As the emergency services worked desperately to find survivors, those remaining at Networld+Interop had mixed views on the roles that IT and IT professionals could play in order to ease the country's suffering.
Ken Barth from Tek-Tools, a network monitoring firm, reflected the message of US president George W Bush. "We must not be intimidated," he said. "We must keep doing business."
One delegate called for calm. "All of us need to be patient. The twin towers [of the World Trade Centre] operated a lot of services we all use and we will all be affected."
Peter Rudnicky, the vice-president of marketing at the communications systems supplier Avaya, said that wireless technology could be used by medical crews to aid communications.
David Tang, the director of marketing at Bay Packets, a telecom software company, spoke for many when he called on the US government to dramatically improve its own technology in the aftermath of the disaster.
"I believe the government needs to be at the cutting edge of IT," he said. "I hope the emergency services will find a way to leverage IT."