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The Mobile Electronics Industry Awards are now open for nominations. Those interested can vote for themselves or others and review submission criteria on the newly created The deadline for nominations is May 22.

The website includes latest news, past winners, current criteria and awards to be included in this year's event. New categories for the event include Rookie of the Year, official voting category for Trusted Tech and Retail Performance awards like Most Improved Location or Chain and Best Online Presence.

The Mobile Electronics Industry Awards will take place at KnowledgeFest at the Hilton Anatole hotel in Dallas, Texas, which runs August 15-17, 2015.

Petra Industries held its 13th Annual Car Audio Expo on Sunday, April 26, 2015, at Petra’s headquarters in Edmond, Okla.

Hundred’s of attendees attended Petra’s eXpo show floor on Sunday to see demonstrations of the newest mobile A/V products including head units, amplifiers, speakers and subwoofers as well as installation kits, lighting navigation systems, satellite radio and much more, all from the 25 industry leading manufacturers exhibiting. This show also afforded attendees the opportunity to see Denny Hamlin’s FedEx NASCAR up close, pose for photos with the car and get exclusive Denny Hamlin FedEx NASCAR gear.

Exhibiting manufacturers included Atrend, AAMP or America Autotek, Bazooka, Boss, Boyo, Cerwin-Vega, Clarion, Cobra, Concept Bay, Crimestopper, DB Drive, Directed Electronics, Dual, Hifonics, Install Bay, Pioneer, Planet Audio, Power Acoustik, Racsport, SiriusXM, Soundstorm, Uniden, Weboost and Whistler. Video of interviews with vendors direct from the eXpo show floor can be viewed at

Attendees also had the chance to buy exclusive same-day show special deals and compete with their fellow installers in the always-favored Dealer Olympics. This years competition included a creeper race, subwoofer toss and frozen t-shirt challenge. Adrian Marzette of Backyard Solutions was the day’s big winner in the Dealer Olympics, taking first place in both creeper race and subwoofer toss events.

“Our Car eXpo is always such a great opportunity for our vendors to meet the dealers that our installing their products each and every day and showcase their newest products,” said Tate Morgan. “The show is a highlight of our year and it seems to get bigger and bigger every year. With so much success this year I am confident that the 2016 show is going to be even bigger and better.”

All eXpo attendees were registered for dozens of door prizes and special grand prize drawings. Grand prizes included a Vizio 39” LED Smart TV, a Kindle Fire HD, a Pioneer In-Dash Navigation A/V Receiver, a 50” CREE Curve LED Light Bar and much more.

Radar -- Throughout much of early-to-mid 20th century, cutting-edge design and technology found its way into cars. Following the invention of the integrated circuit, chips and bits started displacing pistons and gears in the hearts and minds of engineers. Silicon Valley’s gravitational force began stripping Motor City of its talent, compounding with the success of every tech startup. Not long after the birth of the Internet, Silicon Valley experienced unencumbered prosperity, while Detroit struggled to hold on for dear life. As automakers rise through the ashes of bankruptcy and corporate hot-potato, I expect our best and brightest entrepreneurs and engineers to be building car tech companies.

Skeptics will cite the arduous three-to-six-year automotive design cycles, onerous qualification requirements, and thin margins that plague the automotive value chain. By attracting the greatest engineers and entrepreneurs, the car business of the early 20th century took us from horseback to stylish coupes within a generation, soon to be followed by tire-smoking muscle cars. Cars built during and after the late 80s pollute less over their lifetimes than their predecessors did parked. Sound like Moore’s Law to you?

Unfortunately, as the automotive business matured, competitive advantage became a matter of economies of scale. Technology innovation began to give way to financial engineering. The mergers and acquisitions (M&A) frenzy and bloodbath that ensued led to brand consolidation and technology divestitures — hence the birth of Tier-1 suppliers. Manufacturing automation lowered the price of entry for new automakers. The Tier 1 suppliers made cutting-edge technology as available to new entrants, such as Hyundai, as incumbents, such as Ford. The industry mantra was to outproduce, outprice, and out market. Technology and innovation took a back seat as the bean counters took the wheel.

Ralph Nader’s consumer advocacy campaign — known to many as Unsafe at Any Speed — put the brakes innovation. It helped turn cars into one of the most heavily regulated consumer products on earth. Death rates per mile driven did drop, but at a rate nowhere near that in the first half of the 20th century. Everything from tires to windshields to dashboard materials began undergoing more rigorous regulatory certifications — even the most simple modifications became subject to a litany of checklists. Cars became difficult to differentiate, to the point where automakers are now relying on sheet metal and badge engineering to differentiate themselves. The difference between an Accord/Camry, A4/3-Series, F-150/Silverado continue to blur, as the way they look, feel, and drive is a function of the same components subject to narrowing regulatory constraints.

Should we assume that cars will soon be indistinguishable? Perhaps, but they will be autonomous, extremely personalized, and carry subtle differences that will characterize our motoring experience. Components such as engines, brakes, seats, and headlights will undergo the same battery of qualifications; however, those components will be abstracted by rapidly evolving technology that will make cars personalized, and eventually, autonomous. The creators of Knight Rider didn’t have to worry much about distinguishing KITT’s appearance from a base Pontiac Trans Am, or its evil twin KARR, as its artificial intelligence made it as unique a character as Michael Knight himself.

For example, today, most modern navigation systems are obsolete as soon as the new car hits the showroom floor. That is because they are qualified under similar timelines and processes as those used to qualify critical safety systems such as brakes and seat belts. As Apple Carplay and Android Auto gain broader adoption, everything we touch, feel, and hear will become as personal and customizable as floor mats, seat covers, and fuzzy dice. While automakers will continue to focus on what they do best — build safe, efficient, comfortable, and reliable chassis — we are being ushered into an arena reminiscent of the dawn of motoring: custom coaches built on production chassis, except the “customization” will be in software, not hardware.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

Automotive News -- Self-driving cars aren't just possible. They're inevitable.

So says Ray Kurzweil, the inventor and futurist who's now director of engineering for Google.

Indeed, the days when an inexpensive computer outperforms a human at a task such as driving aren't far off, Kurzweil said in a speech last week to the SAE World Congress.

"The price, performance and capacity of information technology -- not every technology -- follows a very predictable path" of exponential, rather than linear, growth, he said. At the current pace of progress, he predicted, a $1,000 computer would be able to "emulate all the computation of the brain" by 2022.

Kurzweil said self-driving vehicles will prove their utility in the marketplace by helping to drastically reduce the number of people injured and killed in accidents, and by freeing people up to do something useful with their commute times.

Moreover, he predicted, the ownership model for cars will change once they're able to drive themselves, potentially shifting to something like the ride-hailing service Uber or the home-sharing app Airbnb, in which consumers are able to access a ride when they wish, without having to own a vehicle.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

Automotive News -- Automakers are so obsessed with imitating smartphones and other gadgets that they have loaded vehicles with a bewildering array of infotainment features and apps that many customers never use.

That was the conclusion of panelists discussing the "In-Car Experience -- What Does the Consumer Really Want?" last week here at the SAE World Congress.

The industry must do better with its infotainment and communications controls and displays, they said.

"Vehicles on the road today are overladen with tools," said David Lyon, a former General Motors designer who left the company in 2012 to form his own consultancy, Pocketsquare. "Most systems today are trying to look like the Apple iPhone. It doesn't work."


The panelists agreed that most motorists don't need the myriad choices that carmakers offer, and that those choices are not only confusing, they can be dangerously distracting.

Customers typically listen to a few radio stations and call just a few people. Carmakers need "features intervention," Lyon said.

Rather than imitate smartphones, carmakers could look to their history for examples of how to get it right. He showed a picture of a 1964 Ford Mustang radio. The knob on the right is for volume, the one on the left for tuning, with the buttons across the center for radio presets.

"Volume requires a knob," he said.

Lyon suggested a simple central touch screen with just a few options customized to the motorist.

Too often, complexity creeps into systems. He showed a slide of the first generation of BMW's oft-criticized iDrive system. In 2002, when the system was launched, there was a single controller knob on the console with no surrounding buttons. Over the years, BMW kept adding buttons until the current version, which he described as a "button farm."

David Taylor, director of connected services at Panasonic Automotive Systems Co. of America, said there is "an explosion" in consumer services and expectations. Automakers' challenge is to meet those expectations consistently around the globe without spending a fortune. That requires being prudent and building a budget to design what is needed and leave out what is not, he said.

"We need to get away from worthless features in a car," he said.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

AAMP of America will be holding its second MECP training and testing day on Sunday, May 17th at its headquarters location in Clearwater, Fla. The training session will be from 10 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and the testing session will run from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The study session will focus on material covered in both the Advanced and Master level study guides. Guests can sign up through Eventbrite at

Master Installation Technician level is the highest credential offered by MECP and is achieved only by mobile electronics professionals who have at least three years of experience and show the individual initiative, credentials and dedication necessary to earn such a prestigious honor. AAMP of America currently has 3 staff members that are Master Installation Technician’s; Ernie Hartman, Rick Costello and Tony Tassillo. They hope to add more after this session.

According to David Klatt, President and CEO of AAMP of America, “With only 275 MECP Master Installation Technicians in the USA, Canada and Mexico, and 27 in the state of Florida*, we are proud that three of them are on the AAMP team. Our customers can benefit from knowing that the people testing our products and providing technical support are among the best the industry has to offer.”

The proctors for the exams will be Mr. Costello and Mr. Hartman. AAMP of America will be exploring additional testing sessions in the future, based on demand.

VOXX Electronics participated in the first KnowledgeFest Spring Training event hosted in Indianapolis, Ind., April 11-13. During the weekend, VOXX held a successful training workshop centered on advanced FlashLogic trouble shooting, giving installers additional tools to diagnose and install more advanced remote start systems in newer vehicles.

“We were excited to be a part of the debut of KnowledgeFest Spring Training to support the mobile electronics industry. This show brings together a group of dedicated specialty retailers and reps with an interest to learn more and interact with the many different mobile electronics suppliers exhibiting at the show” said Tom Malone, President of VOXX Electronics Corporation.  “We commend KnowledgFest and their continuous dedication to educating installers and retailers by offering numerous educational tracks hosted by industry leaders and representatives.”

On both Saturday and Sunday the Company held a successful training workshop for over 50 attendees. Phil Camirand of Automotive Data Solutions (ADS) and Brian Munyon of VOXX Electronics took attendees through advanced troubleshooting and diagnostics for transponder and door lock interface modules, calling out the latest tips on today’s challenging vehicles. Brian also spent some time walking through the steps for the new VOXX Prestige/Pursuit web based programming system.

Attendees of the training workshop walked away with a swag bag full of goodies and were entered into a raffle to win the following prizes: Klispch RB-10 Soundbar, Prestige APS997E Remote Start & Security System with Car Connection PRO and 1 year prepaid service and a $100 Snap-on gift card.

For more information about VOXX Electronics please visit:  

Infowars -- The Association of Global Automakers, a lobbying firm for 12 manufacturers, is asking the U.S. Copyright Office to prevent car owners from accessing “computer programs that control the functioning of a motorized land vehicle, including personal automobiles, commercial motor vehicles, and agricultural machinery, for purposes of lawful diagnosis and repair, or aftermarket personalization, modification, or other improvement.

“In order to modify automotive software for the purpose of ‘diagnosis and repair, or aftermarket personalization, modification, or other improvement,’ the modifier must use a substantial amount of the copyrighted software – copying the software is at issue after all, not wholly replacing it,” the AGA claimed. “Because the ‘heart,’ if not the entirety, of the copyrighted work will remain in the modified copy, the amount and substantiality of the portion copied strongly indicates that the proposed uses are not fair.”

Auto Alliance, which also represents 12 automobile manufacturers, is also asking the agency to scrap exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that allow car enthusiasts to modify and tune their rides.

“Allowing vehicle owners to add and remove [electronic control] programs at whim is highly likely to take vehicles out of compliance with [federal] requirements, rendering the operation or re-sale of the vehicle legally problematic,” Auto Alliance claimed in a statement. “The decision to employ access controls to hinder unauthorized ‘tinkering’ with these vital computer programs is necessary in order to protect the safety and security of drivers and passengers and to reduce the level of non-compliance with regulatory standards.”

But people have been working on their own cars since cars were invented.

“It’s not a new thing to be able to repair and modify cars,” a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Kit Walsh, said. “It’s actually a new thing to keep people from doing it.”

Read the rest of the story HERE.

DD Audio has announced the appointment of Eric Parks as International Sales Manager.

As the International Sales Manager, Mr. Parks will be responsible for identifying and maximizing growth opportunities with international customers. Charged with building brand recognition and customer relationships, he will develop programs to achieve sales goals while addressing current and future customer needs.

Jassa Langford, DD Audio President, says “Eric has over 30+ years experience in mobile electronics distribution, retail merchandising, and product development. In addition to his well rounded industry experience, he has earned several CES Innovation awards for his efforts in product development. We feel Eric is a very strong addition to the DD Audio team, and we’re confident he will help us to grow and improve our international customer relations.“

Consumer electronics rep firm End Result, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has announced that its 16th annual electronics expo for home A/V and 12-volt retailers was a huge success according to attendees. More than 170 local dealers attended the Survive—Revive—Thrive, event held on April 15 at the Fort Rapids Resort & Convention Center, in Columbus, Ohio. 

 At the one-day event, local dealers had an up close and personal preview of several new products from exhibiting manufacturers, and all had an opportunity to participate in a variety of educational seminars, manufacturers’ training sessions, and roundtable discussions. The full day of activities concluded with an entertaining Casino Night that gave everyone a chance to kick back.

Ed Dalesandro, principal of End Result and organizer of the event said, “The Show went great! Enthusiasm was high and everything was well received by the dealers attending. My biggest disappointment is that there were dealers in less than an hour away who couldn’t make. They missed some very exciting stuff. I am sure some had a legit reason why they couldn’t come, but we can’t make them better if they don’t try themselves. There was a wealth of knowledge and enthusiastic colleagues eager to share successes.”

Todd Hays, President of Columbus Car Audio & Accessories had this to say, “The End Result Show in Columbus, Ohio was a great event.  Ed Dalesandro and his team put together a great line up of seminars including a fantastic session on Selling Your Labor by Bryan Schmidt.   The seminar has our company working on implementing change immediately.  The day ended with an inspiring keynote speaker, Rick Crossland, that discussed having "A Players" in your organization. Thanks to Ed and his many manufacturers for putting this regional event together!

Mike Woods, President of Sound & Visions said, “We appreciated Ed Dalesandro’s effort to put together a regional show that included both a product showcase & educational seminars for our staff.  End Result goes above & beyond the efforts of most rep firms.” 

Highlights of the event included the introduction of Jaymar Theater Seating, a family business out of Montreal and the introduction of Electric Mirror, a cutting-edge lighted mirror and Mirror TV company that demonstrated an amazing image on a mirror and the TV was invisible.

Attending dealers:

  •       Absolute Theater
  •       Access One Alarms & Audio
  •       Audio Sensations
  •       Airwaves
  •       American Entertainment
  •       Audio Craft
  •       Audio visual concepts
  •       Audio Innovations
  •       Audio Video Doctors
  •       Audio Werks of Cincinnati
  •       Auto Additions
  •       Auto Sound
  •       Beacon AVS
  •       B’s Car Stereo
  •       Butch’s Sound and Vision- oldest dealer there 1968)
  •       Car Audio design
  •       California Custom Sound
  •       Carls Stereo Plus Pick ups
  •       CD Innovations
  •       Cincinnati Home theaters
  •       Columbus Car Audio
  •       Connections Unlimited
  •       Custom Auto Restylers
  •       Davis Distribution
  •       Elite Audio Video
  •       Enlightened Technology
  •       Ergo Audio
  •       Genesis Audio
  •       Goosebumps
  •       Ideal Sound and Vision
  •       Innovative Auto works
  •       Just in Time Audio Video
  •       Ministry of Sound
  •       Perfect Solutions
  •       Pittsburgh Custom Home Theater
  •       Roadquake
  •       RSJ Mobile Electronics
  •       Safe Systems
  •       Simply automated
  •       Scene Scape
  •       Sound & vision
  •       Alamo Electronics
  •       AC Audio video 
  •       Yankellos Audio video
  •       VIP Autoworks
  •       Team Nutz
  •       The Wholesale House
  •       Ramko Distributing
  •       Sound Investment

Special thanks to Sound & Visions of Akron, OH who closed 3 stores for the day and sent 14 people to the event! VIP Autoworks and Elite Audio video for helping us during setup. Innovative Auto Works and Columbus Car Audio for loaning us their displays. 

Exhibiting home audio/video manufacturers included:

Anthem, BDI, Electric Mirror, Jamar, Paradigm Russound, Screen Innovations, and Wolf Cinema.

Autosound/Automotive manufacturers: Accele Electronics, Avidworx, Cadence, Hertz Audison, PAC / iSimple, RaceSport Lighting, Rosen, Rydeen, Soundquest/Stinger, Wet Sounds.

KICKER Audio is pulling out all the stops for Jeep Beach 2015 presented by Mid-Florida Jeep Club April 22-26, an annual event for Jeep fanatics with a passion for off-road vehicles. The five-day-long event is held each year at the Daytona International Speedway and Daytona Beach, Fla., where a plethora of Jeep enthusiasts and vendors gather to participate in scavenger hunts, obstacle courses and attempt to break the record for the world’s largest Jeep parade.

KICKER will bring along its newest Jeep demo, equipped with a Wrangler Vehicle-Specific Solutions (VSS™) upgrade system. The VSS audio system is created specifically for a Wrangler’s interior body style with an ability to auto-convert equalization from a hard top to the open air and back again. The system consists of a 10-inch powered subwoofer and an 8-channel amplifier capable of linking to the vehicle’s CAN-Bus and powering the factory audio.

Also included in KICKER’s Jeep Beach lineup is the newly renovated XRV tractor-trailer, fully capable of demonstrating each level of audio product and providing a thrill to those who step inside its “Boom Room.” The “Boom Room” is a sealed-off cabin within the trailer that contains a wall of 12 Q-Class L7 15-inch subwoofers handling more than 16,000 watts.

The rest of KICKER’s entourage is rounded out with a tricked-out Polaris UTV featuring the company’s PowerSports audio equipment, and KICKER dealer Ultimate Auto’s custom Jeep with L7 Subwoofers and IQ-Series Amplifiers.

Jeep Beach bills itself as “the largest Jeep-only, five-day event in the Southeast USA.” Registration during the week of the event is $100 for those who would like to participate and be included in each day’s activities. The event is centered at Daytona International Speedway Friday and Saturday before moving to the beach Sunday for a shoreline cruise.

Virtual Strategy -- Fifty-five percent of North American automotive aftermarket companies admit their biggest fear is cheaper competition, while 51 percent reveal that when customers leave, the biggest reason is cost. This is according to research published in April 2015 from North America’s leading supplier of sales intelligence software, sales-i.

The 2015 Automotive Aftermarket Industry Trends Report, based on data from 421 executives across the industry, also reveals that face-to-face meetings are still the most successful sales setting, while cold calling brings in the most new business leads. However, the use of social media is on the rise with 72 percent of respondents admitting that it will play a central part in their marketing strategy this year.

Kevin McGirl, President of sales-i, comments: “The big four players across the automotive aftermarket industry dominate just 20 percent of a market that’s worth a whopping $138 billion. That means now is a great time for smaller businesses to stand up and take their share of the market. This survey provides some fascinating insight into what these businesses need to be doing to beat the competition this year!”


Automotive News -- Bose Corp. and Harman International Industries turned up the volume at the top of the branded in-car audio segment in late March with back-to-back feats.

On March 26, Bose Corp., which originated branded in-car audio with the 1983 Cadillac Seville, said its 34-speaker Bose Panaray system will appear in the 2016 Cadillac CT6 sedan.

Five days later, rival Harman International Industries Inc. counterpunched, saying it would pay 145 million euros, or about $154 million, to acquire the Bang & Olufsen Automotive car audio business, including the Bang & Olufsen and B&O Play brands.

The acquisition added another glamorous name to Harman's already bulging trophy case of high-end audio brands offered in Audi, BMW, Lincoln and Volvo vehicles, to name a few.

The Bose and Harman announcements threw into sharp relief the different strategies of the two leading companies in branded automotive audio.

Bose has steadfastly stuck by its strategy that its brand is prestigious enough to cover a wide array of automotive applications, from the Chevrolet Malibu to the Cadillac CT6.

"Because we're a very authentic company, we sweat all the details and put consistently great sound systems in these cars no matter what the range is," says Marc Mansell, vice president of Bose Automotive Systems Division. "The consumers have a trust for the Bose brand at the end of the day because of the products we've put out."

Product categories pioneered by Bose include noise-canceling headphones, direct reflecting loudspeakers and its SoundDock tabletop speaker for iPods.

Read More HERE.

Petra Industries, a leading wholesale distributor of consumer electronics, custom installation products, wireless accessories, mobile audio/video accessories and appliance connection supplies,has announced the appointment of Robert Wikes as Regional E-Commerce Sales Manager.

As the e-commerce regional sales manager for the Florida and SE U.S., Wikes will be responsible for identifying and maximizing growth opportunities with e-commerce customers. Charged with building relationships and partnering with customers he will develop programs to achieve sales goals while addressing current and future customer needs.

“Bob has a tremendous amount of sales and marketing experience and his merchandising background will make him a terrific asset to our customers,” said John Grothe, Vice-President of E-Commerce at Petra Industries. “His expertise in ecommerce, combined with his 30+ years in consumer electronic distribution, retail and merchandising will make him a great addition to the Petra team and we are very fortunate to have him on board.”


Great Opportunity with VOXX International Corporation for a 12 Volt Installer

Considered one of the premier 12 Volt global manufacturers in vehicle security, remote start,telematics, rear seat entertainment and advanced collision avoidance – VOXX Electronics Corporationis looking to add the best support possible to its dealer partners.


Long Island based

Working knowledge of 12 Volt needed with 2 years minimum experience in installing automotive electronics.

12-volt installs of security/rear seat entertainment and car audio required.

Strong communication skills required for interacting with retailer/expeditor installers.

Computer knowledge of Microsoft Office software neededas well as ability to download firmware.

Travel required.

Excellent benefits: health plan, vacation and sick/personal days/wellness programs

If you are interested in joining the VOXX team, please send resume and salary requirements to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. -- Being a successful entrepreneur means you have to wear a lot of hats, especially when your company is just starting out and you don’t have enough employees to cover all the areas you need.

Learning the new skills necessary to start a new business can be expensive, but fortunately the initiative for free, high-quality, educational resources online has only continued to grow in the past few years. Below are some of the resources available to learn more about marketing, entrepreneurship, business management and more.

1. CodeAcademy

This great resource offers free interactive programming sessions to help you learn programming languages such as HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP. You can save your progress as you go with a free account. Learning to code can help entrepreneurs fix bugs if they don’t have a developer, or even go down the road of building their own website or products (such as apps).

2. HubSpot Academy 

The free certification program offers courses on inbound marketing, including website optimization, landing pages and lead nurturing. These skills are a must for business owners as they try to grow their business and online presence.

Related: 21 Resources to Make You a Better Entrepreneur

3. Moz

If you want to learn search-engine optimization to make sure your website is as visible as possible, check out this treasure trove of resources from SEO leader, Moz. Besides having the free Moz Academy, there are also webinars (live and recorded), and beginner’s guides to SEO, social media and link building.

4. LearnVest

The most successful entrepreneurs know how to manage their money both on a business and personal side. In addition to having extremely affordable finance classes, LearnVest also offers some of its classes for free, such as “Building Better Money Habits” and “How to Budget.”

5. Niche consultant courses

The Internet has made for a coaching boom, which is extremely helpful to entrepreneurs who want to learn how to start or better a business in a specific niche. Some great coaches and organizations that routinely have free courses and ebooks on building a business include Natalie MacNeil and MyOwnBusiness. Try searching “niche keyword” + “business course” to find one most applicable to you.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

Cerwin-Vega Mobile recently conducted its “Legion of Boom” training seminar at KnowledgeFest 2015 held in Indianapolis, Ind. Industry veteran Larry Frederick, head of New Product Development for Cerwin-Vega Mobile, held court as he provided a complete product overview of Cerwin-Vega Mobile’s latest product offerings and technologies. The “Legion of Boom” training also covered the basics of car audio physics and how to get the most out of any car audio equipment and system designs to achieve maximum SPL levels and superior sound quality output.

“Training is crucial in today’s highly competitive retail environment. From the experienced to new dealers just starting out in our industry, it is imperative that they take advantage of manufacturer’s trainings to fine-tune their product knowledge and be able to learn new things about the constantly changing technologies so they will be prepared. Consumers these days are doing a lot more research due to the abundance of resources that are conveniently made available to them so it is important that our dealers are well-prepared and trained to provide the proper information to close a deal,” adds Larry Frederick. Vega Nation’s Eric Balmart from B’s Car Stereo just outside of Cleveland, Ohio won himself a VEGA series 15” subwoofer (V152DV2) at the “Legion of Boom” training. B’s Car Stereo has been part of the Vega Nation for approximately 10 years and continues to deliver the BOOM in the surrounding Cleveland market.
John Harden from Auto Solutions in Concord, NC made the trek all the way to Indianapolis, IN and was chosen as the winner of the VEGA series V1000.1D amplifier. Auto Solutions recently joined the VEGA Nation last year and is servicing the Concord and greater Charlotte, N.C. market.


Utilizing a quality venue, good timing and a solid combination of educational seminars and manufacturer trainings, the first KnowledgeFest Spring Training event drew retailers from areas never before tapped for the industry-specific event.

Being the second of its kind, this event was created to focus primarily as a bridge for retailers who are unable to travel to Dallas in August and meet directly with manufacturers for training and to ask questions in an intimate setting. Located in downtown Indianapolis at the Indiana Convention Center, this second KnowledgeFest offered trainings from Kicker, Kenwood, Alpine, Voxx, Directed, Escort, Memphis Car Audio and K40, among others. Companies provided trainings on their latest products and gave sales tips on how to sell those products in the most effective ways. New technologies have been a source of confusion for many retailers in recent years due to the rapid rate of change, which manufacturers saught to help with at the event.

The educational tracks saw a variety of pairings from veteran retailers and industry gurus. One such pairing was between Del Ellis and Jason Kranitz, who were their to promote their new venture, Kingpin University, in an attempt to promote more education in the industry due to a shortage of installers. Also presenting were Marcel Newell and Ben Vollmer from Avidworx/Businessworx, alongside retailers Mike Bartells and John Schwartz.

The biggest strengths of the seminars came in their topics, focusing on some of the hottest issues causing headaches to retailers today, including how to find good help amidst an installer shortage, sale strategies for less popular categories like window tinting and techniques for integrating new technologies like iPad dash kits and OEM integration.

The event also showcased a Town Hall Meeting, featuring a panel of veteran retailers providing their thoughts in an open forum for both retailers and manufacturers to hear. Topics discussed included customer retention, finding and developing new talent and the importance of continuous training. Questions from the audience bore some controversy with some retailers airing grievances regarding topics like a lack of POP from some manufactures, specifically regarding literature for clients to read, as well as issues with defective products and no reimbursement for return shipping costs.

To close the meeting, Solomon Daniels, editor-in-chief of Mobile Electronics magazine, discussed this year's Industry Awards, which will take place in Dallas, Texas at KnowledgeFest 2015. The awards process officially begins on May 1st and will include many changes, including new awards for Rookie of the Year, Trusted Tech (separately voted), various retail performance awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award. A new website will be created specifically for the awards, which, in addition to current contest information and rules, will include previous winners and nominees.

With the KnowledgeFest Spring Training event coming up in less than a week, it seemed timely to provide you with some tips on how to be better at networking. Here are few from that might help:

Entrepreneur -- One of the best ways for entrepreneurs to socialize with colleagues, customers and potential clients is at networking events. Corporate gatherings, conferences, happy hours and cocktail parties provide an opportunity for you to meet new people and reconnect with old acquaintances.

However, if you have difficulty mingling in a room full of strangers, connecting with other professionals can be a difficult and uncomfortable process. Regardless of how you feel, networking is undeniably an effective way to meet people who can provide new opportunities and help you grow your business.

Many entrepreneurs regularly attend networking events, but few study or practice effective networking. The more practiced you become at starting conversations with strangers, the less anxious you’ll be. Your confidence will attract others and help you become much more than just another business card.

To become a master mingler, employ these tips at the next networking event you attend.

Hone your public speaking skills.

Conversations require just as much speaking ability as a presentation. Practice your skills whenever you can. Take a public speaking class or join a Toastmasters club in your area. When you feel prepared, give presentations at industry meetings or offer to give a guest lecture at a local community college or university.

Start with a handshake.

The type of handshake you extend to a stranger speaks volumes about you and your intentions. When you approach someone new at a networking event, start your conversation with a firm handshake. As you greet the individual, make eye contact, smile, extend your hand and introduce yourself. This nonverbal communication will help you build rapport before you even say a word.

Win the name game.

Remembering names is an essential skill in conversations. When others hear you say their name, it makes them feel more connected to you. If you’ve just met someone for the first time, use his name frequently in conversation. When you forget a name, simply extend your hand and say your own name. The other person will most likely introduce himself in return.

Show interest.

Many entrepreneurs use a popular but ineffective approach while networking. Instead of building relationships, they collect and hand out as many business cards as they can. To form professional connections, approach new acquaintances with a genuine interest in their businesses, opinions and hobbies. When you initiate the conversation, ask open-ended questions to show your sincerity.

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Business World -- The Internet of Things will continue to make inroads into the automotive industry in 2015 with the connected car technology. The year 2015 will witness more mainstream auto companies adopting connected car and advanced technologies.
Here are five auto technology trends to watch for in the coming year:
The number of vehicles that include a telematics option will increase: There are 14 automakers that control 80 per cent of the car market globally and each one of them has a connected-car strategy. In 2015, we’ll start to see these strategies apply to more car models as connected features, such as high-end navigation, telematics and infotainment, are included as standard options.
Advanced technologies will become a precursor for autonomous vehicles: Future-forward car manufacturers will start to push the envelope on enhancing advanced technologies such as adaptivecruise control and lane departure warning– further setting the stage for autonomous vehicles.
Competition for off-the-shelf aftermarket solutions will intensify: Overall, adoption for connected cars remains relatively low. For example, 200 million cars in the U.S. are not connected. The coming year will usher in more competition for solutions to benefit the aftermarket.

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