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different price offerings to the retailer, so
you have an entry point and a truly highend step-up point.

Q It's early, but what are your thoughts
on 8K?

A People are just starting to realize the

benefits of 4K, and content is the biggest
issue. There is always going to be a bleeding edge customer that wants a product
that is current or where the industry is
growing. 8K is going to bring that solution.
But it does require a change in how it is
recorded and how it is shared. Sports is
where it is really going to be interesting. I
was watching the U.S. Open and you can
see the ball coming off the club and the
blades of grass and the sand flying. The
image that you see is almost like you are
there. There is a place for 8K, and the solutions will catch up to it. As we have much
better content more readily accessible,
those technologies will be embraced
faster. But it's the job of the retailer to tell
those stories and paint the picture for
what you are going to want to get.

Q How is the tariff situation effecting you?
A The biggest effect is on the IT tech side.

We started to see some of the changes
that were occurring with components and
devices that tie to the IT products that we
sell like computers. That impact is really
starting to show up. In some cases, some
of the factories were able to subsidize or
offset some of the balance by adjusting their
cost model. But as the tariffs increase up to
the full 25%, there are some categories that
were not necessarily hit in the first wave of
tariffs. And they will be vulnerable should it
continue to go as the path was announced.
It's totally volatile and 25% is a big
increase in cost when you look at a $400
or $500 item. The worry is whether the
consumer will be willing to pay for that.
The challenge is it could affect the market
because embracing new technology is
going to have a cost that is going to be
much greater and it might slow it down.
Some people say that the real leading-edge
customer is not necessarily worried about
how much they are going to pay, they just
want the greatest technology and will
always be there. But with the next wave at a
25% tariff - are they going to say, "Do I need
it right now or should I wait?" The premise
of the tariffs was to try and provide some



level of control and protection especially
for intellectual property. Unfortunately,
a lot of the technology in the states has
been captured by other countries and
used for their benefit. And it has hurt the
people that have put the R&D work into
the product. Obviously if we can get these
things ironed out, that will be a benefit to
not have these tariffs and get more respect
for international property.

Q What will be hot for the 2019
holiday season?

A The home automation area is going

to be very exciting because a lot of it is
do-it-yourself. You plug it in, you scan an
application and most people are fairly
comfortable now working on their smart
device or their PC. But the next wave is
when you can share that with the rest of
the family. How do you get your parents or
the elderly to embrace technologies like
a voice assistant? That's a game changer,
turning on lights so that you don't have to
get up to lower the temperature or order a
pizza. What will be the enabler from smart
door locks to many other things - automation is going to make it easier and will still
be a hot category for the holidays. Before
you had to make quite an investment to
make a system like that work and it didn't
interface with the other devices in the
home. Now you can even connect your
washing machine. I don't think it will make
us lazier, it will make us smarter in how we
use our time.
The other part that is important is the
world of electronic transportation. The car
industry is making a big impact and putting
batteries in cars and making hybrid models
or full Tesla model cars - in that case, it's
not putting out any emissions. There will
be e-devices on the road - scooters, carts
and bicycles to take you the last few miles.

You might park your car at a lot that has
a charging station but then jump on your
scooter to your office. That is going to be
a big game changer and you will see a lot
of that during the holiday. We are working
with Segway, a huge name in technology.

There is always going to be a bleeding edge
customer that wants a product that is
current or where the industry is growing.
8K is going to bring that solution.



i3 - July/August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - July/August 2019

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