- Posted by Jo-Anne Kelleway
- On January 25, 2019
- 1 Comments
- Big Data, blockchain, Data, Event Tech, Event Technology, EventProfs, Info Salons
No longer the “stodgy” older uncle of the events industry, trade exhibitions have emerged as stimulating marketplaces, where face-to-face experiences drive economy and boost industrial relationships worldwide. Spearheading this transformation are the digital tools & platforms now available.
My top 5 predictions for 2019, specific to trade exhibitions are as follows:
- Artificial Intelligence: – is shaping our future and is not as “scary” now that it has been built into our everyday devices to make our lives easier. Machine learning techniques allow us to layer information from many different areas and provide predictive analytics on the attendees at our shows. Knowing which pre-registrants will attend can help you prioritize your marketing spend. Or knowing which exhibitors are more likely to want to see certain buyers not only increases the value of the show but allows you to provide qualitative matchmaking. As our attendees are becoming smarter, they expect more from their visit to the show – a personalised visitor journey, hand-held introductions, specific follow-up.
- Mixed Media– AR on exhibit booths is becoming more affordable and creative. Attendee engagement with “digitally enhanced” products on display increases attendee engagement & decreases landfill. I’m even seeing a new-look Virtual Event built on real video footage of the actual event showcased on the website for those registrants that were unable to attend. With the advent of new cameras, drones, and more – virtual events will get a complete overhaul allowing organisers to scale experiences beyond the show site.
- Privacy vs Security– on the one hand we have GDPR etc. stipulating guidelines to protect an individual’s privacy and on the other, we have international security issues that demand we open ourselves to scrutiny to ensure we are who we say we are. This tug-of-war will continue until technology development can provide an answer (possibly a distributed blockchain digital ID).
- Faces become our ID & Voices become our Personal Assistants– more progress with the speed of facial recognition is making it viable for large-scale exhibitions. Facial recognition can be used to print badges, track attendee movement or even judge sentiment analysis on the show floor or in session rooms. Voice-powered personal assistants (eventbots) can answer questions, send information back to the office and even take surveys. Platforms, like Alexa, Google Home etc will give us infinite possibilities to provide superior show-site experiences.
- Bigger is still Better – in Asia anyway. Emerging markets continue to churn out huge exhibitions. With China’s NECC in Shanghai at 400K sqm of exhibition space and the opening of the Shenzhen International Convention and Exhibition Center in 2020 at 500K sqm – expectations of massive exhibitions continue to thrive throughout Greater China. According to UFI’s ‘Trade Fair Industry in Asia’ annual report forecast, by the end of 2018 the venue capacity in Asia will reach over 9 million sqm, and the number of venues operating in Asia will increase to 230. Smaller niche events seem to be pigeonholed to the mature markets.
Not making my Top 5, but definitely on my radar is the question of the humble event app – Is the app back? Potentially with digital advancements that include AR, AI and secure ID facilities, we may see a resurgence and revolution in the usage of event apps. Not the old, boring list of exhibitors & wayfinding variety – but a drastically improved, mega-app!
You can also read more Predictions from my colleagues at Freeman.