MRI, a premium regional distributor of name brand consumer and specialty electronics for the Northeast market, hosted dealers from New England and Upstate New York last week at the Sturbridge Host Hotel & Conference Center for the company's 12th Annual MRI Expo. Attendees were treated to a day packed with dynamic training sessions, from industry-leading manufacturers, as well as a thought-provoking connected home dialogue led by Lutron Electronics.
"We are thrilled that the MRI Expo has become a must-attend event for so many of our regional dealers," said Jeff Martin, CEO of MRI. "Attendance for this Expo surpassed that of last year and events passed, which is not only a testament to our continued growth but also momentum across the industry and our dealers. We continue to evolve the scope of our trainings to meet the needs of our attendees while embracing market trends."
For well over a decade, the event has paired attendees with one-on-one access to the finest manufacturers in addition to exposure to new lines and product applications. Alongside training sessions that spanned networking, control and automation, security, surveillance, and entertainment, guests were also presented with market research and a discussion surrounding opportunities presented by the connected home landscape. Led by Lutron's sales director for residential systems, Blake Deal, dealers were encouraged to embrace the "Internet of Things" and the growing consumer awareness that is generated by new product introductions as well as the role of key players such as Google and the increasing number of self-served mass merchants.
"These big-name, popular IoT players are creating so much demand from consumers," Deal noted. "And with that demand comes the need for someone to fulfill their technology needs. If you don't, someone else will."
Deal also outlined major areas of IoT momentum including the popularity of smartphones and tablets, while unveiling that this year alone, connected home device sales will drive over $61B in revenue. With immense opportunity and consumer buy-in, Deal left attendees with a specific call-to-action: add one new product category or skill set to your business in the next year.
"Customers buy differences...be different," Deal urged. "Your biggest competitive advantage over large industry players is your connection with the customer. Continue to build those connections and relationships while changing and adapting to take advantage of connected home opportunities."
Following the keynote, the MRI Expo floor officially opened providing dealers access to live demonstrations and displays. For those who couldn't make it to Denver's CEDIA EXPO, the MRI show floor recreated the experience boasting over fifty vendors such as 2GIG, Atlas, Lutron, Niles, Pioneer, RTI, Samsung, Sony, and URC among many others. One of the most popular sights was the highly-anticipated DOLBY ATMOS demo, which received its own theater room powered by Yamaha, Epson and KEF.
"MRI has been a great partner for us," said John Alberino, regional sales manager, Northeast, for 2GIG. "As interest and demand for security and control solutions increases the Expo continues to act as a solid environment for us to have meaningful conversations with dealers about their needs. The energy and excitement is a great motivator for all involved."
"We work hard to deliver innovative content that not only will educate attendees but inspire them as well," added Robert Dean, president of MRI. "This year, we were especially eager to tackle the connected home, a concept that affects every facet of our industry. We hope to continue to deliver quality training, influential keynote presentations, and a collaborative environment that helps to strengthen our dealers' businesses."