Optimism at EHX: ‘Complete Turnaround’ From Past 2 Years

Strong turnout, packed classes and new opportunities show evidence of an EHX revival and return to business normalcy.

Speaking to Dave Graveline of the radio show "Into Tomorrow" during EHX: "ROI for KEF was this big."
CE Pro Editors · March 22, 2011

Spring definitely arrived at EHX: The CE Pro Event, which showed evidence of an economy on the rebound.

Attendance is steadily creeping up since the economy began to crumble in 2007. With 4,500 total pre-registrants, EHX 2011 beat last year’s numbers by 10 percent, and the industry is optimistic about the next event, scheduled for March 15-17, 2012.

“It’s clear that dealers are hitting a brick wall with their old ways of doing business, and they’re looking for new opportunities,” says Jim Wagner, general manager of EH Events and Education. “EHX is The New Opportunities Show.”

The New Opportunities highlighted at the 2011 event, held March 17-19 in Orlando, Fla., included home health technology/aging in place, remote diagnostics and system management, home security, streaming media, commercial markets and more.

Besides those topics, which featured heavily in CE Pro’s “How to Make Money” series, some of CEDIA’s most popular training sessions returned to EHX this year.

Home Health Technology in the EHX New Opportunities Pavilion

Courses in IP, home theater and emerging technologies were packed, with some dealers relegated to waiting lists.

CEDIA is expected to bring another batch of CEU-rated courses to the 2012 event – courses that some East Coasters might otherwise miss since CEDIA Expo is moving out of Atlanta and back to Indianapolis this year.

Good Peeps

EHX 2011 drew more than the usual outsiders from beyond the Southeast.

“We’ve seen a lot people from across the country,” said Richie Scholl, VP technical sales for Worthington Distribution, during the show.  “It will definitely help us to meet these new people and see what else we can offer them. … We’re all looking for growth and I think it helps us meet some new people, not just in this region.”

And, of course, steadily-improving economy helped EHX 2011 and will undoubtedly bolster 2012.

“The optimism among the attendees is unbelievable,” said David Kroll, Ci Product Manager of KEF, on the second day of the show. “It’s a complete turnaround from the past couple of years. They all have projects, they’re all looking for new lines, they’re all looking to grow their businesses with their partners.”

While the same few people love to complain about EHX every year, we heard plenty of goodness from attendees and exhibitors as well. And while it may be cliché to suggest that a small-ish audience produces a more intimate, high-touch event, we believe it based on the feedback received.

Strong ROI

Requiring a small fee for an all-access pass further enhanced the quality of attendees, weeding out the dealers who were just there for the free candy, and blocking strays who might have wandered in from the concurrent Pet Expo and Cheerleading Championships.

“It’s not just the number of people through the booth, but it’s the fact that virtually every one of them is making a buying decision,” said Kroll. “We’re not seeing 30,000 technicians who are going to tell their bosses. We’re seeing the bosses. And that has made EHX a very effective and very efficient show for us.”

This year, EHX held a special CE Pro-sponsored Business Owners track, including an exclusive luncheon, which put the show over-the-top for many CE pros.

“Some naysayers had a down-trodden attitude of the size of EHX,” said one of those business owners, Martine Duncan of The Theater Doctor Inc., based in Tampa, Fla. “CE Pro made this the best EHX for the Theater Doctor. We feel we got the best value over all—amazing savings, information, just a great company benefit!”

And “overall value” wasn’t just for the attendees.

Kef’s Kroll said, “The ROI for this show has probably been higher as a percentage than for any of the shows I’ve done for the whole year—big shows, little shows, this one has been stellar. … I think we have several hundred leads to follow up on after the show so far.”

Get Ready for EHX 2012

For exhibitor/sponsorship information for EHX 2012, contact Deborah Smith at

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  Article Topics

News · EHX · KEF · All Topics
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