Exhibition News May 2019 - Page 47

Tech C reating a feature area or installation at a show adds value to the visitor experience. In the age of festivalisation, adding an animated technologically interactive feature area can add the ‘wow’ factor to the show floor. Although some organisers want to do this on a shoestring budget, sponsorships and activating brands in feature areas is one way of getting a great feature at very little cost. Bars, business lounges, meeting areas and education theatres are established fare in this area, but what about a do- over to inspire visitors? Using technology in various functional and visual forms is going to enhance visitor experiences and create positive memories. One of my favourite feature areas is at Best of Events in Dortmund, Germany. The show hosts 10,000 event professionals every year in January. The ‘Acts on Stage’ area in the show features acrobats, comedians, musicians, illusion artists, sand painters and other performers. Simple functional technology – headphones – are used to create a ‘silent show’. This animates the hall without interrupting the exhibitors. Technology can be used in other functional ways. Organisers could inject some hard-core networking into visitor lounges. One great app used at Event Tech Live in London last November was Brella. The app allows people to connect before a show and arrange a networking appointment. At the show itself, a Brella Lounge is set up with small highboy tables and table numbers. The person you want to network with has to accept a timed meeting request through the app, then a table is allocated. The Brella lounge was a busy animated feature at the show. Intel’s Wonderwall installation designed by 2LK for Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last year was visually attractive. The idea could be easily adapted to an entrance feature. By using different data inputs – images, audio, screen touch, movements and motions, different graphic outputs would appear in real-time on a large LED wall. For a show floor idea, if you were using the Zenus facial recognition software at the entry point, the data could be fed in to the Wonderwall software and an artistic image of the visitor appeared on the screen. Other options such as using touch type technology like the Pavegen kinetic energy tiles or motion sensors that track people walking by can convert these movements into visual data that appears in various artistic shapes . Jack Morton’s interactive installation for Ericsson at Mobile World Congress is another example of a visual feature that can be adapted to the show floor. Their Genuine X innovation practice created large custom-built hardware, consisting of 3D printed knobs and dials on a console, so visitors could navigate Ericsson’s large market research. Visitors were drawn in through interactive play by engaging with the hardware, with differing data sets appearing on a screen above the console. The visitors’ actions generated conversations and Ericsson were able to provide engaging, interesting and consumable content in a playful way. Technology features can also be educational. Boston-based DAHLIA+ agency feature areas provide educational experiences on the show floor. One of their most popular offerings is a one-on-one genius bar-style Tech Bar. It empowers visitors by applying technology to their day-to-day lives and educates on boosting productivity. The agency’s experts demonstrate a variety of technologies including digital note-taking, social media management, top 10 must-have apps, wearable’s, AR/VR and artificial intelligence. To conclude, using different functional and visual technologies to engage and inspire visitors whilst demonstrating that the show has evolved is something that organisers should consider. Sponsorships can cover costs, but the ultimate aim is to use technology to enhance the visitor experience. Chiselled features James Morgan, founder of Event Tech Lab, takes a look at some of the high- tech features bringing a ‘wow’ factor to the show floor May — 47