As someone who tracks UK exhibitions it is pretty evident that technology is the single biggest driver of change in the industry.

The primary change is the composition and profile of exhibitions that take place on these shores every year.

You wouldn’t think the composition changes given the everlasting behemoths that occupy the top slots but it does – you just have to ignore sectors like lifestyle, security, retail, travel and construction.

That’s when it starts to get interesting…and techy.

In the last five years we have seen a massive sway to high-value premium exhibitions representing tech sectors that are already commercialised and set for continued future growth. If you need examples just take a look at the exhibitions in play for cloud, cyber security, data, energy, fintech and life sciences.

It’s a no-brainer and anyone with a finger in those pies will be eating well.

Scratch a little deeper and you will how that exhibition composition never really settles as the next tranche of gold rush exhibitions are already at play to see whether they can get traction.

Gold rush exhibitions need no explanation they are the sectors which are hitting the mainstream headlines promising eye-boggling growth.

This year the focus has pretty much be virtual, augmented and mixed reality tech which had more than six serious expo/confex launches in the UK alone.

But it moves in cycles and now we have a host of organisers looking at robotics, agri-science and AI as possible launches in the UK and European markets.

Of all of those, AI, in my opinion is the one that will most likely reach serious commercialisation within exhibitions next year.

Yep, when it comes to launches and technology, as an industry, we know how to skedaddle.

We are obsessed with technology in that regard but when it comes to technology to improve visitor and exhibitor experience it’s a completely different story.

Then it becomes almost pedestrian.

In my mind there are a couple of key reasons for that and they centre on an industry built on a 12-month cycle with risk-averse strategies created to protect the high margins.

To be honest, I don’t know how break that model but there are plenty of opportunities for the brave organisers willing to adopt a launch mentality to the customer experience.

Yesterday I visited the excellent Event Tech Live which is was packed out with more than 70 technology providers who are eager to enhance the experiences of visitors and exhibitors alike.

Event Tech Live encompasses all events, not just exhibitions, so it was really interesting to see what technology other face-to-face operators are using and how they are using it.

The highlights for me included:

  • Forge SP – how exhibition organisers are not using this is beyond comprehension.
  • What3Words – which has so many applications cooler than events, but the event application is pretty damn cool.
  • Gaggletag – which could massively help track exhibitor performance pictorially.

If you didn’t manage to make it to the show I highly recommend you check them out on the show website.

If you are impressed with those companies and how they can improve the customer experience then imagine what is coming down the line with AI and robotics.

Future blogs coming on exhibition marketing automation and data visualisation … if you want to get involved drop me a line.

Monthly newsletter link – http://eepurl.com/biqui1

Exhibitor Smarts is a specialist exhibitor agency working alongside organisers and suppliers to maximise exhibitor revenue and performance.

We also work directly with exhibitors saving more than 30% off their investments.

Email: jim@exhibitorsmarts.com

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