December '18

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86 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2018 B ack in the day, a core group of mobile electronics retailers got together to form the Mobile Elec- tronics Retailers Association. Their annual trade show became known as KnowledgeFest. A few years back the association was purchased and is now run by the Mobile Electronics Association. More impor- tantly, the 12-volt-specific trade show has grown into a high-profile industry gathering and a place installers can come to learn more about their craft and the products that power the market. IN-PERSON EXPERIENCE The main event is held in Dallas, with two other events held in Indianapolis and Long Beach. This was another record-setting year for KnowledgeFest Dallas and for the MEA, with year-over-year growth in both attendees and exhibitors—more than 1,729 attendees, including 1,217 retailer and distributor attendees; 1,115 retailers; and 103 distributors. There were more than 60 exhibitors occupying 90,000 square feet of exhibit space, 48 hours of educational workshops and 78 hours of manufacturer training. To accommodate the event's growth, the show floor moved to a bigger hall within the Dallas Convention Center. Growth came from product categories such as driver assistance and safety prod- ucts. Both of these emerging categories are offering installing dealers new rev- enue opportunities. "Over the last several years we've watched KnowledgeFest evolve to the point where, this year in Dallas, we've seen the mobile electronics industry make KnowledgeFest their own," says Chris Cook, president of the Mobile Electronics Association. "Looking at our show floor, I was struck by the number of pure 12-volt companies exhibiting. The best suppliers in our industry bring their A game to KnowledgeFest and they exhibit with the hope they will make a positive impact on your business and on their own." The international presence at the event was also noticeable, with retailers coming from as far as China, Spain, Brazil and Colombia. MANUFACTURER INTRODUCTIONS Manufacturers bring the products they want to show off to the best and brightest of the industry. Alpine was there with a special seminar on its PXE-0850S Advanced Wireless DSP. It truly takes an hour to learn the ins- and-outs of this powerful processor and all it can do. The payoff is the ability to offer your customers sound quality they have never experienced before. The design gives the installation tech the ability to tune the system with a smartphone or tablet. Each channel can be delayed so it reaches the driver's ears at the same time, in addition to a 31-band graphic and parametric EQ. KnowledgeFest & MEA look to support 12-volt installers. By Brett Solomon 86 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2018 Electronics Training The Mobile Electronics Association's KnowledgeFest in Dallas is a place 12-volt installers can attend seminars and learn more about the products and trends driving the industry. Chris Cook, president of the Mobile Electronics Association, says KnowledgeFest exhibitors hope to make a positive impact on your business and their own.

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