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Tint World® has made the Inc. 500|5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the nation for 2015. This year’s inclusion marks the fourth year Tint World® has made the prestigious list.

“Being named to the Inc. 500|5000 list once again is truly a testament to the Tint World® model and the enormous amount of work that has been accomplished system-wide to ensure the brand continues to make significant strides,” said Charles J. Bonfiglio, CEO of Tint World®. “Our goal is to continue down this path as we continue to position Tint World® as the leading automotive customization and window tinting franchise in the world.”

The Tint World® franchise model is based around the Automotive Styling Centers™, which provide automotive, marine, residential and commercial window tinting and film installations. In addition to window tinting, Tint World® franchises offer sales and installation of mobile electronics, audio video equipment, security systems, auto accessories, detailing services and more. Owners are provided comprehensive corporate support during all phases of the opening process, including startup, location selection, training, marketing and sales support, and franchisees are encouraged to explore multi-store ownership opportunities. Currently, Tint World® has nearly 70 individual locations opened or in development throughout the U.S. with more planned, including internationally.

Entrepreneur -- Vacation anxiety is real -- and for good reason, as anything can happen when you aren't in the office. Back in 2008, I experienced my own living nightmare when my point of sale systems’ server crashed, closing our stores indefinitely.

It’s events like these that encourage many startup and small business owners to deal with vacation anxiety by simply not taking vacation. According to OnDeck’s Small Business Owners Survey, only 9 percent of the 200 business owners who participated planned on taking a full two-week vacation. Sixty-one percent indicated that they would take a one-week vacation and 26 percent said that they'd take a few days off. Not only is it common for small-business owners to not take vacations, but they are known to worry profusely when they do take one. Of those who do take time off, 67 percent planned on checking in with work at least once per day.

With so many advances in technology, it is possible to thwart vacation anxiety -- at least partially -- and go on a relaxing getaway as things running smoothly while you're away.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Your Team Needs You to Take a Vacation

Here are five surefire tips to take the stress out of managing a small business while you’re away, drinking piña coladas and kicking back on the beach.

1. Choose the right person to step in for you.

Before even thinking about the technology that you’d like to use to help manage the shop while you’re away, the first thing that you should consider is selecting one of your trusted employees to stand in for you. Having a reliable stand-in who knows your business inside and out can help bring peace of mind while you're on vacation. Ensure a smooth transition by going over both routine and unexpected tasks along with the appropriate procedures.

2. Communicate your expectations.

A lot can happen in a day. Before relaxing by the pool, run through different scenarios and consider how involved you’ll be if they happen. You should also gauge how your departure may affect your team. Do they expect you to check in regularly? Will your stand-in have absolute authority to make decisions? What constituents an emergency?

These are all good questions to ask before committing to your getaway. Clarify your expectations in advance so that your team back home knows how and when to reach out to you.

Read the rest of the story here:

Business Insider -- This month, the United States Patent and Trademark Office approved a patent application from a group of Ford employees for an "autonomous car with reconfigurable seats."

It's the latest step in Ford's move into the world of self-driving cars, and it comes on the heels of the company's launch of an advanced engineering program headed by the company's Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California.

The company also has partnerships with MIT and Stanford to conduct research into the challenges of automated driving.

According to the patent, filed by Mark Cuddihy, Manoharprasad Rao, and Jialiang Le, the design calls for an automobile capable of operating without the input of a driver.

At the same the vehicle is equipped with seats capable of changing its layout.

This means that when the car is in autonomous mode, the passenger cabin can be converted into a lounge or a more socially conducive setting — turning the average family sedan into a road-going private jet.

HNTB -- Travel safety is the single most important issue emerging transportation technologies must address, according to the findings of a new national public opinion poll.
The latest America THINKS survey by HNTB Corporation, “Technology-driven transportation innovation — demand for safety, concern for personal privacy,” finds Americans want and expect new technologies and emerging innovations, such as connected vehicles, autonomous vehicles and smart roads, to improve travel safety. That expectation, however, is tempered by significant personal privacy concerns about access and use of information generated by those very technologies.
“With human errors accounting for nearly 90 percent of all highway crashes — and between 30 percent and 50 percent of all peak-period delays being caused by crashes — minimizing the human influence in driving performance can have a two-fold benefit. Not only can smarter infrastructure and vehicles save lives and reduce injuries, they also can lead to improved mobility of the traveling public,” said Jim Barbaresso, HNTB’s national practice leader for intelligent transportation systems and 2014 chairman of the ITS World Congress.
Privacy concerns surround the technology, too. At a June 2015 press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Barbaresso joined Khaliah Barnes of the Electronic Privacy Information Center to discuss connected vehicle technology and related privacy questions. Both agreed standards and guidelines concerning data capture and its management will need to be carefully crafted. But Barnes also stated standards and guidelines are not substitutions for strong, baseline federal privacy protections.
Barnes said, “The public will not tolerate government agencies’ unfettered access to the information their cars collect and share.”

Safety First
The survey confirms the belief in a direct relationship between travel information and safety.
More than half (52 percent) of those surveyed agree the single most important use of transportation technology – for every means of transportation – is to reduce accidents or make travel conditions safer. Americans are far less likely to prioritize technology’s ability to enhance personal convenience, such as guaranteeing travel time or accurate route planning (10 percent), improving the environment (10 percent), enhancing the ability to use the best transportation option (8 percent) or reducing congestion (8 percent). Improving safety for pedestrians and bicyclists is the most important use of technology to 6 percent, and increasing traffic capacity is most important to 4 percent.
As new transportation technologies emerge, more than seven in 10 (71 percent) Americans believe they should be used to improve safety on highways, while 53 percent feel this way about providing traffic condition information.  Fifty percent want new technologies to reduce congestion, and 42 percent desire information about alternative routes or modes of travel. 
The HNTB survey found most people are optimistic about transportation innovations, such as connected vehicle technology. They believe this technology will lead to increased safety (65 percent), fewer traffic accidents (61 percent) and reduced fatalities (58 percent). 
“Evolving connected and autonomous vehicles will make travel on our cities’ streets, on our nation’s corridors and in our vehicles more reliable, predictable, faster and safer,” Barbaresso said. “The full benefits of this transformation won’t be realized overnight, but cities can start now to incrementally create a safer world for future generations of travelers.”

Read the rest of the story here:


Alpine Electronics of America, Inc. has redesigned its website for the U.S. aftermarket.  The website -- -- prominently features the Alpine Restyle dash systems while still supporting the entire aftermarket product line.    
Over the past two years, the company has shifted its focus to the Alpine Restyle series of products.  As a result, the website was redesigned to highlight the Alpine Restyle dash systems and give users a full experience of the products and how they integrate in the vehicle.  The centerpiece product is the X009, a 9-inch screen system with audio, video, navigation and Bluetooth® features that comes with a vehicle specific dash kit and harness. Since each X009 system is compatible with a specific vehicle, it is important for users to see each product installed in an actual vehicle dashboard.    
“The new website, like our other Alpine Restyle marketing initiatives, is designed to increase awareness amongst consumers about our vehicle specific dash systems in an easy-to-understand format.  The website annually receives around four million unique visitors, so it plays a vital part in driving them to authorized Alpine retailers for a premium product experience,” said Steve Crawford, vice president and general manager, aftermarket business unit, Alpine Electronics of America, Inc.
The first images that greet users on the home page are large rotating billboards for select products and promotions.  The recently launched Alpine Restyle cable TV commercial currently occupies one of the billboard spots.  The remainder of the home page highlights the Alpine Restyle 9-inch dash systems which are featured in the “New Restyle Arrivals” area.  Clicking on any of the images takes the user to a dedicated product page for that system.  
To further support the Alpine Restyle dash systems, a new “Restyle My Truck” dash configurator is available from the home page menu bar.  To get started, users are prompted to select the make, model, vehicle trim and dash trim of their truck or SUV.  Once done, the 9-inch and/or 8-inch Restyle dash system that is compatible with their vehicle is presented.  By choosing the desired Restyle dash system and pressing the “Restyle My Truck” button, the applicable product page is served and provides the user with detailed information about the system.  A “Contact an Expert” button is found on every 9-inch and 8-inch Restyle dash system product page and connects the user to an authorized Alpine retailer near their location.  
Social media engagement provides another way for Alpine to connect with its fans, and enthusiastic consumers and retailers often share photos of Alpine products installed in their vehicles.  To optimize the valuable trove of Alpine photos on the web, an “Alpine Owner’s Showcase” was implemented on the website’s homepage.  A photo collage of 9-inch Alpine Restyle dash systems installed in various vehicles shows how the 9-inch screen transforms the dash while providing a factory-like finish.  The photos are captured from Alpine’s Facebook (, Instagram ( and Twitter ( feeds and are continually updated.  Information about the authorized Alpine retailer who installed the system is displayed when applicable.
All Alpine products are accessible through the “Products” button on the menu bar.  The Alpine Restyle systems appear first in the Products section, but users can quickly jump to other Alpine products by pressing the “Alpine Products” button in the top black border.  All other Alpine products are grouped by category for easy identification.
Back-end improvements have also been applied to the website for enhanced overall usability.  The website utilizes a responsive design so that the content layout automatically adjusts to the size of the screen that is in use.  This design ensures a consistent page experience no matter the device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.) that is being used.

This year's Mobile Electronics Industry Awards have been announced during the ceremony at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas. The Installer of the Year Award was given to JT Torres of Al & Ed's Autosound in Huntington Beach, Calif. The Retailer of the Year Single Store was awarded to Perfectionist Auto Sound and Security.

Below is the complete list of winners:

Retail Awards

Installer of the Year: Juan Torres

Installer of the Year  RUNNER-UP: Matt Schaeffer

Trusted Tech: Bryan Piper

Retailer of the Year - Single Store: Perfectionist Autosound

Retailer of the Year Single Store RUNNER-UP: Musicar Northwest

Retailer of the Year Store Chain: Stereo King

Retailer of the Year Store Chain RUNNER-UP: Tint World

Career Achievement Award: David “Fishman” Rivera

Rookie of the Year: Tyler Clemence

Most Improved: Auto Trim Design of Amarillo

Best Online Presence: Cartronix

Best Customer Retention Program: Handcrafted Car Audio

Best Store Presentation: Tunes-N-Tint

Vendor Awards

Vendor of the Year: Orca Design & Manufacturing

Expeditor of the Year: American Radio

Distributor of the Year AUTO: DOW Electronics

Representative of the Year: Andy Adkins

Rep Firm of the Year: Marketing Pros

Top Vendor AUTOSOUND & VIDEO: Orca Design & Manufacturing

Top Vendor ACCESSORIES & MATERIALS: Metra Electronics


Top Vendor SAFETY & RETENTION: Firstech



Forbes -- Both B2B and B2C companies can benefit greatly from devoting resources to initiatives that help develop customer loyalty. Gartner, a technology research firm, estimates that by 2018, B2B businesses that employ effective personalization techniques on their e-commerce websites will outsell competitors who lack this personalization by 30%.

On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their initial purchase. To increase the likelihood that your company sees, and benefits from, this repeat business, consider implementing the three measures discussed here. Each idea has been tremendously beneficial as Varsity Tutors has grown from operating in one city to several dozen.

1. Develop a positive feedback loop

One of the best ways to encourage customer loyalty is to develop a positive end-to-end user experience that makes your consumers return again and again. Your user experience begins when a potential customer first learns of your brand, and it continues through his or her use of your product or service.

Why is user experience so important? One-third of consumers cite a positive experience as a significant factor in their brand loyalty. Conversely, up to 2/3 of customers see a negative experience as a compelling reason to change brands.

Read the rest of the story here:

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."

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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.

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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.

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