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Entrepreneur -- My lifelong dream is to create more millionaire students than any other stock trading teacher out there. I’m lucky enough to have reached the seven-figure mark myself, and now, I’m dedicated to sharing everything I’ve learned - including the stock trading patterns that work in any market - with the students in my Millionaire Challenge.

But one thing I realized pretty early on was that, if I wanted to teach people to be millionaires, I had to study people who had already reached this level of wealth. I had to learn what they did differently so that I could help my students to not just hit this magic number, but to retain the money they earn and build generational wealth.

And today, I’m sharing a few of the things I’ve learned with you. I hope they help - no matter what financial stage you’re currently in.

1. Millionaires work hard.

A lot of people think that winning the lottery is their ticket to success, but I’ve got bad news for you. Nearly 90 percent of lottery winners go through their winnings in five years or less, leaving them back in the same situation they were in before they won.

Millionaires know that there are no shortcuts to success. There’s only hard work executed relentlessly in pursuit of a goal.

I know that, in my case, I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t been willing to work hard. I didn’t have a mentor when I started trading stocks in high school. It was up to me to put in the hours needed to become successful. There were plenty of times I would have rather gone out with friends or played video games -- anything but sit in front of the computer and study stock charts for another hour.

But I did it. I put in the work upfront because I knew the results would be worth it, they’ve paid off. I’m living my dream lifestyle because I wasn’t afraid to work hard.

Related: Sure, Work Hard, But Also Create Your Own Luck

2. Millionaires are focused.

That said, it isn’t just about working hard. You have to be working hard on the right thing.

Have you ever known somebody who’s constantly jumping from one “million dollar idea” to another? We all want to be rich, but the people who can’t choose one path to focus on simply aren’t going to achieve it. It’s the people who dedicate themselves to a single pursuit that come out on top, whether that one path is penny stock trading, company building or something else.

Read the rest here:

Guardian -- Apple is building a self-driving car in Silicon Valley, and is scouting for secure locations in the San Francisco Bay area to test it, the Guardian has learned. Documents show the oft-rumoured Apple car project appears to be further along than many suspected.

In May, engineers from Apple’s secretive Special Project group met with officials from GoMentum Station, a 2,100-acre former naval base near San Francisco that is being turned into a high-security testing ground for autonomous vehicles.

In correspondence obtained by the Guardian under a public records act request, Apple engineer Frank Fearon wrote: “We would ... like to get an understanding of timing and availability for the space, and how we would need to coordinate around other parties who would be using [it].”

Apple declined to comment.

GoMentum Station is on the old Concord naval weapons station, a disused second world war-era facility with 20 miles of paved highways and city streets. The base is closed to the public and guarded by the military, making it, officials claim, “the largest secure test facility in the world” for the “testing validation and commercialization of connected vehicle (CV) applications and autonomous vehicles (AV) technologies to define the next generation of transportation network infrastructure.” Mercedes-Benz and Honda have already carried out experiments with self-driving cars behind its barbed-wire fences.



This security is bound to appeal to Apple, which has hundreds of engineers quietly working on automotive technologies in an anonymous office building in Sunnyvale, four miles from its main campus in Cupertino. Details of the project are still unknown but it seems that Apple has a self-driving car almost ready for the road. In late May, Jack Hall, program manager for autonomous vehicles at GoMentum Station, wrote to Fearon to postpone a tour of the facility but noted: “We would still like to meet in order to keep everything moving and to meet your testing schedule.”

Apple has been rumoured to be working on a self-driving electric car, codenamed Project Titan, but this is the first time its existence has been documented. In May, Apple senior vice-president Jeff Williams called the car “the ultimate mobile device” and said that Apple was “exploring a lot of different markets ... [in which] we think we can make a huge amount of difference”.

Read the rest of the story here:

17 Aug

Reporter's Notebook: KnowledgeFest Day 2

Monday, 17 August 2015

As the event charged on, educators continued to bring their A-game by upping the ante with more seminars that helped enrich the livelihoods of the industry's finest.

In "Tuning Cars Part 2: The Next Step," Larry Frederick of Cerwin-Vega delivered what most were expecting with an honest, humor-filled seminar, complete with lots of expletives to enhance the experience for the installer-packed room.

The bulk of Frederick's lecture was focused on the tools of the trade needed to properly tune. Those tools included RTA's, oscilloscopes, and the CD=104 reference compilation, which contains a wide spectrum of music that can create the most balanced sound in a vehicle. He also emphasized the importance of using fewer speakers and subs whenever possible since "the more shit you put in a car, the more fucked-up it's going to sound," as he so eloquently put it.

Another popular seminar was Tim Parenti's "Face to Face Selling - The Forgotten Skill," part of the Sales Track. He emphasized the importance of looking at customers as ally's rather than adversaries you have to slay to make the sale. It avoids creating a combative atmosphere and instead establishes a collaborative element, getting them to see you as a friend that's helping them with a goal.

Palenti provided handouts that made the seminar interactive, asking attendees to write down responses to various objectives to focus on being helpful and positive rather than combative, rewarding them with suggestions rather than being defensive. He also broke down different personality types in terms of how people use their senses. For example, those who use hand gestures and require you to show them solutions are Visual, while those who make decisions based on how they feel are called Kinesthetic. As a sales person, it's important to recognize those types and match them with an appropriate response to best reach them.

Although the seminars are perhaps the biggest reason to come to KnowledgeFest from an educational standpoint, the heart and soul of the event seems to be taking place on the show floor, in the hallways and at the various bars and restaurants throughout the facility. This is thanks to the power of networking and friendship that is a staple of the 12-volt industry. Topics being spoken throughout the halls so far have been mostly positive, touting the wow-factor experienced by so many first-time attendees like Matt Cropper, a Top 12 Installer this year, who is in awe of how big the event is in scope.

Perhaps the biggest topic being mentioned, however, is that of the installer shortage and how the industry can solve it. One solution making the rounds is to make customers part of the business by bringing in the most dedicated either part-time or full-time depending on their current job status. At the least, making more channels to move up the ranks and cultivating the talent already in place is a popular sentiment, especially amongst some manufacturer representatives.

I for one am excited to see how the final day plays out, especially with tonight's industry awards.

After only one day, KnowledgeFest 2015 may be on track to surpass the success of last year's event. Taking place here at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas, this year's event kicked off with a number of unique attributes, including having to share the complex with a bodybuilding competition, making for an interesting walk to dinner after the trade show and manufacturer trainings concluded.

But before the visual buffet of body donnas took place, attendees were treated to a wide array of educational seminars that featured part one of the "Tuning Cars" series with Andy Wehmeyer of Audio Frog, in which Wehmeyer discussed the pitfalls of trying to tune a car by ear, claiming that "tuning by ear sucks." He went on to describe the beginnings of the process. Tomorrow's seminar will feature Larry Frederick, who will likely use his own fun assortment of colorful metaphors to bring the topic to life.

Another engaging seminar featured Steve Witt of American Road Products and Derek Smiedl of NAV-TV discussing the power of a growing safety category in the class, "Safety is No Accident: Creating a Successful Safety Business." The two were able to execute convincing arguments on ways to sell the products to reluctant customers by providing convincing anecdotes, including one about a teenage boy betting t-boned in his brand-new sports car by an elderly couple. The couple ran a red light, making them at fault. But when questioned by the officer who arrived on-scene, they claimed the boy ran the light. Had it not been for his trusty dash cam streaming and recording video to his smart phone, he may have ended up at fault.

As night fell, cocktails emerged and this year's opening night ceremony commenced, beginning with a keynote by Tim Parenti, president of MVP Dynamics. The speaker, new to the 12-volt scene, discussed "Attitude - The Power to Direct or Misdirect." The presentation centered on a person's ability to change their situation with the power of attitude. Citing various case studies and having attendees write out various exercises, Parenti kept the crowd intrigued and made a strong argument for his topic.

Following that, Chris Cook, president of the Mobile Electronics Group, introduced this year's Town Hall panel, which included Joshua Landau of JML Audio, Brian Layton of Sound FX (current Retailer of the Year), Gary Stackpole of Benchmark Soundworks, Jason Digos of elettromedia, Steve Wood of Directed and Andy Wehmeyer of Audiofrog.

The discussion centered on four topics, including customer impressions of the business, how to grow the market, the installer shortage and future impact, and how to promote expertise and value. Regarding the last topic, answers varied from focusing on the install bay and showing customers what the business is all about to protecting product by keeping an eye on manufacturer selling practices to third party vendors looking to undercut retailers.

Overall, it was a successful first day, featuring packed class rooms and a total number of 794 attendees filling the seminars throughout the day. Stay tuned for Day 2 coverage.

Mobile Electronics® announced a new business partnership with BrandSphere™. BrandSphere offers an easy-to-implement, custom-branded mobile app that helps retailers and manufacturers build deeper connections with their customers and maintain those connections for lifelong customer engagement.

“We’re happy to add BrandSphere as a business partner and to offer their mobile application technology to our retailer members and manufacturer partners,” said Chris Cook, president of Mobile Electronics. “Consistent with Mobile Electronics’ mission, this is another marketing and business resource that can help the specialist channel deliver an exceptional customer experience. Customers get instant access to everything they need, while retailers and manufacturers get insightful data to strengthen customer relationships and improve communication.”

BrandSphere is used to create and manage branded Smart Product Identities™ (SPI) for retailers and manufacturers. Consumers can effortlessly connect with product information and resources they need by claiming product ownership and accessing the related SPI’s in a free custom-branded mobile app. Each time a product owner interacts with an SPI, the retailer or manufacturer gains valuable insight into customer interests, product performance, buying trends and much more. Targeted in-app interactive communication provides data-driven insight to improve customer engagement, drive brand loyalty and even guide product evolution.

BrandSphere is demonstrating its mobile platform at the KnowledgeFest® show and conference this weekend in Dallas at Booth #409 on the show floor. Mobile Electronics is at Booth #239.

DOW Electronics announced that it has reached an agreement to distribute Escort and Beltronics products in Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. DOW offers Escort and Beltronics a strong distribution network and an established customer base in these states.  

Escort Incorporated is a leader in technology and performance in the detector industry. For over 35 year, Escort has lead the way in designing and engineering award winning detectors. During that time, Escort has received more awards than all of their competitors combined and received more detection protection patents than any other company.

Established in 1967, Beltronics Radar has a long history of leading technology in radar and laser detection. Company headquarters are located in the Cincinnati, OH area, and the full line of radar, laser and safety detectors are designed, manufactured, and marketed in North America.

“We are excited to be partnering with DOW Electronics, the premier mobile and consumer electronics distributor in the Florida and Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas territories,” says Everett Morss, national sales manager at Escort. “DOW’s dealers now have direct access to the best opportunity in the marketplace for speed detection/ticket protection sales, profits and service.”

DOW Electronics adds the Escort and Beltronics lines of products to increase the breadth of its 12 Volt offering. “We’re very excited about the addition of Escort and Beltronics as they are industry leaders with great brand recognition” stated Dave Elkin, DOW vice president of sales, east. “For us to get into this new category of products, it was important to partner with a top-notch company that retailers would instantly recognize.”

Added Mickey Ural, DOW vice president of sales, west, “This partnership offers us the opportunity to reach more retailers that we may not have worked with before, and brings the Escort and Beltronics brand to retailers that may not have had access to the products before. Our team is ready to get these consumer recognized brands into the retailers’ showrooms.”

The full line of Escort and Beltronics products will be available for online ordering and available to be shipped anywhere in Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. The products are also available for pick up at DOW Electronics’ Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston, New Orleans, and Tampa locations. DOW Electronics will support Escort and Beltronics with knowledgeable sales support and fast, reliable shipping to retailers and installers.

To learn more about DOW Electronics, Escort or Beltronics, please visit or call 1.800.627.2900.

VOXX Electronics will be attending the 2015 KnowledgeFest Summer Training in Dallas on August 15-17 to showcase its extensive 12-volt Retail and Car Dealer specific products across its numerous brands in Booth #201. The company will also be hosting a training workshop on Advanced Troubleshooting and Diagnostics for Transponder & Door Lock Interface modules Saturday afternoon with guest speakers Mike Abeita of Automotive Data Solutions and Andrew Fiore of VOXX Electronics.
“KnowledgeFest is dedicated to educating and increasing retailer awareness on some of the new and exciting products available today, setting the perfect stage for us to display our broad lineup for 12 Volt products to a group of specialty retailers and reps,” said Tom Malone, President of VOXX Electronics Corporation. “This event brings together a group eager to learn and interact with the many different mobile electronics suppliers in attendance providing us with the opportunity to connect one-on-one with our loyal customers.”
On Saturday, August 15 you will also have the opportunity to join MECP Certified Master Installer Mike Abeita of Automotive Data Solutions (ADS) and MECP Certified Installer Andrew Fiore of VOXX Electronics as they host a training workshop on Advanced Troubleshooting and Diagnostics for Transponder & Door Lock Interface modules. This workshop will take you through the latest tips for troubleshooting remote start transponder and door lock interface issues on today’s most challenging vehicles. They will also show you the advantages of using the FLCAN by FlashLogic, the most advanced Transponder & Door Lock Interface module on the market today. Plus, Andrew will take you through a quick overview for programming the Prestige/Pursuit web based programming systems. The training workshop will take place from 4:15pm to 6:15pm in Meeting Room Desoto B.
The first 25 attendees to arrive to the workshop will receive a VOXX Electronics Swag Bag, plus there will be a drawing to win a first, second and third place prize package! Prize packages feature a Klipsch RB-10 Soundbar, a Prestige APS997E Two-Way Remote Start & Security System with CarLink (ASCL4), and a $100 Snap-on Gift Card.
At the VOXX Electronics Booth the Company will be showcasing the latest offerings across all of their product categories including; Advent/Audiovox Mobile Video, Vehicle Security and Tracking, Remote Start Systems, Telematics, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), Navigation and OE Integration.
Visit VOXX Electronics at Booth #201 at the 2015 KnowledgeFest – Summer Training on Saturday, August 15, through Monday, August 17 at the Hilton Anantole Resort & Convention Center in Dallas, TX.
For more information about VOXX Electronics please visit:

IT Business Net -- Cybersecurity researchers on Friday are publicizing software flaws in the Tesla Model S that could allow remote hackers to shut down a moving cars engine.

But owners of the high-tech luxury sedan had little need to worry. The electric-car maker quickly deployed a fix over the Internet

As cars loaded with on-board computers increasingly add wireless connections they are becoming more vulnerable to hackers, as seen recently with a Jeep Cherokee. Teslas response offers a model for how other automakers can address the increasing threat of computer attacks. Tesla owners get prompted on their cars infotainment screens to download software updates, the same way smartphone users do.

The consultants who found the Model S flaws -- Kevin Mahaffey, co-founder and chief technology officer of Lookout Inc., and Marc Rogers, principal security researcher for CloudFlare Inc. -- revealed the vulnerabilities earlier this week ahead of a presentation Friday at the DefCon hacker conference in Las Vegas. The pair discovered six key weaknesses in the vehicle, alerted Tesla Motors Inc. and coordinated their disclosure with a fix from the automaker to reduce the risk to owners of the car, which starts at $70,000.

Two-Edged Sword

Such responsible disclosure, as the process is known in the cybersecurity community, is common in the computer industry. Tesla is unusual in the automotive industry for its ability to update owners vehicles quickly over the Internet. That ability cuts both ways, however; if an automaker can gain access to vehicle electronics from afar, so, too, could a malicious hacker.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV was told to recall about 1.4 million vehicles last month to update software after researchers remotely hacked a Jeep Cherokee traveling at 70 miles per hour and caused it to run off a freeway in a demonstration for Wired. The automaker patched its software by mailing out USB drives to be plugged into vehicles.

That hack, which worked by scanning a cellular network to locate and disable Jeeps, showed that wireless connections are the weak underbelly of high-tech cars. Such attacks are potentially more dangerous than the method in the Tesla hack, in which the researchers had to have physical access to tamper with the cars electronics.

Read the rest of the story here:

Entrepreneur -- If you ask Bar Rescue host Jon Taffer, he'll tell you he's not in the food and beverage business. He's in the "reaction business." It's a concept he wrote about in his book Raise the Bar: An Action-Based Method for Maximum Customer Reactions (New Harvest, 2013).

"A plate of food hits the table, lands right in front of you," Taffer explains. "One of two things happens. Either you sit up and look at it and react to it, or nothing happens. If nothing happens then that restaurant is stuck in mediocrity forever.

"The cook in the kitchen might think he's making an entree. He's not," Taffer continues. "That's not product. He's making a human reaction. ... The product is the reaction."

Read the rest of the story here:

CNET -- Apple Pay has a new credit card in its fold, namely the American Express corporate card.

Unveiled last October, Apple Pay enables owners of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch to pay for items on the go via a wireless technology known as near-field communication, or NFC. Other Touch ID-enabled devices, such as the iPad Air 2 and Mini 3, can use Apple Pay for in-app transactions.

In the US, Apple Pay already supports Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express for consumers and small businesses. With the new move, American Express becomes the first corporate credit card to work with Apple Pay, potentially opening up a whole new and wider audience.

Apple has been striving to expand Apple Pay support among credit card companies, bank and retailers, both in the US and the UK. The company has been successful at winning over credit card providers and financial institutions -- more than 400 banks and credit unions are onboard.

Signing up retailers is a more complex matter.

Read the rest of the story here:

Entrepreneur -- Say goodbye to Google. Say hello to Alphabet.

Google Inc. says it is creating a new operating structure under a newly formed umbrella company it is calling Alphabet Inc. Co-founder and current CEO Larry Page will lead the new company, while Sergey Brin, the other co-founder, will serve as president.

Google itself will be an operating unit and get a new CEO: Sundar Pichai, who had been running Android and Chrome. 

It's not just a name change, but a reorganization of the company. In a blog post announcing the change, Page said they wanted a "slimmed down" version of Google, with other businesses, such as Life Sciences and the Calico biotech unit to be their own operating companies. Each unit, Page suggested, would get its own CEO.

Page sought to position the move as a further move toward the technology-driven disruption and innovation he, Brin and Google have all long espoused. "We did a lot of things that seemed crazy at the time," Page wrote. "Many of those crazy things now have over a billion users, like Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome, and Android. And we haven’t stopped there. We are still trying to do things other people think are crazy but we are super excited about."

Yet, the move positions Google as far more traditional than disruptive. Many companies have found that a conglomerate model -- which is essential what Alphabet will be -- helps manage the overall company better by putting key executives in charge of the underlying companies, leaving the top management to focus on making the company work as a whole.

Indeed, Page, in his blog post, said as much. "In general, our model is to have a strong CEO who runs each business, with Sergey and me in service to them as needed," he wrote. "We will rigorously handle capital allocation and work to make sure each business is executing well."

Read the rest of the story here:

10 Aug

The Future of Cars is Smart, Not Autonomous

Monday, 10 August 2015

USA Today -- Americans love their cars (and trucks). They also love technology gadgets. So, it’s not the least bit surprising to see strong interest in efforts to merge the smart technology of our gadgets into our cars.

For some, the penultimate expression of this combination is the autonomous, self-driving car. Efforts by Google, as well as car makers like Audi and Tesla, have received enormous amounts of press and fostered speculation of highways full of machine-driven cars by the end of the decade.

The reality, however, is likely to be far different. It’s not that the technology isn’t there to make cars that can drive on their own — it clearly is. But the practical, legislative, and insurance requirements that are going to surround the widespread usage of autonomous cars are likely to keep them from becoming mainstream for a decade or even longer. The problem isn’t necessarily with a single car, it’s about getting a lot of cars from a variety of vendors all working together in a coordinated fashion. That is not a trivial task.

What we will see, moving forward, is increasingly smart cars. Those smarts are going to come at many levels — from the relatively simple but still important notion of better integrating our smartphones and popular mobile applications into our cars’ in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems, to better car connectivity, to increasingly sophisticated advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

Today’s cars already offer a surprisingly wide but not always well-known array of ADAS systems, from lane drifting warnings, to collision detection systems, to 360-degree camera views to performance enhancing adjustments to drivetrains and suspensions, and more. Even good ol’ cruise control — arguably one of the first ADAS features — is evolving to the point where it can do some basic autonomous driving of its own.

Not surprisingly, there are a lot of technology companies involved in making these kinds of improvements and their automotive business is growing. Companies like graphics giant nVIDIA, who reported a 76% increase in their automotive business during last week’s earnings report, not only can power the graphical display on car infotainment systems, but they’ve also created chips specifically designed to read, react and learn from sensors and cameras built into cars.

Read the rest of the story here:

China Tech News -- Chinese IT solutions and services supplier Neusoft Group has signed a joint venture agreement with Alpine Electronics and Shenyang Fu Rui Chi to build a joint venture named Neusoft Ruichi Automotive Technology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.

With this move, Neusoft Group will be able to distribute in smart, Internet, and new energy automobile electronics businesses.

Neusoft Ruichi will have registered capital of CNY384.62 million. Neusoft Group will invest CNY157.7 million, accounting for 41% of the total registered capital, which makes it the controlling company of the joint venture; Alpine Electronics will invest CNY150 million, accounting for 39% of the total registered capital; and Fu Rui Chi will invest CNY76.92 million, accounting for 20% of the total registered capital.

The new joint venture will focus on innovations and developments of various automobile-related sectors, including new energy vehicle battery management, key technologies about intelligent charging, advanced driver assistance systems, unmanned driving innovations, and telematics basing on an open cloud platform.

Read the rest of the story here:

VOXX has announced that its President and Chief Executive Officer, Pat Lavelle, will be presenting at the 18th Annual Technology, Internet & Communications conference, sponsored by Oppenheimer & Co. on August 12, 2015. The investor conference is being held in Boston, Mass. and VOXX International will be presenting at 2:25 p.m. Eastern time.

The presentation will be available via a live audio webcast. On the day of the conference, the webcast and the accompanying presentation materials can be found on the Company's website in the Investor Relations section under the "Events and Presentations" tab.

Additionally, a replay of the webcast will be available shortly after the live presentation and will be archived on the Company's website for 90 days. 

CBR -- The race is on for car manufacturers and software companies to design the ultimate smart car, with a surprise visit by Apple to BMW indicating a possible partnership between the two firms.

An Apple delegation, including Cupertino's CEO Tim Cook, visited the German carmaker's headquarters last year to learn how BMW builds its i3 electric car, according to sources.

One of the sources told Reuters that the visit to the Leipzig factory did not result in a collaboration between Apple and BMW, as the iWatch maker is reportedly looking at creating a connected vehicle by itself.

The source added that BMW is also reluctant about sharing knowledge on how to develop the technology, as it does not want to become a supplier to a software or internet company like Apple. BMW executives have, however, shown to be open to license parts, according to the same sources.

The lack of trust in the industry is seen as an obstacle to the successful development of a connected car. Dr. Kevin Curran, senior member of the IEEE, told CBR: "A crucial barrier to smart car success is the lack of trust and collaboration between the major auto manufacturers.

Curran added that, for example companies like Ford, General Motors, Toyota, BMW and "all the other leaders" are all part of the Vehicle Infrastructure Integration Consortium, which is striving to deploy the infrastructure of tomorrow.

He said that "however, in reality they all go back to their workshops and continue to promote their own proprietary products".

Read the rest of the story here:

Entrepreneur -- When an employee quits, you don’t just lose the time, money and effort you invested in that person. According to an article published by Vocoli, you also threaten to overwork the remaining staff and lower the productivity of your team. Further, you then need to allocate more funds towards interviewing potential replacements and training them.

To bypass the headache and hidden costs associated with the departure of an employee, take preventative measures by tweaking your hiring strategy, benefits packages, and culture. Here are four tips on how to reduce employee turnover and improve your company culture.

1. Be selective.

Before even thinking about how to retain your staff members, start by imagining what kind of people you want working for you in the first place. Picking the right talent for the job is imperative to facilitating long-term growth for the employee and stability for the company. But what should we look for in the screening process?

Anthony Tjan, CEO of venture capital firm Cue Ball, suggests focusing on character instead of skills or pedigree. He writes, “While skills can be learned, it is much harder to cultivate attitude and character. There is no doubt that over time, institutional character and culture is the simple by-product of individual people.”

By hiring individuals with the best chance of being happy performing their duties on the job, you increase the chances of employee retention and cultivating a positive work environment.

2. Offer stellar learning opportunities and benefits.

Once you have the best talent on your team, make sure you can add value to their careers. Offer professional development via conferences, workshops, classes and team-building excursions. Providing relevant out-of-office opportunities for growth will allow your staff to bring fresh ideas and a sense of camaraderie back to home base.

Additionally, make sure your team’s fringe benefits are fair and up-to-date. Towards this end, utilize your human resources department to its fullest capacity by making sure your employees’ benefits packages get reviewed yearly and updated as needed. Also, consider creating personalized perks for the staff to increase morale and promote better company culture.

Read the rest of the story here:

The Mobile Electronics Distributors Merchandising Alliance announced several changes in their business structure, starting with the change of the name from MED to Elite Distributor Alliance (EDA). The new name, according to all of the members involved, better represents the broader business activities of the distributor members.

In addition the Elite Distributor Alliance is a member owned LLC. Each member will invest in his ownership of the EDA and pay annual dues thereafter.  According to Ray Windsor, “This set of business conditions will allow the EDA to more effectively set about its goal of bringing value and improved organization to the mobile electronics supply chain.  It will help add Profit, Identity and Predictability, the three most important elements of a business to all supply chain participants”.    

The EDA became incorporated on Wednesday July 28, 2015 as an LLC in the state of Delaware.  Josh Eatherly of P & E Distributors in Goodlettsville TN said, “The immediate tasks now include identifying and inviting vendors to participate with the EDA, approving by-laws and mission statement details and electing officers”. 

The EDA equity ownership includes, Advanced Marketing & Distribution in S. CA; Custom Plus Distributing in N. CA, OR, WA; Mountain West Distributors in MT, ID, WY, UT, CO, AZ, NM; Pioneer Music Distribution in NE, IA, KS, MO; Sunbelt Distributors in TX, OK, LA, AR; P & E Distributors in TN, MS, AL, GA; Ultimate Marketing in NC, SC, FL; MRI Premium Distributor, ME, NH, VT, CT, MA, RI, Upstate NY; AM Distributors in N. IL, E. WI.  That covers about 70% of the US BPI.  The EDA is expecting to add at least one more equity member in the next 30 days.

A number of the EDA Charter Members have indicated that they have each been queried by vendors as to the progress in forming the group.  Many of those vendors have expressed interest in learning more details about how they can be involved.  Michael Durand of Ultimate Marketing indicated that the EDA will have vendor information kits available in the next few days.  He encourages interested vendors to contact Ray Windsor at the number and/or e-mail below.  The EDA also has a few territories open for new equity distributor members.  Bob Oliver from Custom Plus suggested, “The equity membership investment and later annual dues along with the vendor participation fees have not changed.  In fact they are more than reasonable given the benefits delivered by the Elite Distributor Alliance.”

Never shy Dan Haight from Pioneer Music offered, “This took a little longer than I expected but at least we are off to the races now, with a solid mechanism for business improvement”.  Bob Dean of MRI echoed the claims from all of the members that, “Not only will the EDA be a business improvement catalyst for our equity members but we expect the vendor participants will realize a strong value add and improvement in the predictable and on purpose growth of their business and market share.  The collateral benefits to our collective retailer customers will be more predictability in product availability and margins”.  

The EDA members are set to have a group meeting at CES 2016 which will include vendor participants.  In addition to that meeting the EDA members suggested there will be a number of discussions with potential vendor invitees and probably a prospective distributor or two to join the EDA as equal equity members. 

CNET -- Nokia has finally unloaded its mapping service.

The Finnish telecommunications giant said on Monday that it had agreed to sell its Here maps business to European automakers Audi, BMW and Daimler, who have agreed to pay a total of 2.8 billion euros ($3.1 billion, £2 billion, AU$4.2 billion).

The fact that the three major manufacturers have teamed up to buy Here shows how important mapping data is to the future of the car industry as new vehicles become more connected. The technology gives them a viable alternative to mapping services offered by Google and Apple. The deal also allows them to move past simple satellite-navigation-style directions and toward the next generation of navigation: cars that can collect data to share real-time updates on traffic, parking and other variables with other vehicles. Down the line, those highly accurate, up-to-date maps will be crucial for self-driving cars to know where they're going.

The 150-year-old Finnish company Nokia is best-known for making phones, especially in Europe. But since selling off its phone business to Microsoft last year, it has been reduced to its three less well-known divisions: Nokia Networks, making networking equipment; Nokia Technologies, researching and developing new technology; and Here. Nokia recently bulked up its telecom equipment business with the acquisition of rival Alcatel-Lucent.

Here is available to the public in the form of maps apps on Android, iOS and Windows Phone, but the majority of its business comes from licensing mapping data to other companies, particularly in the automotive industry. There were 17 million vehicles produced with navigation systems in 2014, according to research firm IHS. Those cars will all need a steady flow of map data.

Here is developing technology that will pull data from cars, phones and the furniture of the road to the cloud and deliver real-time and predictive mapping services. The business is also expected to play an important role in the development of self-driving cars.

Read the rest of the story here:

The Los Angeles Auto Show’s Connected Car Expo (CCE) will assemble the companies and innovators that are redefining the automotive and transportation business. The full day conference and exposition has outgrown its previous space at the Los Angeles Convention Center and will now occupy virtually the entire JW Marriott at the adjacent L.A. Live entertainment complex.

“Expanding our campus to include the adjacent JW Marriott delivers a presentation room with capacity for 1,500 seats, 60,000 square feet of exhibit floor and dozens of meeting and hospitality areas,” said the show’s EVP and General Manager Terri Toennies. “The demand on exhibit and hospitality space has already created limited availability.”

More than 25 speakers will outline their vision for the dramatic changes facing the auto industry as it collaborates with technology titans like Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Qualcomm and dozens of other fast-moving tech innovators. Influential experts from Google, Volkswagen, Continental, Movimento, HARMAN Redbend, J.D. Power, Pebble and others will converge in Los Angeles to debate some of the industry’s most critical issues and identify opportunities and challenges that lie on the road ahead. Selected by the CCE Advisory Board, this year’s conference topics focus on the hot-button issues including autonomous vehicles, car sharing, cybersecurity, 3D printing, over-the-air updates and much more. The full tentative schedule can be seen at:

In addition to the conference, CCE attendees will be able to discover the latest automotive innovations at the JW Marriott, where more than 30 companies will demonstrate their latest solutions and products. Companies participating include Auto Alliance, Covisint, Elektrobit, Faurecia, Garmin, Global Automakers, KPMG, Mojio, OnStar, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, QNX, whiteCryption, Wind River and dozens of start-ups and app developers. The exhibit floor will also serve as this year’s stage for several auto-tech press conferences on Nov. 17.

“This collaboration between major auto and technology players, combined with the emergence of thousands of disruptive start-up companies, creates an unprecedented need for an automotive-focused forum connecting this rapidly changing industry,” said Lisa Kaz, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Auto Show and CCE.

Part of the LA Auto Show’s broader Press & Trade Days, CCE is the award-winning conference and trade show that unites innovators, manufacturers, futurists and influencers to further the convergence of technology and the automobile. This year’s CCE kicks off with an evening welcome reception on Monday, Nov. 16, and is followed by LA Auto Show’s press and trade events at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Nov. 18-19. Other CCE events start on Saturday, Nov. 14 and 15, including the Mojio hackathon and the UCLA Anderson School of Business Connected Car discussion taking place after the Monday evening reception at the JW Marriott.

Registration is now open. CCE exhibitors and attendees with a three days pass will be able to witness this year’s vehicle debuts and have access to an all-new CCE networking destination at the convention center.

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Entrepreneur -- The economy is improving. Consumer confidence, although still volatile, has returned to pre-recession levels and business confidence has rebounded to near-record highs. A majority of small business owners anticipate revenue and profit increases in 2015. So, why isn’t small business access to credit improving accordingly?

In that piece last year, I expressed concern about the "choke point" in small business financing. I'm still concerned. The 2014 Year-end Economic Report of the National Small Business Association cites an uptick in small business owners’ overall positivity about the economy, but also notes that “nearly one in five small firms cannot meet increased sales demand due to inability to garner financing.” Perhaps the most appalling statistic I’ve seen recently is that 50 percent of small businesses ($250,000 to $1 million) received none of the financing they had applied for in the first half of 2014.

The relationship between credit and growth is particularly significant for small businesses. The NSBA survey reveals that 47 percent of the businesses denied credit were forced to delay business expansion. Twenty percent of small business owners relied on credit cards and business earnings to finance their credit needs. Other businesses delayed hiring.

It confounds me that in a year of record lending by the Small Business Administration, entrepreneurs still struggle to get the financing they need even when all indicators point to the opportunity for growth. In a positive move, the SBA recently launched the LINC program, an online matchmaking service that helps connect creditworthy small business borrowers with interested lenders. You start by filling out a simple online form to answer 20 questions. Your completed form is sent out to LINC’s network of local, statewide and national lenders, and potentially puts you on a fast track to consideration and approval.

But if you are denied traditional bank financing, don’t give up! Follow the lead of many of your fellow entrepreneurs, who are finding funds through well-established financing alternatives. In fact, my own company, Guidant Financial, created a tool for entrepreneurs to pre-qualify online for traditional and nonstandard forms of small business financing.

Read the rest of the story here:

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