CETW12: Show must go on, despite snow, sleet, Sandy

Neither rain nor hurricane nor snow are dampening Customer Technology Engagement World this week in New York City. Although some vendors, attendees and speakers stayed home, at least a few thousand still made the trek despite Sandy.

As if the hurricane weren't enough of an obstacle to the show, Mother Nature decided to throw another curveball with the snow and sleet that arrived today. The weather, however, didn't prevent Bruno Pupo, senior national sales manager of display solutions at LG Electronics Canada, from making several client connections.

"It might have actually been better to have it a little smaller," he said. "The people here are serious about connecting, and I would rather talk to just two people that I know are going to be very interested than 100 people who don't care that much."

This year's CETW was on track to have more attendees than ever, said Lawrence Dvorchik of JD Events, the company that runs the conference.

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"We were well above our attendee number and then Sandy hit, but we still have good numbers," he said. "And the people that are here right now are very qualified and are engaged in good in-depth discussions with exhibitors."

Like many parts of New York, the Javits Center was flooded last week. In fact, the show-floor area was under 4 inches of water, but staff cleaned it up quickly and booths were aplenty. Some materials and solutions, however, were ruined in the center's warehouse, which was also flooded. Most vendors affected, however, have been flexible and were able to come up with enough signage or materials to do business.

"None of this could have come to fruition without the enthusiasm of our exhibitors," Dvorchik said. "The technologies on display are dizzying in a positive way."

Another postitive about this year is that the show's Mobile Engagement Zone has more than doubled in size from past events.

"That's what our attendees told us they wanted, so we went out there got them. We expanded the depth of breadth of solutions in this hall. They truly reflect the omnichannel ecosystem," Dvorchik said.

Despite the hurricane, CETW 2012 has been a success in that the quality of registered attendees was extremely impressive, said Dvorchik, who always delivers the attendee list to vendors to allow them to cater their messages appropriately.

"They were very excited this year about both the high-quality and high-quantity of the people interested in customer engagement technology, and we are going to do everything in our power to make sure those who were interested can connect even if they didn't make it here."

CETW ends tomorrow after a full slate of programming that starts with a keynote address at 9 a.m. and ends with a closing reception from 3-4 p.m.

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