CETW - Consumer Engagement Technology World 2012

Attended the Consumer Engagement Technology World event in New York City today.  The event caters to public spaces and direct customer interaction through the use of technology.  Certainly something quite relevant to the touchscreen and multitouch industries.

The Expo Hall 

There was a decent turn out for the convention, however, there were two similar conventions being held in the same convention center next door.  I think that perhaps we were a bit under attended due to the higher stature of the neighboring conventions.  Still there was a lot to see and do.

The floor was an easy walk.  Layout was straight forward and the overall size was rather small.  The focus of the exhibitors was split between hardware and software fairly evenly.  The main differences were in the directions the hardware and software vendors were going.

The Software

A large number of the software vendors offered <*>-to-mobile services.  Customer is selected by X criteria and sent a mobile campaign via text, sms, and/or email.  This is one of those tricky topics for me.  I'm not personally someone who likes getting a lot of text messages or solicitations.  However, there were some novel solutions to setting up these lines of communication.

There were a handful of kiosk/poi/pos type software systems on display.  Some of these would lend themselves very well to the touch segment.  One in particular was a digital concierge product that, while not the most attractive, was certainly feature rich.

Possibly the most interesting of the software on display was a facial recognition application that did customer/person tracking across a given space.  It would link customer/person actions with a data base and immediately let the controller know if this person had a special record -- good or bad -- that should be taken into account.  When I walked up to the booth, I saw several images of myself appear on the screen, some of these were recent shots from my approaching of the booth. Other images were from earlier in the day when when I happened to walk near their booth!  Once I got over the creepiness factor, I began to really appreciate the cleverness of their system.  

This facial tracker was by far one of my favorite displays, if completely unrelated to multitouch technology...

The Hardware

Even more diverse were the hardware vendors.  There were representatives from companies who make screen enclosures for kiosks, iPads, tablets, card readers, bill readers, tv mount/arm, and multitouch vendors.  TRu was there showing off their Projected Capacitive screens.  These were amazingly fast and precise.  The build quality was quite lovely on all of the displays they had out.  I was particularly interested in a new line of fully embedded displays they were offering which run an android build.  Very slick 7" displays with rich blacks and vibrant colors -- also very responsive OS and touch wise.  (I've sent them a request to resell, if it is approved, hopefully I'll be listing some TRu products on our website!)

Verdict

All in all, much networking was done, and the show was a success from that stand point.  However, I doubt I'll bother attending again, unless they resolve the scheduling so as to not conflict with other major events of similar ilk.