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New Year, New Technology at Trade Shows

In 2016, technology will once again play a key role in how consumers will experience brands at trade shows.  Last year was no different which saw live streaming applications such as Periscrope and Meerkat, change how consumers interact online/offline with brands at trade shows.  Frank Supovitz, former Vice President of Events for the National Football League (NFL) has seen how technology at events has been advancing.  “There are so many ways to engage with guests using exciting new apps, social media and streaming before, during and after events.”  If you want your consumers to be engaged with your exhibits at an event, your brand needs to evolve as technology continues to grow.

Mobile is Everywhere

Did you know that the majority of Google searches are now on mobile? So, if an attendee visiting a trade show searches for you on a mobile device, would you be prepared?  If you are not prepared that means the digital components of your event experience are not mobile ready which is not okay since mobile is how people are exploring today’s digital universe.

A commonality between people at events is that they are always looking at their mobile devices so the ability to design experiences to pull people away from the screen and experience your booth is key.  John Woo of Global Experience Specialists agrees that the question in 2016 for brands presenting at a trade show is:

“How do we tie technology through their mobile device back to what’s happening as a real experience on the show floor or in a common area?”

Understanding the User

Your brand’s space at an event should incorporate various technology such as beacons, apps and digital signage with the goal of connecting with the user.  As Internet of Things (IOT) continues to advance, more brands will be able to have their technology work together to connect to the consumer and remove redundancy.  The ability to have your technology work together to understand their consumer will be changing as Internet of Things continues to evolve.  Kirstin Tunbull of Mosaic enjoys when brands get rid of redundancy and simplifies the engagement because it “turns an attendee into an active participant.”

Facial Recognition

In 2002, the movie Minority Report staring Tom Cruise brought attention of facial recognition to the masses. While the technology is in its infancy in the trade show industry, it’s gaining popularity as a way to see what dwell times are, when they are coming in, how many times they have come back.  Movement tracking can help determine where to relocate a brand’s staff to ensure that the staff is acquiring all leads and where to place products and literature for the highest impact on attendee.

Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality

CES 2016 has seen the launch of augmented/virtual reality for the consumer market but can brands take advantage of this technology for consumers visiting their event space.  Mo Twine of MKG believes that this technology has the potential to boost consumer interactivity and the overall experience consumers have with the brand by having more physical elements in the virtual reality activation space, longer experiences and integration of more sensors to create a more complex virtual world.

Tourism and retail companies, are two industries that have been taking the technology to trade conferences, where they show off videos and other immersive “experiences” to impress those who can help drive their businesses.

Take a journey through a virtual reality world:

360 Degrees

After YouTube and Facebook began supporting 360 videos, more and more brands are adopting this technology to provide a unique experience for their consumer.   Event professionals like Jamie Barlow of Sparks believes there is strong potential for this technology at trade shows such as:

“Having a 360 rig in the middle of a sports event or a trade show hall, a consumer could look around from a particular vantage point and visually explore the environment on their own.”

Gesture Technology

Imagine you are in your favorite brands’ exhibit space and a simple wave of hello allows you to interact with the brand. Digital architecture has given brands the opportunity to develop environments that are reacting to people that are at your space.

Personalization Technology

Technology has grown from the one size fits all approach to personal content interaction within an exhibit space.  The technology within the exhibit space has the ability to change dynamically based on the data received from the participant’s preferences and prior interactions with the brand.

LED Displays

Jim Kelley, VP of Production Resource group has seen significant advantages of LED Displays through an event space.  “By using some of these newer technologies that can overcome the ambient light of meeting space, it allows you to have a brighter learning environments…which has been proven to keep people’s attention and it’s much more conducive to adult learning.”

Drones

Advancements in drone technology is a hot topic at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show.  The technology has advanced to the point that brands are using it to engage their consumer by simply mounting cameras to live-stream video, analyze foot traffic or to provide unique experiences to attendees.

Data + Data = Remarketing

Looking at the numbers behind consumers engagement to your brand during a show is key for future success.   As technology continues to evolve it has allowed us more opportunities to see how engaged consumers are with your brand during an event.  The data collected allows brands to gather meaningful insights, and the brand will be able to figure out a Return on Investment (R.O.I).

Technology has the opportunity to tell stories and stories are what draws consumers to a brand. Adrienne Johnson of Spell Bound states: “While there seems to be new apps and technology almost daily that makes events more creative, unique, and highly stylized, the concern is that the story behind it at times gets lost to the spectacle.  So the challenge then is to create an event engaging enough to have guest get out from behind their mobile screen, be in the moment and discover the story.”  Technology in your booth during a show can have many benefits but make sure you are using the technology for the right reason in order to be engaging to your consumer.   This technology allows most exhibitors to benefit from better leads and tailor the experience for the attendees.

Sources:
Sorrells, Mitra. “2016 Preview: Tech Trends for the Coming Year.” BizBash. BizBash, 22 Dec. 2015. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

“Tesco Petrol Stations Use Face-scan Tech to Target Ads – BBC News.” BBC News. BBC News, 4 Nov. 2013. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

Marshall, Jack. “How Has Advertising Lived Up to ‘Minority Report’? – Digiday.” Digiday. DigiDay, 06 Feb. 2014. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

Chen, Angela. “Why Marketers Are Embracing Oculus and Virtual Reality.”CMO Today RSS. WSJ, 4 Mar. 2015. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

Leung, Sarah. “Trade Show Trends: How Trade Shows Are Evolving.” Trade Show Trends How Trade Shows Are Evolving Comments. Handshake, 22 Apr. 2015. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

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