The Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO) provides their top eight trends for exhibitions in 2017.
WEARABLES: In a wireless world, exhibitioners are increasingly employing RFID or radio frequency identification technology as innovative ways to track delegate attendance. With wearable technology becoming all the more popular, people are more comfortable with employing them for both private and professional use. This presents a unique opportunity for the exhibition industry and we are already seeing the use of RFID at exhibitions internationally.
DATA BEACONS: While this is nothing new to the retail industry, the incorporation of data beacons in the exhibition space is on the rise. Designed to collect and provide massive amounts of customer behaviour data, data beacons can help exhibitors determine how long delegates are spending where, what routes they are walking in exhibition halls as well as the busiest hours/days of the exhibition.
VIRTUAL REALITY: One of the exhibition trends that is getting the most traction locally is the use of virtual reality (VR) devices. In addition to being used at exhibitions, we’re also seeing them being used within the planning phases in preparation of the actual exhibitions. When exhibition organisers design floorplans, they are increasingly turning to VR to test the plans..
DIGITAL MARKETING: Gone are the days where professionals carry dozens of business cards around with them. Today, more and more exhibitors are connecting with their customers electronically – by exchanging digital business cards and sharing electronic video brochures, for example.
PERSONALISATION AND EXPERIENTIAL EXPERIENCES: With the saturation of digital channels, exhibitors are turning to new and fresh ways to break through the informational clutter and deliver highly targeted information to their audiences. To do this, they are harnessing big data and the vast scope of technology to create personalised, customised and experiential experiences that communicate strategic brand or product messages in a manner that audiences will remember.
EVENT GREENING FORUM: Sustainability has become a prerequisite in the design and construction of exhibitions. With green technologies and better ways of organising exhibitions sprouting up all around us, exhibition organisers are increasingly taking practical green principles into consideration and seeing how this can be applied across the entire show. For more about event greening.
EYE TRACKING: Another trend that is offering exhibition organisers numerous insights is eye tracking. This involves measuring the attendees’ eye movements and, for example, tracking their points of gaze or how long they look at one thing. These insights are, in turn, being leveraged to drive improved exhibition design.
FACEBOOK LIVE AND LIVE STREAMING: It is the ideal combination: a unique, experiential, digital streaming event that offers the audience face-to-face quality contact while simultaneously encouraging the audience to be engaged and participate. Live streaming is gaining immense popularity in the industry and we are seeing more exhibitors turn to free solutions like Facebook Live as a way to power their live streaming.
This story was first published by The Exhibition Planner and is republished with permission of the editor.
Image: Eye-tracking is an exhibition trend to watch in 2017.
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