Smart thinking at the Retra conference 2016

The theme of this year’s Retra annual industry conference will be ‘the smart connection’.

Topics up for discussion at the event, which will take place on October 11 at the Landmark Hotel in London, will include the smart home and connected technologies.

Speaking exclusively to ERT, Howard Saycell, chief executive of electrical retailers association Retra, said: “Retail, manufacturing, service and installation will come together under one roof to discuss the topics that are affecting our industry as a whole.

“It is this joined-up thinking – this Smart Connection – that will underpin this year’s conference exhibition area, the speakers and the discussion panels.”

Mr Saycell said that the service sector would have strong representation at this year’s event, addressing the growing number of issues that affect all parts of our industry.

He added: “Smarter products are bringing new challenges in this area, from more complex diagnosis to understanding who is ultimately responsible for a fault. Is it the hardware manufacturers, software creators or service providers?

“How do we, as an industry, address these issues? What training is required and what commercial opportunities are there for service businesses?”

This year’s keynote speaker will be Andy Griffiths, former president of Samsung UK and Ireland, who is now a member of the shareholder supervisory board at the Glen Dimplex Group.

Said Mr Saycell:  “Once again, our line-up of speakers and panel discussions brings a vast wealth and knowledge and experience to this one-day event.

“The keynote will be provided by industry veteran Andy Griffiths, who will be sharing his thoughts on the future, based on his background at Sharp, Sony, Samsung and now the Glen Dimplex Group.”

Other guest speakers will include Ashley Shorey-Mills, general manager of Hughes Smart Home, who will talk about the opportunities in the connected home, and GfK account director Nick Simon, who will share key market data and trends.

The conference will be hosted by business journalist and broadcaster Declan Curry (pictured) and delegates will be asked to take part in interactive voting sessions on industry topics.

There will also be retailer and manufacturer panel debates.

Said Mr Saycell: “The key retail and manufacturer panel debates have this year been enhanced with a wide range of retail panellists and senior service professionals.

“This is a truly open industry forum and we encourage retailers to ask questions that are important to their business, no matter how difficult.

“The panel discussions have provided lively, and often animated, debates in previous years and, with the challenges now facing independent retailers, this year will be no exception.”

Retailers who are Retra members could also be in with a chance of winning one of 50 free tickets to this year’s conference, including the gala dinner.

Please email your questions for the retail and/or manufacturer and service panel debates to:

and you will be entered into the prize draw.

Winners will be notified on September 9.

Delegate passes for the Retra annual industry conference 2016, including gala dinner, cost £275 plus VAT.

This year’s AV sponsor is Avensys, the West Sussex-based retailer.

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