. Next-Level Trade Show Technology | Meetings & Conventions

Next-Level Trade Show Technology

While show organizers and exhibitors might be impressed by the latest and greatest, it's important to focus more on the "why" than the "wow." These latest developments will add value to your next exhibition.

Bluetooth-enabled wearables from Klik allow attendees to share contact info and more.

Selecting new technology for your event can be tricky, particularly as a constant wave of new solutions enters the market. But as show organizers and exhibitors alike might be impressed by the latest and greatest, it's important to focus more on the "why" than the "wow," ensuring that tech investments are driven by real business needs. Ideally, the wow factor will present itself in bottom-line results. Here's a look at some of the latest developments, and how they might add value to your event.

Physical vs. Virtual Realities

While virtual reality has a place at trade shows, too often organizers don't consider how it's best put to use. "There was a period recently when, on a weekly basis, I had clients call to say they wanted to do VR at an upcoming event," recalls John Kaplan, group creative director for Centerline, which works with clients on marketing and branding for trade shows. "The first question out of my mouth was always, 'why?' And for the most part, the only answer I could ever get was that 'it's fun, it's cool, it's engaging.' I'm not a hater of VR by any measure, but I don't see that most people are using it in the correct application. VR at its best takes you out of the world you're in and transports you elsewhere."

That's the exact opposite of what most trade-show participants are seeking, Kaplan points out, which is face-to-face time with colleagues, thought leaders and potential business partners. Rather than using VR just for the fun of it, consider applications that make sense: allowing attendees to interact virtually with difficult-to-transport, massive pieces of machinery, for instance; or to experience the benefits of a product they can only use in very specific situations. In most other cases, Kaplan asserts, a trade-show tech budget is more wisely invested in experiences that enhance social interaction. Focusing on physical objects that attendees can hold in their hands, he suggests, brings their attention directly back to where it should be.

Read the full story at NorthstarMeetingsGroup.com