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Speakers, panels top agenda at first CETWorld conference

What began as an educational event has grown dramatically and evolved, but the focus on education continues. This November the first ever CETW show promises to offer many thought-provoking seminars and panel discussions from industry experts.

The conference that began as KioskCom in the 1990s and expanded as it added the Digital Signage Show has matured again by morphing into today’s Customer Engagement Technology World. The new name and the new show represent the current focus in the industry on a multichannel strategy covering self-service in its many forms.

The CETW will be held Nov. 10-11 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.

The strength of the show is the experience and enthusiasm of the 70-some speakers that are scheduled to present during the two-day conference. A sign of the breadth of the CETW is the six educational tracks that attendees can follow: Kiosk/self-service, Digital Signage, DOOH/PBM Advertising, Mobile sponsored by MMA, Business Strategy, and Multi-Channel Engagement Strategies.

Attendees can also choose from a mix of formats. Seminars range from 30-minute presentations with a single speaker, primarily "Tech Talks," to hour-long seminars with multiple speakers.

A short review of the many presentations demonstrates the variety of discussions on tap at CETW in November.

The conference will begin on Wednesday at 9 a.m. with a Keynote Address that should be especially valuable for those in the retail sector. In "Bull’s-eye! Keeping your eye on the Target – Successful Strategies of Customer Engagement Technologies," Target’s Chris Borek will discuss engaging the retail customer through the use of digital technologies including digital signage, kiosks and mobile.

Borek, a senior manager of Target's Interactive Multichannel Experience group, will share his views on the influential retailer's experience with creating in-store messages to customers nationwide. Borek is based in Target's Minneapolis headquarters and works with agencies, brands and partners. In his decade with the retailer Borek has worked in finance, merchandising and technology, and for a time managed a SuperTarget store.

On Thursday morning, keynote speaker David Sommer will address reaching today's consumer by using a multichannel technology approach. In his address, "Understand How Agencies Think About Their Brands' Customer Engagement Technology Strategies," Sommer will offer a view of this emerging field from the perspective of the advertising agency and retail brand.

Sommer, managing partner of WPP's GroupM Shopper and president and CEO of Retail Media Link, will discuss reaching consumers outside traditional venues by using DOOH, mobile, proximity and in-store technologies. Sommer argues that advertisers must recognize that shoppers can be reached at home, online, through their smart phones and when they are on the move. That means agencies and brands must plan, buy and measure shopper media in-the-store, around-the-store and on mobile devices.

Throughout both Wednesday and Thursday will be the 30-minute Tech Talk sessions providing brief reviews of some of the major technology-oriented issues facing the self-service, kiosk and digital signage industries. Tech Talks can be valuable both for those seeking an introduction to a topic and for those looking for a broader understanding of something they may be just getting started with.

On Wednesday Tech Talks run from 10:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.; on Thursday these seminars run from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Beyond the keynotes, attendees will be spending much of their time in sessions listening to industry experts provide advice on staying ahead of the competition. One speaker who will be especially busy is Brian Ardinger, SVP and chief marketing officer with Nanonation.

Ardinger will moderate the panel "The Future Of Your CET Investment: Plan For Round Two Before Round One," and speak on "Customer Engagement Technologies 101," and "Who Moved My Customer? Engaging & Empowering the New Digital Consumer."

Joining Ardinger for the Business Strategy track presentation "The Future Of Your CET Investment" on Thursday at 2-3 p.m. are Sean Anderson, director of interactive services, Six Flags, and Loren Goldfarb, EVP, content & distribution, with Everwell TV/ MediVista Media.

The panel will discuss launching a pilot digital media program while planning for the next version of the technology. These veterans will cover scalability, identifying new features that can be integrated into the deployment, technology life cycle, and getting funding for continuing deployments.

In the Kiosk/Self Service track, a panel covering "What You Can Learn From Self-Service In Food Service" will address the expanding use of self-ordering in quick-service restaurants. Some QSRs are experiencing a 10 percent to 29 percent increase in average check amount; a doubling of sales of higher margin items; and a linebusting impact that increases customers served by as much as 30 percent.

This panel on Wednesday from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. will be moderated by Brent Christenson, vice president with EMN8, and feature Michael Brannigan, marketing vice president with Sizzler USA Restaurants; Brian Krakower, vice president of information technology with California Pizza Kitchen; and Michael Verdesca, division vice president, Jack in the Box.

One time that is shaping up to offer some of the most intriguing panels is 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Thursday. Topics will range from what is going right in the industry to helping attendees understand how projects can go badly.

For instance, a panel for those in the kiosk sector is "Improving Operational Efficiencies & Effectiveness With Kiosks & Self-Service," discussing how firms can use kiosks to improve operating efficiencies, lower costs, improve communication and increase up-sell revenues.

The moderator of the panel is Paul Hamilton, business development manager, Versatile Systems. The two speakers are Allison Brownlie, retail channel marketing, Bank of America - Canada Card Services, and Scott Crowell, director of the Hershey Company.

At the same time, a Tech Talks session will cover "Why Deployments Fail: The Importance of Enterprise Content Management." EMN8's Brent Christenson will return to discuss common elements among point-of-sale, digital signage, digital menu boards, online ordering, mobile ordering and kiosks. The danger is treating these applications as individual tactical projects, but attendees will hear how to repurpose content from one project across multiple channels, saving money, reducing management costs and reducing time-to-market.

Attendees will have to choose between that session and "Paying It Forward – Lessons Learned & Best Practices For Success" also at 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Thursday. The session in the Multi-Channel Engagement Strategies track features Jason Cremins, CEO, signagelive, and Janet Webster, president, Creative Solutions Consulting. The two leaders will be sharing their expertise on making customer-facing technology projects successful.

This is just a brief sample of the many sessions offered at this years CETW. The conference promises a mix of topics, type of sessions and speakers from across the self-service spectrum.

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