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Hitting the Ground Running: CES 2016

Attending the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas every January begins as a gauntlet of press conferences for tech journalists.

Attending the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas every January begins as a gauntlet of press conferences for tech journalists, and Head Monster Noel Lee blasts out a press conference like no one else. His “Monstrous” enthusiasm (couldn’t help it) is contagious, and even if you don’t sell headphones, by the conclusion, you are ready to sign up.

Head Monster Noel Lee and some pals at the Monster press conference. 

During his CES press conference, Noel announced the company is launching Monster 2.0…a rethinking of everything from the company’s first 37 years. A primary goal is to create profit for dealers by re-inventing retail through such key areas as wireless, gaming, and style and fashion products. To achieve this, Monster is introducing a new “Lifestyle Marketing Team” who has its collective fingers on the pulse of all current and future trends.

Monster is an expert company at partnerships and collaborations, and announced a new partnership with automobile manufacturer Bentley. Other new partnerships included the world of sports and music. Christiano Ronaldo is partnering with Monster for the ROC Sport line. Christiano has 140 million online followers; if he endorses a product, you better believe people are going to take notice.

Paul Jacobs, Klipsch. 

In power products for the home, Monster announced new solutions for every room in the house, including theater, office, and living room, and is encouraging their customers “to cut the cord by using Black Platinum Power.” Black Platinum PowerCenters all feature Monster’s Fireproof MOV Technology designed to keep users’ families, homes, electronics, and valuables safe and sound.

Mark Casavant, Klipsch, demoing the Reference Premiere HD wireless hi-resolution speakers. 

Another interesting press conference was VOXX International, whose Klipsch brand continues to be of importance to the custom integration channel. Paul Jacobs heralded the company’s 70th anniversary and his own 25 years with Klipsch. The company’s mission of providing its customers with performance-driven products at affordable prices is still going strong.

The company works with designers on three continents and they continue to ask themselves at every step of the way, “Does this sound honor the company’s origins?”

Starpower’s David Pidgeon and ProSource’s Jim Ristow. 

The new Reference Premiere HD wireless hi-resolution speakers are shipping now. These award-winning speakers feature the same Reference Premiere acoustic platform that Klipsch is known for, and combine it with an HD Control Center for lossless, wireless audio transmission. Through the use of state-of-the-art WiSA technology, no detail is lost from the source to the speaker. The system features free ongoing upgrades, quick and simple setup, and the ability to expand the system over time from 2.0 to 7.2 channels. Jacobs pledges that, “No product can even come close to these in the market.” To commemorate its 70th anniversary, Klipsch has handcrafted a limited edition run of is legendary Klipschorn and Heresy speakers.

SVS’s Gary Yacoubian and and Murray Huppin, Huppin’s/

Under the VOXX umbrella there are also 11 new Jamo products at CES with “Danish DNA still running through the design of every Jamo product.” Jacobs expressed the need for retailers and everyone to show how a great sound system elevates peoples’ enthusiasm. “Passion changes the audio experience in the the customer’s home forever. They will not be able to live without an excellent audio experience once they have it. Premium Audio is one of the last great bastions of profitability for retailers.”

Earnest Maiden, The Maiden Audio Video Group, and Origin’s Jeremy Burkhardt.

Always a great event at which to see old friends and network with new ones is the ProSource (a division of BrandSource) cocktail reception historically held at Bally’s Hotel. At the event I was able to grab a few minutes with BrandSource CEO Jim Ristow. “There is so much opportunity,” he said. “By coincidence, on the plane on the way here, I looked at my notes from CES 2010, and it is now a totally different situation. Our core vendor business is up 40 percent… we are experiencing deeper two-way partnerships. There is an explosion of new-age automation and I am so excited by this new wave.”

Joey Perfito and Rob Sample of Paradigm and Anthem. 

Commented Gary Yacoubian, president and managing partner of SVS, “I bought, with my partners, SVS almost four-and-a-half years ago, and being part of ProSource builds our most important relationships this year. For SVS, it is going to be the year when we focus on the integration channel big time. The SVS speakers bring the immersive experience home, whether it be concerts, movies, or more.

“The crème de la crème of retail execution, whether it be bricks and mortar, e-commerce, or other channels, the ProSource Group is the standard core to our strategy,” Yacoubian concluded.

David Pidgeon and Gary Workman of ProSource. 

Joey Perfito, central regional manager for Paradigm and Anthem, said, “My long industry history with Tributaries has broadened my base for my career ahead with Paradigm and Anthem. ProSource allows us all to get together under one roof and do more one-on-one meetings. I have always been a fan of the ProSource Buying Group. I start on the road traveling in the next two weeks. I am so keen to focus on this territory and keep building on new relationships and also those that I started years ago.”

The one and only David Solomon. 

David Solomon, industry icon, mugged for the camera, “I’m crashing this party big time. I only crash the best parties and this is it!”

CTA’s Gary Shapiro presents at the 7th Annual Women in CE Legacy Awards. 

In its seventh year, The Women in CE annual legacy awards took place on January 6. An industry organization that promotes the advancement of women in the consumer technology industry, it announced the recipients of its 2016 Legacy Awards honoring top-level executives from the retail, association, entertainment, manufacturing, and distribution segments. This year’s six honorees were:

• Ann Boutcher, consultant, Voxx International Corporation
• Glenda MacMullin, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, Consumer Technology Association
• Tara Maitra, senior vice president and general manager, Content and Media Sales, TiVo
• Dawn vonBechmann, senior vice president, Technology, Entertainment and Office, Walmart/Sam’s Club
• Carol Campbell Inspiration Award: Iris Goldschmidt, CEO, APW Holdings LLC.
• Woman to Watch: Vanessa Zitzmann, marketing and sales, 21st Century Distributing

The 2016 Women in CE Inductees. 

Said Carol Campbell, founder of Women in CE: “These leaders have demonstrated that they are driving the agenda for their companies and the industry.”