In 2017, we saw an increase in some key technologies. There were more practical use cases for AR/VR in a corporate context; more adoption of mobile in events; an introduction to more AI consumer products; and an increase in experiential and niche events/environments. Overall, there was a lot of technology that this year, we expect to find a purpose. Let's take a look at seven trends we think you should be watching.
1. Contextual Booth Design
Experience-hungry customers will push brands towards contextual designs in place of traditional, "billboard" setups. These will likely include technology that is integrated into the environment instead of used as an attraction-only element. We expect to see technology support the overall experience and not added in as an afterthought.
2. Non-traditional Events
Trade shows won't be the only place marketers will be looking to activate their brands. The drive to find new experiences will push them to create more unique events like Bud Light's Whatever USA activation. Don't be surprised to see more traveling activations, too! These sorts of modular components will work together across showrooms and in the field.
3. Hand-on & Tailored Experiences
With an increase in customization in the retail space, we expect to see the same in event spaces for a more direct connection with brands. Marketers will no doubt create more interactive activations for every event. This could be seen as simply the opportunity for users to participate in something fun, a user-generated art piece, or a socially fueled takeaway.
4. Focus on Entertainment
Breaking through audience expectations means connecting in engaging ways. This year, we will see this at a larger scale and will include: restaurant takeovers, partnerships with celebrities, branded themed entertainment, and games and activations. An interesting dynamic will play out as marketers determine if the traditional methods of designing and operating are more effective than the newer focus on entertaining. We need to get down to business, but there's no reason we can't have fun along the way!
5. Pushing more Pixels with LED
The beauty of LED is how it scales; the more panels you add the larger resolution you end up with! The cost of LED panels are decreasing while the resolution continues to grow. Because of this, marketers will be more able to leverage LED in a variety of settings. Which opens a limitless world of creativity surrounding activations.
6. More Projection / Pixel Mapping
Because there are more pixels, cheaper equipment, and a greater knowledge for utilizing and executing this technology, we think pixel mapping will become more prominent. This will present itself in semi- and permanent installations, and in trade shows across industries. Also expect to see more speciality that focus on this type of technology.
7. AI / Data Analytics
2018 will only enhance the AI conversation. Use cases for the technology is growing, and the language skills are advancing (take Siri and Alexa, for example), but we are still only seeing the beginning of what's possible. How the analytics, that AI is driven by, will affect the event space is still up in the air, but we're seeing early indications that it will have a positive impact on customer experience, ROI, and lead capture. Remember that AI is not just smart phone technology; Wait Time is a service that monitors lines and wait times!
We are excited to see what impact all of these have on our industry! Make sure you stay up-to-date on our blog to see our events using this tech in 2018. What are you most excited for this year?