Tradeshows are early adopters of technology out of necessity. Their large size and emphasis on commerce have demanded automation and, therefore, tradeshows have been among the first events to offer computerized registration, web registration, lead retrieval, computerized signage, kiosks, cyber cafes, self check-in for registration, RFID tracking, product directories, handheld survey devices, networking systems, just to name a few.
Consequently, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE – www.iaee.com) Annual Meeting is usually one of the best meetings each year in terms of events and tradeshow technology. This year’s meeting and exhibit last month in Las Vegas was true to form offering more new and developing technology for the events industry per square foot on the exhibit floor than any meeting around.
eMerge Technology Showcase
This year offered the debut of the eMerge Technology Showcase, a one-day event the day before the exhibit opened. Before the meeting, the eMerge blog (www.emergeblog.com) was used with some interest to create a buzz about the event.
The day started off with a Technology Procurement panel discussion with Dave Lutz, Stephen Graham, Shawn Pierce and Stephen Nold pointing out the significant cost and labor savings that can be accrued from these initiatives. Handout can be downloaded at: http://www.emergeblog.com/eMerge_Opening_Session_Handout.pdf
Following the panel discussing, there were several technology case study presentations including:
MAGIC Marketplace (a very large trade event for the fashion industry with 100,000 attendees - www.magiconline.com) used Experient’s (www.experient-inc.com) ACRM (Attendee Customer Relationship Management) database and registration tool. Significant components of the ACRM include: contact acquisition, campaign management/measurement, CRM, correlation (decision support) and reporting. Results claimed were a 70% labor savings in database management, increase sponsorship dollars and increased exhibitor retention.
Automated speaker management
Complete Conference Management (CCM - www.ccmcme.com) use of the Attendee Interactive (www.attendeeinteractive.com) automated speaker management system for meetings with of 240 presentations and more. The results proved to be a great improvement from previous years using an Excel spreadsheet. The web-based system with online speaker forms “virtually eliminated inaccuracies.” The data were more complete, disclosure tracking was automated, and it helped to build a centralized one-stop-shop for speakers to make hotel and flight arrangement saving substantial labor effort.
Automated Exhibitor Management
J. Spargo (www.jspargo.com), a large full-service event management company used A2Z (www.a2zinc.com) for exhibitor tracking, assigning booths, confirming space contracts, and invoicing. Reported benefits included:
- Streamlined exhibit sales
- Improved cash flow through automated invoicing
- Global staff access (anywhere there is an internet connection)
- One-time data entry of exhibitor information.
- Reduced IT support
- Simplified web creations
- Fewer customer service calls because of the online FAQ file.
The American Heart Association’s (www.americanheart.org) use of Conference Archives Inc. (www.conferencearchives.com) for delivery of conference recordings for its 25,000 member annual meeting was discussed.
Results included the capturing of more than 10,000 presentations and made available over the internet within 30 days after the conference. AHA has successfully offset the costs related to the production of these resources and is enjoying a positive cash revenue stream from the sale of this content with more than 150,000 page views from more than 120 countries.
Online Citywide Housing
CoreNet Global (www.corenetglobal.org) used Passkey (www.passkey.com) to maximize revenue, mitigate attrition risks, minimize labor and automate hotel reservations for two 2,800-attendee shows annually. Results included increased attendee satisfaction with the housing process, real-time control of the room blocks, 27/7 access to reports, reduction in book-arounds and improved ability to forecast future events.
Radio Frequency Identification for Tradeshow
IBM’s use of an RFID system provided by AllianceTech (www.alliancetech.com) was covered including the ability to track session attendance, floor traffic and improved ability to quantify the value of exhibiting by understanding booth traffic, attendee duration in the booth.
Web 2.0 and Events (Closing Session)
I co-delivered the closing session on Web 2.0 with Sal Fuentes (www.decisioncounsel.com). Several emerging technology trends were discussed including the impact of wikis, web services, blogs, podcasts, and social software. Much of what was discussed is elaborated in my article on Web 2.0.
Technology Highlights from the Show Floor
There were also many interesting technology products and services on the Expo! Expo! Show floor including:
Exhibition, tradeshow sales, appointment scheduling and matchmaking web software. Very interesting “dashboard” with an overall picture of the key tradeshow performance indicators.
Exhibition management and floor plan tool with web based applications. Held a user group at the conference.
Full service incentive, registration, housing provider with strong technology tools for meetings consolidation.
American Tradeshow Services http://atsweb.american-tradeshow.com/
Lead retrieval (RFID, mag stripe, smart card) and registration services.
ASP Inc. www.aspevents.net
Advanced web-content management solution used to run very large tradeshow productions. UK-based company has recently opened office in Las Vegas. Very interesting exhibitor-branded registration pages allowing exhibitors to promote evetns.
Audience Response Systemswww.audienceresponse.com
Variety of audience response systems including credit-card sized CLiKAPAD with a 250-410 foot range.
Bartizan Connects LLC www.bartizan.com
Range of lead retrieval options including EXPO! Leads2Go handheld terminal using Motorola’s (formerly Symbol Technologies) MC 50 hardware platform with SD card media, QWERTY keyboard and voice notes.
Very interesting and innovative attendee relationship management (networking) company.
Capture Technologies www.captureleads.com
Lead retrieval systems, kiosks and audience response integration.
Certain Software www.certain.com
Complete online registration and housing solution. One of the few registration companies that is PCI (payment card industry) compliant.
Online registration, lead retrieval, messaging, product locator, CE/CME certification and survey systems.
Pioneering registration and lead management services.
Convention Data Services (CDS) www.conventiondataservices.com
Event registration, lead retrieval and show marketing services.
Large web portal for tradeshow planning resources.
ConventionStrategy Expo www.conventionstrategy.com
Meetings marketing company providing attendee management and lead retrieval applications including RFID.
Dietze Enterprises www.leadretrieval.com
Lead retrieval services including RFID.
Registration, floor plan management and speaker/conference management solution.
Full service registration and lead retrieval service provider.
EventReady TMI www.eventreadytmi.com
Range of event management, registration, housing, floor plan and exhibit management tools.
High-end custom designed registration sites. A division of Thriva, owners of several registration products.
Exhibit Surveys www.exhibitsurveys.com
Pioneering exhibition and event research company.
Very large and full-service meeting and exhibition management company.
Exposoft Solutions www.exposoft.com
Customized registration, housing, abstract management, lead retrieval and exhibition management solutions.
A variety of portable scanner tools including mag stripe, barcode and RFID. Also, RFID gateways that measure direction of travel.
Fish Software www.fishsoftware.com
Very clever meetings and tradeshow measurement solution using a range of technologies including RFID.
GF Meridia www.getfeedback.com
Audience polling systems focused on membership feedback and event measurement solutions.
High quality and innovative wireless broadband services for hotels and convention centers.
ITN International/Bcard www.bcard.net
Lead management solutions with several innovative solutions.
A new entry into the exhibition management/floor plan management space. Nice looking toolset.
Padgett Communications www.pcipro.com
Advanced audience response keypads.
Wireless communications provider for convention centers and hospitality venues.
Handheld smart card/RFID applications for trade shows.
Trade Show Leads, www.tsleads.net
Full service registration and lead retrieval company in seven countries.
Portable lead retrieval applications using the Blackberry RIM interface.
Portable lead retrieval devices that can handle three different badge formats: 2D barcode, MagStripe and RFID.
Travel Technology Group www.traveltechnologygroup.com
High-end housing and travel reservation service for event planners.
Very robust event management system for exhibition and conference organizers, venues, event contractors and destination managers.