Onsite and Online, Interphex Attracting Visitors

The annual spring tradeshow has reenergized itself by building a year-round online presence.

By Paul Thomas, Senior Editor

As Interphex 2011 nears—it’s March 29-31—event organizers say that nearly all the floor space in New York City’s Javits Center has sold out. More than 100 companies not at last year’s show will attend this year. That’s good news for those who plan to be on site.

But there’s also good news for those who plan to be there online. Of late, new life has been breathed into the old show through a stepped-up digital campaign and web presence. In addition to revamping its website (still at www.interphex.com), the exhibition has spent the past months tweeting, blogging, posting on Facebook and LinkedIn, and building momentum for the show via social media (SoMe).

Browse through the Interphex hashtag on Twitter (i.e., “#Interphex”), and you’ll see that the interaction between organizers, exhibitors, speakers, and media partners has been humming along for the past several months.

“We’ve been working on it year-round to keep the event in front of our customers and to build an industry and event community with these SoMe platforms,” says Barbara McAuliffe, event and marketing director for Reed Exhibitions. “Our SoMe channels are promoted on all communications to drive awareness and gain new followers/friends.”

Digital Directions
It seems to be working. Last year, for instance, the @INTERPHEX Twitter feed had roughly 650 followers. That’s up to about 1,100 now, McAuliffe says, and has become a great way of staying in regular communication with exhibitors and media members. “LinkedIn was the first social media platform that we built upon,” she adds. “It grew organically and continues to be our strongest channel with more than 1,473 group members.” A sub-group for exhibitors has been added recently. Interphex has more than 350 friends on Facebook and continues to grow there as well, and has introduced the INTERPHEXconnects Blog with participation from organizers as well as guests from the industry.

During the show, Twitter traffic at #Interphex will pick up steam and scroll with announcements about new products, booth happenings, raffles, prize giveaways, and more. The tweets will be shown on screens at the show, so visitors roaming the Javits Center (that is, those without their smart phones tuned in to Twitter) can follow the show’s digital flow.

For social media neophytes, Interphex will offer a free social media conference an hour before the exhibition opens, and will have a consultant on site for exhibitors to meet with and learn about social media tools.
 
For those attending, a couple enhanced features on the website are of particular interest. “My Show Planner” is a user-friendly way to check off and organize the exhibits and sessions you plan to attend, and “Interphex Mobile” is a new service geared towards web-enabled mobile devices, where registrants can get all show info and alerts in the palms of their hands.

Education and Tours

As usual, Interphex will have a healthy share of presentations and education sessions. (Click here for the full list.) Some that are noteworthy include:

• Continuous Manufacturing, a Regulatory Perspective—FDA Compliance Officer Francis Godwin discusses the Agency’s views (Tuesday).

• Operational Strategies for Lean Sigma Manufacturing, with Abbott Business Excellence Manager Michael Schickler (Tuesday)

• Handling Uncertainty in the Establishment of a Design Space, by Pfizer Senior Principal Scientist Salvador Garcia-Munoz (Wednesday), is just one of several Quality by Design-oriented sessions throughout the show.

• PAT: A Disjointed Product Approach or an Integrated Solution to Deliver Real Manufacturing Benefits? This provocative Wednesday session is led by Ali Afnan, Martin Gadsby, and Martin Warman.

• Risk or Reward: Exploring the Challenges of Manufacturing and Distribution Operations in Emerging Markets, with GSK’s Phil Priest and Tunnell Consulting’s Carla Reed (Wednesday).

A few other new wrinkles to this year’s show deserve mention. Interphex 2011 will also have a greener feel to it, as “Buildings NewYork/ Green Buildings New York” will co-locate with Interphex at the Javits Center, giving facility managers and others interested—the event attracts more than 5,000 architects, engineers, and other visitors on its own, and is the largest annual meeting for the building community in the metro New York area.

Also on Wednesday, March 30, two special “tours” will be available on the show floor. The “Advanced Aseptic Technologies Tour, will take participants around the floor to visit various aseptic technology suppliers, while a “Single-Use Technology Tour” will travel around to booths of disposable equipment vendors.

Launches, Demos, and More
Interphex, of course, is known as a platform for significant new-product launches and show-floor demonstrations. What follows is a rundown of some noteworthy floor activity to look for this year. (Here is the full list on the Interphex site.)

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