CETW Proceeding As Planned

November 1, 2012 by Dave Haynes

Lawrence Dvorchik, the longtime organizer of Customer Engagement Technology World (aka CETW) traded emails with me yesterday, after I guessed correctly that people in some corners were all worked up about the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the trade show planned for the middle of next week in New York.

In the wake of starting that email chain, both NEC and Peerless announced they were cancelling plans to have booths at the show because of expected logistical problems in the city. If you have a substantial booth, you need to get trucks to the trade show hall and techs are setting up a couple of days out, which means they are flying this weekend … which might be tough.

No doubt, there may be another vendor or two trying to sort out how they get things together.

So I threw a stack of questions at Lawrence, asking how things really looked on the ground. It is important to understand that while lower Manhattan definitely has some ongoing issues, midtown – where the trade show will be held – is high and dry and the lights didn’t go out.

Q – So how is Sandy affecting plans for next week?

A – Sandy has definitely caused some high blood pressure moments, but NYC has proven to be resilient.  In just 48 hours, all three airports are open and operational, subway service and bus service has resumed, NYSE and NASDAQ are back in business, and for the most part, NYC will be back to normal strength by the end of this week.  CETW will go on as planned, our speakers have all reconfirmed, and we anticipate record number of attendees to come to the show.

Q – Will it be any harder than normal to get over to the convention center?

A – Not one bit more than normal.  Walking, cabs and buses will all be available on normal service.

Note: The nearest subway stop is several blocks away, anyway. Coming in by train might, however, still be a problem.

Q – One of the sneaky, easy ways to “do” CETW is stay across the Hudson in New Jersey and take a ferry over that comes in nearby to the Javits. Has that been affected?

A – Yes, sadly that has been affected.  The Hudson River and the NJ side were affected by the heavy winds, and as of this moment are not back up.  Although I anticipate they will be soon, as these ferries are a major commuter channel into NYC.

Q – How are registrations looking?

A – Registrations are at an all-time high.  People have seen the light and realize it’s about integrating the technology, and using the technology to engage with customers.  Not just to have it, which several other shows focus on.  CETW is about how organizations can intelligently and properly use te technologies available to connect with prospects and customers.  No other show in the world does that.  We have several hundred brands, agencies and resellers/integrators registered.  It’s an amazing group of people representing all the stakeholders in technology and marketing programs.

Q – What are the big highlights this year?

A – Our 3 keynote speakers from Citibank, Tasti D-Lite and Macy’s.  We are also implementing a gamification program for attendees with Phizzle.  The educational program covers so many technologies both on their own as well as part of the larger marketing and advertising mix.  Our speaker lineup is comprised of exceptional leaders from brands, agencies, integrators and consultants.  You simply won’t find a better conference program anywhere in the world.

We have also transformed our expo floor, with more than twice the number of mobile solutions in the Mobile Engagement Zone, and so many new companies with exciting technologies  for attendees to engage with.  And what makes me especially proud is that these new technologies are specifically what attendees told us they wanted to see.  So we are able to provide them with a first-hand look at the specific solutions they want, they need, and they are ready to purchase.

There is just so much that is exciting and new, and I am very much looking forward to attendees seeing the solutions they need, the education they crave, and the networking opportunities they don’t get anywhere else.

Q – I am now regularly hearing people say CETW is not really a digital signage show, so the repositioning seems to be taking. True?

A – CETW never was a show for one specific technology.  It’s about all of the technologies available to engage with prospects and customers.  Digital signage is one of those solutions, but by far not the only one.  Mobile, tablet, self-service, CRM, CXM, and so many more make up the demographics of the solutions for attendees at CETW NY.

Q – You live in Jersey. Everything OK?

A – I am away from the shore/beaches, so we are OK.  Family is fine and no home damage.  The Jersey shores are crushed, and we are slowly coming back with power around the state.  I am amazed at the high spirits of everyone in NJ, CT and NY as we put Sandy behind us and get back to work.  People (like me) were out early Tuesday finding places with power and WiFi to get back to work.  Give us a week and some power, and we’ll be good.  Of course those in towns by the shore have been devastated, and my heart goes out to them.  But the Governor has made it clear the shores will be rebuilt and will be better than ever.  Don’t count any of us out yet.


Despite some vendors dropping off and probably some attendees who are thinking getting in will be too tough (probably not by early next week), it looks to be a good event. I was intending to go, but I have a two-day thing in Toronto on exactly those two days.

Oh well.


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