The Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA’s) PARA Division held its annual conference—the third since CEA’s involvement with this specialty retailing entity began—at Orlando, Florida’s Peabody Hotel, in sync with the custom installer-oriented Electronic House Expo Spring trade show at the nearby Orange County Convention Center. The strategy was executed “to expose people to that show,” explained PARA Executive Director Kerry Moyer.
This co-location strategy was one of several changes to the PARA event. Other wrinkles involved moving the event from its usual May time slot to March, and compressing the event to two full days from a traditional four-day schedule. The changes were made, said Moyer, so the timing would be better for dealer attendees, and so they’d need to spend less time away from their businesses.
Both Moyer and PARA Chair Gary Yacoubian, who is also president of Gaithersburg, Md.-based MyerEmco AudioVideo, acknowledged a slight decline in dealer attendance from 2006 figures. But Moyer, in opening remarks, said, “We feel we have the right mix here of dealers and vendors in an intimate setting suited to networking and education. PARA is and always has been about information sharing, and this conference gets at the heart of these two values. The vendors and retailers who are here are excited and enthused. It’s a quality environment for networking and conducting business.”
“I am struck by the high level of dealers represented here,” Yacoubian told attendees. “It was an interesting year in 2006. There were incredible technological changes in control system infrastructure and connectivity. There were unbelievable declines in ASPs (average selling prices). We all know it’s an amazing, weird, infuriating, exciting and fun time in our industry. What’s required of us is to know who we are. We are the only ones in the market who choose to completely fulfill the promise of all these technologies. Custom installers alone do not. The big-boxes do not. The mass merchants do not.