Here’s Why the First CI Summit Had Me Shaking in My Boots

Upcoming 2017 CI Summit and the $3.2 billion in projected aggregate annual revenue of attending guests reminds CI editor Tom LeBlanc of how far the event has come since launching in 2012.

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Here’s Why the First CI Summit Had Me Shaking in My Boots

The projected average annual revenue of confirmed 2017 CI Summit attendees is $24.6 million.

Writing doesn’t make me nervous. Public speaking doesn’t make me nervous. Interviewing big shots, even the occasional ones who are insolent and condescending, never makes me nervous. However, there is one thing about my job that has always – and probably will always – make me nervous: Asking folks in Commercial Integrator’s audience to step away from running their businesses and do something else. That’s why the first CI Summit in 2012 was extremely nerve-racking for me.

The first issue of Commercial Integrator was January 2011. A little over a year later, CI audience members started to learn about and receive invitations to something called the CI Summit, a hosted executive conference that would zero in on business challenges unique to the AV integration market.

I knew the event would be valuable, having spent the previous eight years working for CE Pro and seen the excellent job that event organizers AE Ventures had done with CE Pro Summit. Still, the idea that audience members would travel to Houston for the 2012 CI Summit, stepping away from their businesses for three days, seemed to raise the stakes.

As a B2B trade publication, CI’s singular goal is to help audience members run their businesses better. Asking them to leave their business for three days runs counter to that unless the experience makes it worthwhile.

We put our best efforts forth: In a small room in Houston I spoke to a group of about 30 integration business professionals at the 2012 CI Summit. We must have done something right. The 2013 version of CI Summit grew, as did 2014, 2015 and 2016.

CI Summit 2017 by the Numbers

As we prepare for the 2017 CI Summit in Orlando, November 1-3, I’m proud to see how robust the event has become, with strong representation from the integration market. CI Summit now falls under the umbrella of Total Tech Summit sharing resources with co-located CE Pro Summit and security integration business focused SSI Summit.

AE Ventures released some data on the integration businesses that have already confirmed attendance for CI Summit 2017:

  • Projected average annual revenue of $24.6 million, up 11% versus 2016
  • Median annual revenues of $15 million
  • Projected aggregate annual revenue of all CI guests is $3.2 billion
  • 55,000 projected aggregate installations in 2017

Read next: Forget ROI, There’s a Better Way to Determine Investment Value

Meanwhile, while CI Summit attendees are dominating audio-visual product categories, they’re selling and installing across several disciplines. (Click to enlarge.)

CI Summit Revenue by Category

We all know that the corporate market is by far the largest customer base for integration businesses, but here’s an interesting breakdown of where CI Summit attendees’ revenue is generated. (Click to enlarge.)

CI Summit Revenue by market

When we gather in Orlando, I’ll be on stage staring at a much larger group in comparison to the first Summit, often introducing audience members to join me on stage and discuss unique challenges. One thing has become clear over the past six years since that group of 30 gathered in Houston: CI Summit is worth the trip.

I’m not nervous about that.