Ed Vickery, head of exhibitions at drp, looks ahead to the future of exhibitions in 2019 and beyond.
As the exhibition industry continues to grow, there has been a significant increase in investment due to clients wanting bigger and more experiential exhibitions. As investment increases, so is the growth of global identity. With multinationals expanding, ensuring we have the right mix of technology and creativity to maximise delegate experience is absolutely vital.
With the AR and VR becoming integral to good experience delivery, stands are no longer static structures, interactions can occur both in real and digital spaces. One trend we are observing time and time again is the value of emotional attraction for delegates. Delegates want to interact with your brand and be told a story. Especially now that design stands are coming to the fore, digital interaction is not just added value or a ‘nice to have’ it will be expected and therefore hugely detrimental if you don’t choose to engage with it.
Exhibitions in the near future will definitely be moving towards more experiential and technological experiences, where an immersive environment is created.
We also need to keep a keen eye on developments in the wider comms field to predict what exhibition will look like in the next 2 years. By 2020, roughly 50% of all searches online will be completed via voice. 30% of searches will be done with no screen at all. In the pursuit of information, I can see delegates expecting voice interaction on stands delivered through AI. This will be hugely attractive to brands who can extend interaction beyond just the staff on the stand.
We’re also going to see an overdue transformation of the exhibition floor. Beacon technology and smarter apps will allow us not only to track delegate movement, but guide it around the floor, based on preferences and expectations, we can improve, streamline and personalise guest experience which again, will become expected at any good exhibition.
By 2020, the 5G network should be available to the public and this promises to transform not only exhibitions, but society in general. With broadband speeds over mobile networks, the woes of venue Wi-Fi at exhibitions will effectively disappear, freeing us up to become even more creative and even smarter with the data we collect. We can’t be sure exactly what innovations the advent of 5G will deliver but looking at the services which flourished with the rollout of 4G, it promises to be a game changer for exhibitions.
There is a high demand for design and build with the world’s biggest expo in Dubai arriving in 2020; the build-up has been going for the last six to eight years. This event could be a springboard for the entire industry and fuel even more growth. Looking forward to it.