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KnowledgeFest Set For Record Year


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.

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.