CETW 2010 impressions

November 12, 2010 by Dave Haynes

Back from NYC – late night flight home after a long couple of days at Customer Engagement Technology World.

It was also really busy for me and once again intent ran into reality in terms of my having time to write much from the show floor. If you have been in an industry for 10-plus years you know lots of people, so sitting down to actually write something in the blogger lounge wasn’t going to happen as familiar faces wandered by.

Anyway, doing stuff now and I also shot a lot of vids with my Flip cam, which I am trimming and loading up to YouTube.

General thoughts

CETW (Kioskcom) is never as busy as Digital Signage Expo. They’re very different events and each has its positive attributes. I liked the set-up more than last year and the event took on more of the professional polish that DSE has had for a few years now. The exhibit hall footprint was 11 per cent bigger than last year, and attendee numbers were (pre-show) projected to be up six per cent.

Looking around, it did not seem overly busy and I definitely didn’t ever have to fight my way down a crowded aisle. Some of the #CETW tweets I saw popping up painted this surreal picture of the place being jammed (and it was vendors, not the show people, doing that).

I spoke with some vendors who said it was very slow for booth traffic, while I spoke with others who were happy as clams with the conversations they’d had and the leads they were taking back home. Some said they were very busy both days.

JD Events says they focus on quality not volume and work hard at getting real buyers and brands out. I did see some very interesting retail banners and brands on ID tags, and recall walking by one booth where the sales guy was asking, “So, what is US Airways looking for?”

The mix of vendors seemed broader and digital signage was definitely just part of the mix, and not the predominant sector in this show. Everyone in this space is struggling a little or a lot with how mobile and social technologies fit with kiosks and networked displays. I think and certainly hope the CETW show now being organized for San Francisco in the spring takes advantage of the proximity of that city being the epicentre of mobile/social activity.

One thing I will say is many of the digital signage companies, with their booth presence, need to work a lot harder at making people stop. I saw a few booths that did little more than promote the corporate brand. There was often little or absolutely nothing to say we’re different, so stop and have a chat. There was a lot of: “We’re yet another digital signage software company.”

Will be writing about that, at length, sometime soon.

One other note: I do not like the voice of God loudspeaker announcements at DSE that tell people about things happening on the floor. All conversation has to stop when those things come on. But the opposite happens at this show. The day flies by and people forget there are good conference sessions going on right at the back of the same hall. What could be used to tell people about that and remind them … hmmm … maybe digital displays? And SMS blasts? Other engagement technologies?

Just a thought, but here we are at these shows going on endlessly about all the powerful ways to communicate with consumers and they’re not really being put to use at the actual events (other than wayfinder screens now and then).

Thanks to Lawrence and the team for being great hosts, as always.

  1. Dave:

    Appreciate your efforts to convey the feel of the show to everyone. It was great to see you this week at CET World.

    Just quickly, we did have an SMS program established, which was highlighted to attendees each morning in my opening remarks, throughout our OOH Network onsite (consisting of 8 screen locations throughout the event), and in the event guide. Not sure how you missed it. So SMS coverage and displays contained messaging about the show for attendees, as we continue our efforts to integrate the technology in a meaningful manner for attendees to experience.

    And yes, we always focus on quality. From the topics and speakers we recruit to present during the 6 tracks of education that ran to the quality of the exhibitors to the quality of the attendees.

    Our focus continues to be on ROI. It is our goal to make sure every stakeholder (speaker, exhibitor, attendee, etc.) leaves CET World with a positive ROI for their time and investment.

    Next up – CETW World April 27-28, 2011 in San Francisco. http://www.cetworld.com – stay tuned for new updates

  2. Steve Gurley says:

    Not “everyone” in this space is struggling with how mobile fits. Some know exactly how it fits and are aggressively pursuing it. For information go to http://www.symon.com/mobility.shtml For even more information, go to http://www.steve-gurley.com

    Want a new twist on things, Symon is teaching the mobile industry how digital signage can benefit them. (Look for a series of articles coming out in Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketing Daily starting next week and going on into the remainder of the year.)

  3. Dave Haynes says:

    Really? Totally missed that, and the screens, as well.

    That’s great that the tech was being used, but I honestly, entirely overlooked it.


  4. Yup – and announcements were made for all each morning on how to sign up and about the networks. two screens when you walk in at the entry – you must have been on your phone :).

    We’ve been doing this for some time and will continue to integrate the technology into the operations of the show to encourage attendees to use it firsthand and experience it.

    I’ll be happy to share these with you if you’d like.

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