GRAPEVINE, TEXAS —
Things are already looking good for KnowledgeFest, the summer car electronics tradeshow put on by the Mobile Electronics Retailers Association (MERA).
The number of exhibitors has hit 68, which is already up from last year’s count of 60, and attendance is tracking over 50 percent when compared with 2011, Chris Cook, MERA president, told TWICE. “We’re on course to have over 1,000 retailers … There’s a good chance we may sell out in floor space,” he said.
The show occupies a 75,000-square-foot footprint at the Gaylord Texan Hotel & Convention Center from Aug. 18-21.
New exhibitors this year include Elettro Media, Rosen, Kicker, Wet Sounds, Wirez, Crux Interfacing, MMats, Accele, Crimestopper, Beat-sonic, Sound Off Audio, Prospect Genius, Steelmate USA, Fortin, Partner Ship and Safeware. Sony has doubled the size of its booth, Cook added, as has Memphis Car Audio.
This year’s show — which carries the theme of “The Playbook: Retail Growth Through Proactive Strategy” — will be formatted slightly differently in that there will be dedicated education and exhibition hours. The mornings will be filled with educational events while the show floor will be open in the afternoons for exhibitors to show their wares. Manufacturer training will be held in the evenings, with the Mobile Electronics Industry Awards held on Sunday evening on the show floor. A party, known as KnowledgeFest Live, will be held on the last night at the Glass Cactus club with music guest the Dave Whiteman Band.
This change of format stemmed directly from visitor feedback surveys, Cook said. “The top three reasons people gave for attending are exhibits, education and networking, in that order. We’re giving them dedicated time, and the exhibitors are appreciating that as well.”
The show will feature 22 educational sessions broken into three tracks for owner/managers, sales associates and installation technicians.
Steve Koenig, industry analysis director of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), will keynote on Sunday evening, while Pandora automotive business development VP George Lynch will give a fireside keynote chat on Monday evening.
This will be the 19th anniversary of KnowledgeFest, and the 2013 show and 20th anniversary will also be held in Texas, Cook said, as its central location makes it possible for members to keep their total attendance expenses below the $1,000 mark.
Registration for KnowledgeFest is free for MERA members. Non-members can pay $149 for the first attendee and $99 for every attendee after that. Registration includes a MERA membership for the rest of 2012.