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ITEXPO DealCenter Leverages Web to Ease Professional Networking
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July 22, 2009

ITEXPO DealCenter Leverages Web to Ease Professional Networking

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor

Recently, TMC (News - Alert) President Rich Tehrani discussed the rise during the past decade of ITEXPO trade show – formerly known as the “Internet Telephony (News - Alert) Conference & Expo.”

Since its inception, he notes, the ITEXPO (News - Alert) has focused on bringing buyers and sellers in the communications market together.
“And what a wild ride it has been as after the show was launched in 1999, the CLEC boom came into full swing and hordes of CLEC and ILEC decision-makers came to the show to buy all sorts of gear,” Tehrani recalls.
In time, more and more resellers, VARs, integrators and developers came to the show to learn about developing technologies, and the show has drawn dozens of editors and reporters in the telecom and IT media space, featuring CEOs who deliver keynote addresses and run breakout sessions on technologies such as SIP trunking, VoIP, telepresence, unified communications and IP-PBXs.
This year, the show is adding a new way to connect all its attendees and help them find prospective clients and partners. In short, ITEXPO West 2009 is leveraging the services of company that leverages emerging technologies to make networking at these kinds of trade shows easier.
Below, TMCnet talks to DealCenter’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, Michael Corr, about just how his company accomplishes that.
Our exchange follows.
TMCnet: Many attendees at ITEXPO West 2009 – including exhibitors – come to show not only to get a sense of what’s new and exciting in IP communications and technology, but also to network and forge new business deals. Talk to us about how ITEXPO DealCenter facilitates those efforts.
Michael Corr (pictured left): The ITEXPO DealCenter is an online meeting platform that provides a straightforward and user-friendly way to see who else is attending/exhibiting and to plan on-site, 30-minute meetings weeks before arriving in Los Angeles. By using the DealCenter to ensure on-site meetings are confirmed ahead of time, attendees and exhibitors can arrive at ITEXPO West with 10, 15, even 20 meetings already scheduled, allowing for more effective time management and increased event ROI.  
TMCnet: So let’s say a registered attendee, exhibitor or speaker dives into his or her industry sector with DealCenter and comes up with a short list of prospective clients or partners. What happens then?
MC: OK. Perfect. And as soon as you login and fill out your profile for the first time, the DealCenter will recommend folks you may wish to meet – thereby taking the work out of networking for you. But getting back to your question, say you have a short list of prospective clients or partners, you can login and use the ITEXPO DealCenter to search for their names, companies, services rendered, and location, to further drill down your search and find your prospect. Once found, you click the “Invite” prompt next to his/her name, which will send a meeting invite and your own personal message if you wish to the prospect, via DealCenter.
You can also select to meet at a certain time and location, either the on-site DealCenter area, an exhibit booth or meeting suite.  Once the meeting is accepted, DealCenter will update both your meeting timetables and allow you to email directly to one another to further secure your plans. All this communication, including the emails, is done through DealCenter so your contact information is 100% confidential
TMCnet: The ITEXPO is famously bustling, with an active show floor, crowded breakout session and popular panel discussions. What kind of flexibility will ITEXPO DealCenter offer in terms of where and when these meetings will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center?
MC: The beauty of the DealCenter is that by having meetings already scheduled you can walk the floor or attend a session then step out to a 30 minute meeting and get right back out on the show floor to continue your networking with others you may not have met yet. When you create your profile you also have the ability to block out times you may want to dedicate to a panel discussion, so no meeting invites are sent for that particular time. During the show if you meet someone you can always say ‘Send me a meeting invite through the DealCenter’ and let our system find an open time slot and help you plan your time most effectively.
The ITEXPO DealCenter on-site will be in Booth #508, right in the middle of the action. And we are there to assist you— so if you want to schedule an impromptu meeting the day of the show, come by and we will give you a table if available.
TMCnet: Talk to us about results. At the end of the day, DealCenter should serve as a way for ITEXPO exhibitors and other attendees to boost their event ROI. What has your company seen in the past from service participants?
MC: Absolutely, that’s what the DealCenter is all about, enhancing the show experience for attendees and exhibitors and helping them get the most from their investment in attending and/or exhibiting at an event like ITEXPO West. Marketing budgets are getting tight, so that investment in travel and registration fees should produce some real benefits, and the DealCenter helps produce those results. A recent DealCenter deployment for ITW2009, a global wholesale telecom meeting, saw over 3.5 million hits leading up to the show, 10,000 meeting invites sent, and 4,000 meeting invites accepted.
We received the following feedback from one participant at a recent show: “My colleagues and I used the DealCenter extensively before the global telecom event in Washington D.C. and even signed a deal with new clients, that we found using the DealCenter, to build a modular suboptic cable landing station. We hadn’t heard of this particular firm before but found them in the DealCenter, scheduled a meeting and met on-site at (the show). We left ITW 2009 with a new client and new deal in place. I wish every trade show used DealCenter which enabled Kullman to grow our business so effectively.” –Amy Kulka-Marks, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Kullman Buildings Corp.

Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users.

Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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