By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
LAS VEGAS — CTIA-The Wireless Association is sharpening its retail focus here at the CTIA 2013 convention by expanding the show’s retailer-targeted section, creating an iZone area for iOS devices, and developing special retail programming, said Rob Mesirow, VP and show director.
“Retailers are one of our largest demographics,” he said.
With retailers in mind, the association teamed with David Sprosty, former Best Buy Mobile CEO and former chief executive of Sytemax’s North American retail business, to develop special retail programming.
The programming includes a high-level second-day executive session featuring Mehrdad Akbar, Walmart’s wireless and digital imaging VP, and Doug Chartier, T-Mobile USA’s MVNO and partner brands senior VP.
The panel called “What’s Next for Wireless Retailing?” will be moderated by Sprosty. He and the executives will tackle such topics as how retailers will remain profitable despite increasing churn, charge-backs and growing carrier subsidies. They’ll also touch on the challenges facing retail customers; how the customer experience at retail has improved; and whether the needs of handset vendors, carriers and retailers diverge at the point of sale, among other related topics.
Dealers at the show will also get a chance to network at the convention’s first lounge area reserved for dealers.
In another nod to retail attendees, CTIA scheduled Walmart’s global head of mobile, Gibu Thomas, to give one of the show’s second-day keynote addresses. On day one, one of the keynoters will be Target’s Beth Jacob, chief information officer and technology services executive VP.
Other day one keynoters include Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete Lopez, COO of European and Latin America carrier Telefonica; Mary Dillon, U.S. Cellular president and CEO; Mary Chan, GM’s president of the global connected consumer; and Peggy Johnson, executive VP and president of global market development at Qualcomm Technologies.
Other day two keynoters are Thomas Kiessling, chief product and innovation office at international carrier Deutsche Telekom, which owns T-Mobile USA and Metro PCS, and Harri Koponen, Rovio Entertainment COO.
After taking in keynotes and seminars, dealers heading retail solutions designed to help dealers run their business.
The retail area boasts 271 exhibitors in 68,190 square feet of exhibit space, up from the previous year’s 247 exhibitors in 62,850 square feet. Consumer- product exhibitors include Bluetooth-speaker maker Braven and Wilson Electronics, the maker of residential and commercial cellular-signal boosters.
Other exhibitors include cellphone refurbishing company ReCellular and Cellebrite, which is introducing a PC-based version of retail applications that previously ran on dedicated hardware. The applications transfer content from phone to phone, back up and restore phone content, run phone diagnostics, add content and apps to phones, and run an automated phone trade-in program.
In the inaugural iZone, 73 companies will display products targeted to users of iOS mobile devices. Exhibitors include Mophie, Scosche and Coby, which will display a new series of Bluetooth speakers. Another exhibitor is iSimple, which makes products that connect car audio systems to smartphones and tablets.
All told, about 1,000 companies will exhibit at the show, about the same as in recent years. Total exhibit space is 300,000 square feet.
Handset companies exhibiting on the floor or in suites or having meeting rooms at the convention center include Unnecto, Nokia, HTC, Motorola, Sony, Huawei, Alcatel One Touch, Samsung, Black- Berry, TracFone and LG.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.