With SEMA going virtual this year, SEMA events vice president Tom Gattuso said many vendors plan to make representatives available from the typical 9 to 5 p.m. show day. However, Gattuso learned that many exhibitors intend to man their virtual booths beyond the regular hours, to make up for the different time zones and their international audience. “The virtual SEMA360 show floor will technically be open 24 hours [during] SEMA week,” said Gattuso. He also says that many international visitors have now embraced this idea and at registering for SEMA360 at a decent rate.
Due to the popularity of the virtual event, Gattuso can see this continuing pass the pandemic by offering a “digital companion” once in-person shows return, because of the “international appeal.” Vendor representatives-attendee interactions in the exhibitor booth (manufacturer showcases) might take form of a public text chat or video conference, said Gattuso. An attendee and vendor can split off into private meeting rooms which can be set up as regular chat, Zoom or Microsoft team meeting. With SEMA360, the organization is targeting for an audience of about 20,000 to 30,000 people, with thousands already signed up.
ARA YOU THE ONE?
Do you know someone who stands out in the industry? The Automotive Retailers Association (ARA) is calling for submissions for their 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The ARA’s annual award is meant to recognize a Canadian business owner in the automotive industry who demonstrates, among other things, a forward-thinking attitude, strategic planning for both business and industry, a helpful impact on their local community and the willingness to always improve.
In order to eligible, the applicant must be the majority shareholder of their business and the business itself must be profitable and at least two years old. The application form for this award can be found on the ARA website. The deadline for applications is October 15 with the winners to be announced at the ARA Virtual AGM scheduled for October 20-22.
Desrosiers Automotive Consultants recently partnered with the Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario (AARO) to survey their members as to current market conditions and the outlook for the year. When asked about the change in the dollar value of their sales over 2019, a slim majority of respondents noted a decrease of between one percent and 25 percent.
However, a significant portion of respondents noted sales increases with July especially showing strength. About 47 percent of respondents indicated that July’s sales exceeded that of 2019, however, that number quickly dipped to 41 percent in August. The report also noted that respondents felt a “moderate to severe” decline in the frequency of preventative maintenance work, while general diagnostic work remained largely unaffected.
Global Refinishing Solutions will be hosting a virtual Auto Refinish Summit from October 26 to October 30, featuring a virtual car show, product demonstrations, visits from industry celebrities and much more! The four-day online event will see demonstrations of GFS products like the REVO Accelerated Curing System and Side-Load Finishing Systems, as well as appearances by Ringbrothers founders Mike and Jim Ring, Graveyard Carz creator Mark Worman.
A virtual happy our will also be hosted alongside conversations with GFS’s equipment experts aimed at shop efficiency, productivity and profitability. The event is free for all to attend. Visit globalfinishing.com/2020-auto-refinish-summit to register.
The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) held its first virtual golf fundraiser on July 25. After the original annual golf fundraiser was cancelled due to COVID-19, participants from more than 30 states and Canada participated in the online fundraiser—golfing 18 holes from their homes using the TopGolf game. The registration fee was $25 and will be used to help support high school and college collision programs in this upcoming school year. Less Sullivan from Georgia, U.S. took the win in the game with a score of 53 and won the prize of a GoldenTee home arcade, provided by Enterprise. CREF are now looking into additional online fundraiser ideas for fall and winter.
Opus IVS has been awarded a patent for a pass-thru remote diagnostic system. The invention was originally created by Bluelink, however Bluelink was acquired by Opus IVS in 2019 with a patent priority date of September 2010. For the past two decades Bluelink has been a pioneer in creating innovations that would allow a technician to remotely diagnose a vehicle using J2534 and other standards. The technology that was originally developed by Bluelink has been used by Opus IVS to deliver diagnostic repair guidance and programming services remotely from seven call centres with hundreds of expert technicians.
As more connected cars emerge on Canadian roads, a leading cybersecurity expert is warning consumers of “a huge transformation” currently underway in the automotive world. Vehiqilla, A.J. Khan, CEO of Windsor-based automotive cybersecurity firm recently laid out some of the threats both automakers and consumers will have to face in this increasingly interconnected landscape in an online interview. He mentioned that this includes any data from devices connected to the vehicle as well as the tracking data from the vehicle itself–all of which are vulnerable to hackers.
“We are not ready for a massive breach. We are still far away from having strong protection on vehicles,” warned Khan. “But the good news is that this is being taken very seriously. There is a new standard coming out called ISO21434.” This “new standard” is an upcoming automotive security standard that once officially introduced in late 2020 will raise the bar for standard cybersecurity capabilities in all cars on Canadian roads. “It will look at cybersecurity from the point of conception of the vehicle, to design, to operations, to maintenance, and to disposal. It will look at the whole life cycle of the vehicle and how to make that secure,” he said. Khan adds that once this change is made, all Canadian automakers will be obligated to integrate the standard into their vehicles and only then will “our transportation will be secure from cyber breaches.”