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KnowledgeFest Attendance Breaks 1K Ceiling


What a difference a year can make.

Last year, the story of KnowledgeFest was its resurrection
of a trade show. While the 2010 show, put
on by the Mobile Electronics Retailers Association
(MERA) late last month, boasted about 800 pre-registrations,
Chris Cook, MERA’s president, noted that retailers
were often sending
just one person to attend.

This year, he said, they
brought their entire staffs.

Although the official
audited attendance numbers
weren’t available at
press time, Cook provided
own estimates. Pre-registrations
broke the 1,000
mark, and the show had
attendees from 45 U.S.
states, including Hawaii
and Alaska.

Nearly 60 percent of
the attendees were owner
managers of retailers, he said, which is up 37 percent
from last year. There were 61 exhibitors vs. 2010’s 40,
and the show floor increased to 75,000 square feet
from 50,000 square feet.

“Seeing the industry coming together with a common
purpose to grow and to network and to learn from each
other was very positive,” Cook said. “Knowing that we
as an industry until last year didn’t have a show because
the old MERA had to stop doing KnowledgeFest, it was
exciting to see the first-year investment paid off into
what became a very more robust showing the second
year. We’re anticipating a good 50 percent increase for
next year just based on what we’re seeing.”

Regarding next year’s show, which will be held Aug.
26-28, 2012, Cook said MERA will possibly dedicate
time for attendee education that is separate from the
exhibiting hours. He received many requests from manufacturers
who wanted to attend the education seminars
but were unable to do so because of they were on the
exhibit floor.

Many manufacturers used the show to introduce new


, for example, took the opportunity
to announce the update of its
line of collision-prevention
systems. It now has an
audio-only version of its
flagship C2-270 collision-
prevention system
($649 suggested retail).

The C2-200 does not
come with the EyeWatch
visual display, although it
can be purchased separately. It
does feature Mobileye’s Headway
Monitoring and Warning alerts, designed
to help drivers keep a safe following distance
from the vehicle ahead by notifying when a driver is
following too closely.

It also has Forward Collision Warning — which alerts
up to 2.7 seconds before an imminent collision — and
the Pedestrian Collision Warning alerts. A Lane Departure
Warning feature warns of unintentional deviation
from the driving lanes, Mobileye said.

The C2-200 will be available in October. The Eye-
Watch visual display can be purchased for $199.

Mobileye also said it will unveil two new safety features
in the next two months. The Speed-Limit Indication
will recognize and read speed-limit signs (including
electronic signs), and will warn drivers when they
exceed the driver’s chosen level limit. The Intelligent
High-Beam Control will automatically raise and lower
the high beam based on oncoming or preceding traffic.

PowerBass USA

said it has begun shipping its 3XL
woofer series, offered in
12-inch and 15-inch models.

The 3XL-122D (12-inch)
and 3XL-152D (15-inch)
are dual 2-ohm subwoofers
designed for ported
enclosures, PowerBass
said, with a 3-inch voice
coil that aids the woofer
in achieving its high power
handling of 850 watts
RMS (1,700 peak). They
are built on a CNC castaluminum
basket with
triple-stacked magnets.
Suggested retail is $599.

Boston Acoustics

announced it is partnering with
In Car Experts (ICE) to strengthen its support for the
independent specialist.

ICE is a buying group for mobile electronics retailers.

The newly formed relationship will consist of Boston
Acoustics funding of ICE marketing tools, an enhanced
ICE member program and co-op that can be used towards
ICE membership, Boston Acoustics said.

An ICE dealer locator has also been placed on
the Boston Mobile website. ICE will create a Boston
Acoustics feedback committee that will assist Boston
leadership in future product and program development,
according to Boston. The committee will be comprised
of current Boston retailers, non-Boston retailers and
previous Boston retailers.

Boston Acoustics’ parent company is D&M Holdings.

Shortly after the show, MERA announced that it had
reached an agreement with


to deploy its
Channel Networking platform to benefit MERA supplier
and retail members.

The agreement was finalized
at KnowledgeFest.

ROL (Revenew Online)
helps product suppliers
market through the suppliers’
resellers by providing
marketing services and support.
In its role with MERA, the
company will establish a single
platform that suppliers and retailers
can use to more easily convey
product information to consumers,
the trade group said.

Cook called Revenew “a single
system we can use to send a manufacturer’s
message to a group of
retailers, and through to their customers, and have it be
effective. In our efforts to increase consumer awareness
and bring more customers through our retailers’ doors,
this will be a great tool.”

As part of the program, MERA members that agree
to participate will have access to Revenew Online, a
website that will host suppliers marketing programs
and facilitate funding of retail marketing activities by
those suppliers. In addition, Revenew will provide training
and support to retail members to help them best
take advantage of supplier programs.