Now in its 15th year, the 2016 MRI Expo had a new look and feel for attendees. The event, held at the Sturbridge Host Hotel in Sturbridge, Mass., hosted about 400 attendees and 45 vendors for a full day of education, demos and exhibits.
MRI, which is a member of the PowerHouse Alliance, redesigned the exhibit floor this year to include four training areas where dealers could sit in on education right on the show floor versus in adjacent conference rooms.
Trainings were conducted by Metra, IC Realtime, Sony, RTI, Sonance, 2Gig, Kwikset, URC, Samsung, Lutron, Epson, Savant, Nest and Luxul. Sony had standing room only in its session, which was a special video “shootout” between its new Z9 panel and a competitive OLED.
“The on-floor training areas were something different this year,” says Chad Tierney, executive director. The center of the hall included a giant octagon where MRI could tout its services and conduct raffles. Also, there was a joint booth with Lutron and Nest together demonstrating Amazon Echo voice control.
Patrick Carter of IC Realtime conducted a training session on camera selection. He spoke about the recent DDoS hack that occurred through surveillance cameras, noting, “IC Realtime locks down all parts of its cameras and we do not use shareware.”
He said that shareware is the way the hackers were able to invade the surveillance systems, and then the networks of various end users. He advised integrators to always change the admin password on every network-attached device they deploy.
Indeed, Carter says that most times, the admin password on a device is simply “admin” and therefore easily hacked.
The event also had several demo rooms, including a Sony/Jamo/Da-Lite theater, a JVC/Polk Audio/Screen Innovations theater, and an Epson/KEF/SI theater.
The opening session was a “State of the Industry” session from CE Pro that discussed profit margins, pricing, labor/wages, and more.