Trade Show Tech for 2014

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Mobile technology has driven the development of trade show technology. Mobile is hot, with everyone carrying a smartphone or tablet. Exhibitors and attendees alike are pulling their phones out at shows, whether to show off a feature of an exhibitor’s website or post a picture of an innovative product on Instagram. Exhibit displays now feature tablets to provide some sort of interactive experience for visitors beyond the boring handout, and tablets are used in tradeshows in many other interesting ways.


Intel ExhibitNo matter what people are doing with mobile devices at a trade show, it’s clear that mobile is a big part of the industry. It isn’t just trade show exhibits – everyone wants immediate access to information. Just think of all of the retail stores and restaurants a person can get complimentary Internet access. Hotspots are everywhere!


Trade Show Executive compiles a list of tech trends in the trade show industry, and not surprisingly, mobile is high on that list. Here’s a peek at what they found.


K.I.S.S. The KISS principle is in demand when it comes to the way current technology functions. People want simple, especially at work. So any tech products out there or soon-to-be released products will try to keep everything streamlined and simple, helping exhibitors make more solid and meaningful connections.


Automation. International trade fair productronica is using ExpoBee’s Industry Tracker product, which gives attendees their own personal social media network consisting of as many companies of the 1,200 exhibitors as they wish. People simply choose the brands they want to include in their feed as they walk about the show floor. The brands they are interested in from the show can now interact with them without the Facebook-esque distraction level provided by cat memes!


Ease of access. You should start to see a smoother experience thanks to Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and their fancy MagicBand. If you haven’t seen it, it is like a high-tech bracelet that provides you access to your room and also acts as your ticket to get into the park, your PhotoPass card, certain FastPass+ selection access, and even your credit or debit card. This band is further integrated with a mobile app and website, MyMagic+. Tech such as this is starting to catch on in the trade show world, but has been slow moving. However, it’s a great idea in terms of a stronger and more appealing customer experience, as well as more effectively managing the traffic on the show floor.


Beefing up wireless networks. We’ve all experienced it before – you head to the trade show, set foot on the floor, and want to post a picture you just had taken with your industry idol on your social networking accounts. However, it is in an eternal state of “loading,” so you give up and switch to data. This is because there are thousands of people crowded into that space, fighting for Internet access on an overloaded wireless network. It is recommended that access points should be added for every 40 users. Convention centers are responding, adding access points to improve everyone’s experience.


Capitalizing on digital products and services. The article highlights a few up-and-comers, like Syndicast from Digitell. This service allows companies to pay for a sponsorship package that broadcasts a streaming live feed from the trade show floor to sponsors’ websites. Shop the Floor is an e-commerce tool from Advanstar that is like an online marketplace for exhibitors at the show.


It’s all about location. Location-based technology, that is. We use it in a host of apps already, so there’s a certain level of location data comfort. Both exhibitors and venues alike hope for decent indoor-GPS to serve as a map of all exhibitors and at the same time provide traffic data, but it really hasn’t been affordable.


However, venues are helping with private network access and various apps on the market, like Core-Apps indoor location service, put to use at the International Construction & Utility Equipment Exposition (ICUEE). The app displays a heat map of the show floor at different times, allowing exhibitors to analyze the data and make adjustments to boost sales.


Make more meaningful connections. Some companies are starting to offer help assembling the social media puzzle. You know, determining what people are talking about while they are at the show, what they are asking for, and what they are interested in seeing. When you know people by their social media influence, you can move towards increasing your reach substantially.


Which trend are you most excited about? Is there anything not on this list that you think deserves to be?

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