Guest post by Stephen Lindsay.
Technology plays a huge role in contemporary exhibitions and trade shows. But what factors do you need to consider if you want to add experiential or other tech within your booth?
Enhancing your booth with technology like touch screens, game, video walls, augmented or virtual reality (AR/VR) can be an incredibly engaging way to attract and retain interest at an exhibition. Done well and integrated properly, the right tech can make your presence a hit. But without implementing the right processes and asking some key questions, getting this integration right can be tricky.
Here are nine questions you need to consider when evaluating in-booth technology for your next exhibition.
What’s your objective?
The most important question to consider before you implementing any technology is: why you are using it? The technology needs to fulfill a goal or objective rather than just adding expense and complexity.
Don’t spend money on a technology simply because others are using it or because it’s popular/trendy. You need to ensure it works with your booth concept and design.
If you can’t articulate how this technology is going to help you achieve your objectives for an event, then it may need more thought. This does not always mean it is the wrong tech; you might simply need to dig a little deeper into how it can be used in a way that complements what you are doing.
Is it seamless?
Everything must be cohesive. If the tech is offering an experience, make sure this is reflected in the stand. The technology shouldn’t feel out of place in your booth or mismatched to your brand. Every element of your stand should fit the concept and the design naturally. And if you are using it to collect data, it should integrate easily with your other tools and systems.
Is it entertaining?
Booth technology should keep visitors interested and engaged. Even if you are only using it for data collection, make sure it is interesting. If you are asking for contact details, offer a prize or experience in return. Test everything thoroughly before show time, to make sure all works as planned—especially if you’re using something like an interactive AR/VR game.
What is supporting it?
Make sure your stand and staff are working with the technology and experience in mind. If the tech offers an experience, do you need to back this up with supporting literature and signage? If the experience “transports” people somewhere, how can you give a real flavor of this experience around your booth?
If the technology allows people to engage in a way where they might want to share their experiences, add elements like hashtags to the booth signage. In return for shareable elements like pictures of themselves, you can ask for contact details and other relevant information.
Does it fit the design?
If feasible, choose the technology you are going to use before you design your booth. That enables you to design the booth layout and traffic flow with the technology in mind. This information will allow for a more natural journey around the tech and help make it a seamless part of the stand’s experience. Should you have any problems creating the design, it’s best to consult an exhibition stand designer near your location to ensure your exhibition runs smoothly.
Do you have the time?
Don’t rush into integrating new technology. Make sure you allow time to fully understand all the elements you need, where they go, and how you are using them.
This will assure you have sufficient time to fully realize your concept and test that it works as you want it to. With careful planning and realistic deadlines, even complex technology should be manageable.
Does it fit your audience?
Whatever technology you are adding, you need to make sure it aligns with your audience. Millennial software developers have much different expectations than middle-aged insurance executives, for example. You will also need to know how to make it appeal to them. This means adding elements to your stand that draw attention to your tech for the right reasons.
Whether this is digital displays, printed signage, social media, or some combination of these and/or other elements, everything needs to work with the experience the technology is providing. These components should not be an afterthought and should be part of your booth design from concept to delivery.
Is there an issue with the venue?
Consider not only your booth but also the space it sits in. Does your spot at the exhibition have the necessary facilities for the tech you want to use? Can you access power, drainage, overhead signage, etc? If so, is this access compatible with your booth design and reserved space (corner or mid-aisle, 10×20, 20×20, etc.)?
The best way to ensure your plans will work is to review them with the event organizers beforehand.
Who will support the technology?
Before you get to the show, you need to determine who will be responsible for setting up and operating the technology within your booth. Do they need training, practice, or any other tools to be able to do this on the day? Who do they contact for questions or issues?
Some tech may require professional third-party operators or support. If this is the case, have you booked them? Do they know what the plan is, the timetable for the exhibition, the concept and what is expected of them? They will need to form part of your event team, so communication is crucial.
Whether you’re using internal or external resources, you need to identify who is in charge. And you need to assure they know exactly what is expected of them, and that they have everything they need to achieve your objectives.
Stephen Lindsay has been in the exhibition industry for over 40 years, starting on the shop floor and working his way up to Production Manager. He joined DMN Design Build in 2004 as Projects Director. He specialises in experiential marketing, exhibition stand design, exhibition services in London and much more. His responsibilities are to oversee the smooth transition of all projects from sales into production.