Magical Screen

High Five: The new trends and technologies which will dominate events and exhibition industry in the Middle East over the next five years

With its constantly shrinking size and ever expanding scope, digital technology is the biggest marvel of the modern times. Revolutionizing the way we communicate, and bringing the world within the hold of our palm, the digital technologies have increased connectivity and expanded the reach in ways we never knew, or even assumed of, before.

And like all other trades and business, the events and exhibitions are on the brink of a major transformation, all thanks to the advert of digital era which has been amplifying both individual businesses, and the society at large.

The success of any event or exhibition depends on audience engagement, and nothing escalates it to a greater extent than digital technology in new avatars.

At first it was the Smartphone, transcending from a status symbol to being an utmost necessity: every nine in ten people owning a smartphone device (or more), which revolutionized the events and expo industry like none other, but now things are beginning to go beyond the magical screen so obedient to even a slightest touch.

And while Mobile event apps, mobile-polling/surveys, virtual reality, second-screen technology, and gamification etc. may already begin to seem things of the past in the events and expo industry: the even newer technologies and trends are set to spruce up the game to an unprecedented level. Here are some promising ones that are sure to galvanize the events and expo scenario in the Middle East.

Event Analytics

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Digitalization of the communication processes has led to a spate of data collection sources, creating endless possibilities in the realm of data analytics (organizing and analyzing data from multiple sources).

According to marketing pundits, the actual quantum of success for any modern event or exhibition goes way beyond the obvious and depends crucially on two important factors: engagement tools, to increase target audience participation and feedback; and data analytics, providing significant information and actionable insights for significant marketing gains.

The emergence of event analytics is set to transform the events and expos industry from merely being a promotional tool, to being a central element of the marketing mix providing far reaching benefits, with its wealth of firsthand data on actions, behavior, interests and other vital traits of the target groups.

Through multiple digital sources like mobile event apps, online polls, social media, live streams, digital databases etc., real-time data from the audiences could be gathered before, during and after events, which could then be utilized to create more value for exhibitors and at the same time provide a richer, more personalized experience for the attendees.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is the closest digital technology can get to interactive reality, at least for the moment. The difference between virtual reality and augmented reality is that while the VR carries the viewer into a digital environment, where they could interact with it, the AR merges simulated digital elements into actual surroundings, where the audiences could then interact with them.

Taking engagement to the next level, AR allows the audiences to move and interact with 3D virtual props in real surroundings, which has a two-way effect of grabbing the fancy of audiences as a whole, along with undivided attention of those interacting. The VR caters only to the one(s) engaged with the VR device on their eyes, as all the action takes place within the device.

Creative and amusing AR concepts are already making headway into events and expos, like the 3D Photo Booths which invite attendees to merge within a digital setup with virtual interactive props and special green screen effects (superimposing subjects onto virtual backgrounds).

Augmented reality booth designs are another emerging trend within the industry, creating 3D virtual walkthroughs of exhibition booths, stage sets, and other event setups, saving considerable costs on actual construction and modifications of the setups, during the testing phase of the event design.

Although still a few years away from developing to perfection, the AR technology is already beginning to make its presence felt at events and tradeshows.

BLE Beacon

Image credit: Technology Options Blog

More elaborately known as Bluetooth Low Energy Beacon device is another novel but quite effective method of engaging the audiences, and data collection. The latest on-site data collection tool, the beacon device, developed by the ‘Bluetooth Special Interest Group’ allows Bluetooth enabled smart devices to send and receive static data, within the vicinity, through customized mobile app.

Tracking every touch and movement, the beacon technology enables multi-dimensional on-site data collection by measuring crowd flow through heat-mapping; recording dwell times to highlight the attendees’ interests and preferences – quite valuable to the exhibitors; and networking for attendees to discover and pool with people sharing like choices, interests, and preferences.


Img credit: gestiopolis

The near field communication technology (NFC) has been around for some time now, and is finally making its mark in the events and expo business, with its ability to instantly exchange data. Extremely valuable from the marketing perspective NFC facilitates sharing valuable information (contacts, product details, brochures, etc.), between attendees and exhibitors, with just a tap of a NFC enabled badge or a memory stick, saving both time and space.

The nifty badges and trendy techy premiums also add up as cool parting gifts.

The emergence of the digital technologies is transforming the events and expos industry, and how! Digital is the future, and it is already here.

Way to go!