." Here? It’s two towers and two subwoofers. Yeah, it's freaky.
CEDIA: You volunteer at CEDIA as an instructor. Why do you volunteer at CEDIA?
Mejia: I think that it's important that you share everything that you learn and grow -- I think that CEDIA is the perfect way, and if you are a volunteer this is the perfect way to do that. Also, I offer CEDIA my training location to present courses throughout the year.
CEDIA: You encouraged your employee Lina Bentancour to also volunteer, and she’s done quite a bit for the association. Why her, and why did you encourage her to get involved, too?
Mejia: That's really easy: She's a technology geek. She was in charge of our technical team. And she loves to teach. At the company we get trained in networking, programming, smart homes; she got trained in all these areas and also she loves audio. I think that she is just perfect as a volunteer.
At the moment two other engineers at the company are getting trained to get the CEDIA certifications and eventually be instructors.
Find part two of our interview here.