Like Emeril LaGasse putting the finishing touches on one of his creations, JDEvents announced today that KioskCom and The Digital Signage Show will officially become Customer Engagement Technology World. The event organizers have taken it up a notch and added quite a bit of spice to the stewing trade show war with the Digital Signage Expo by moving their Spring event from Las Vegas to San Francisco. Bam!
On the positive side, getting out of Las Vegas will be a positive for the event, in my opinion. It is difficult for many companies, mine included, to justify running back to Vegas just a few weeks after DSE, which gets the jump on the annual calendar. Never mind the fact that GlobalShop appears to be generating significant interest in digital signage, also in Las Vegas, in March. Taking CETW all the way to San Francisco makes it easier for me to believe that there will be unique digital signage prospects at the new venue, as there are at CETW’s New York event. So San Francisco will have to be considered on the event calendar, where Las vegas was a stretch.
Changing the name is also a positive, as I never understood KioskCom, and The Digital Signage Show is generic, a mouthful and renders an acronym that also identifies a computer virus. Now we see a focus on customer engagement, which will open up the hot area of mobile engagement, and an acronym that will likely get reduced to CET. AT least it is easier to remember. Tactically, JDEvents has named its event after the customer, rather than after the customer facing technologies as in the past. While it may pay a small price from a marketing perspective, the gain in differentiation will likely pay benefits.
Programming will be very important in terms of both differentiating CETW and gaining new, and unique attendees and exhibitors. It will be very interesting to see how they build the program, beginning this Fall in New York, and evolving next Spring in San Francisco. Similarly, it will be of interest to note what competitive response, if any, is taken by the able organizers at DSE.
Make no mistake about it, this is just a first move. As postulated here four weeks ago, you can bet that the next step will be some sort of announcement from the Digital Signage Association designating CETW as the “official” trade show of the DSA, which would constitute a “proceed and battle” strategy in their struggle with the DSF. Then exhibitors, attendees and sponsors will have to vote with their wallets in terms of choosing DSE, CETW or both. There will be parallel choices made between DSA and DSF. Messy and unnecessary, but my views on that are public, and have been largely ignored as best I can tell.
JDEvents has done the right thing for their company and their key events. A repackaging of the concept and a relocation of the Spring event was definitely in order. They deserve kudos for understanding the marketplace and their customers. I fear that the next shoe to drop will be a politicizing of the trade show calendar for the industry, driven in large part by the folks on the wrong side of the screen. Not sure that will be as tasty as a classic San Francisco cioppino.