Technology Trends in Trade Shows

How-To Tips, Industry Insights and Trends

Latest Trends in Trade Show Exhibits

Technology can be one of the most important factors in determining the effectiveness and success of your trade show. In everyday life, the technology we use is personal, interactive, and fulfills a need. The technology in an exhibit must follow suit.  You need to take advantage of the interactive nature that technology has to offer. Technology gives depth to an exhibit design and helps to create a memorable experience. We are digging into a few of the latest technology trends in trade shows we think are restructuring the exhibition and event scene.

Augmented Reality


Microsoft’s HoloLens Technology in Use

Augmented reality is a variety of virtual reality that blends what users see in their real surroundings with computer-generated content. The supplementary images typically add information to the actual surroundings in some way. AR has a unique way of provoking emotions and thoughts that normal demos can’t. You can bring the entire world into a small space, and the value of that is immeasurable.

Some AR systems use a camera to capture the user’s surroundings or some type of display screen that the user looks at through a headset. Others are simply apps that work with tablets or smartphones. An example of the latter is Converse Inc.’s Sampler iPhone app that lets shoppers pick any shoe from the company’s catalog and then aim their phone toward their foot, at which point the selected item seems to appear on their foot.

It has been said that we will see much more of AR but only for brands with the budgets for top-quality experiences and AR will not be adopted on a mass scale for several years. However, Apple’s ARKit, Google’s ARCore, and Microsoft’s HoloLens are standardizing the experience and making AR more attainable and cost effective for the everyday user. The ARKit allows you to build unparalleled augmented reality experiences by blending digital objects and information with the environment around you.



biometrics exhibit

Infiniti’s display at the Pebble Beach Concors d’ Elegance used Biometrics to track attendees feelings and emotions during the event – credit Event Marketer

The term “biometrics” means detecting and measuring biological information in individuals, such as faces, heartbeats, irises, etc., as a way to track and identify them. Connecting the power of computer technology, companies are using biometrics to monitor consumers with a host of devices that can read and record their faces, speech, fingerprints, retinas, etc.

With the biometrics industry still in its commercial and marketing infancy, most exhibitors have opted for highly traditional uses, by integrating fitness trackers to record the number of steps attendees walked or the amount of calories consumed during an event. However, some cutting-edge companies have used products to read attendees’ emotional states and then project appropriate text-based responses to their emotions onto an in-booth screen. Biometrics are far from ordinary on the trade show floor. But with some serious creativity, the technology can be used as an attention-grabbing wow factor in your next exhibit.


Conductive Ink

conductive ink tradeshow

Conductive ink can be drawn to create a “lightbulb” moment, literally.

Conductive ink is a liquid that allows a figure drawn with it to transmit electricity. Comprising four main components – a solvent, a conductive material, a polymer binder, and an electrical source, such as a battery – conductive inks can be applied to traditional materials and effectively turn them into electronic devices. When activated, usually by touch, these enhanced materials can play a song, illuminate an illustration, or even warm objects.Conductive inks can be applied in several ways including screen print, flexographic or rotogravure, spray, dip, syringe dispense, and stencil print. Conductive inks are formulated for a specific method of application. Conductive inks for screen printing tend to be solvent based because water based inks evaporate too quickly and the viscosity tends to be too low to screen effectively. Water- based inks are available for high speed printing and coating applications.

Interactive, talking paper posters or stationary walls can be used in your booth that people can touch as they would the screen of an iPhone or iPad using conductive ink. Not all conductive ink has to be on stationary walls. Hershey made what it called the Take5 Remixer, a kind of portable music remixer that looked like a 1980s calculator. Touted as the first-ever packaging in the United States to use conductive ink to generate music on the spot, the remixer offered five rows of three buttons capable of producing more than 30,000 unique sound combinations that could be channeled through built-in speakers.


Transparent Screens

Frameless OLED Exhibit

Frameless Clear OLED Screens are Popping Up Everywhere

If you’re looking for a bit of exhibit wow factor, transparent screens might be the way to go. They’re one of those magical products that blow your mind the first time you see them. In essence, a transparent screen is exactly what it sounds like. If you took a desktop monitor for your computer, stripped off the entire back, and made the screen see-through, you’d have a transparent display. And this is essentially what manufacturers have done, leaving the viewer with a liquid-crystal display screen, which is a slightly shaded but mostly transparent sheet of plastic with thin metal edges.

The visual effect of these screens is enough to make most people stop and stare, but the really cool applications are still in the works. For example, various manufacturers are working on cloaking systems that turn other products into monitors. For example, what if the whole side wall in your booth were actually a transparent computer screen?

Bottom line, transparent screens offer exhibitors a wow factor that may add a cutting-edge feel to your space. In the right situations, they can provide a unique, interactive presentation canvas that will attract far more attention than any opaque monitor.


Curved Displays

Curved LED Wall Exhibit

Walls like the curved LED screen pictured have become increasingly popular

Concave, curved screens aren’t exactly new to consumers, but they’re relatively new in the exhibiting world, where they can offer a unique effect. When multiple curved displays are lined up next to each other on a custom mounting system, the long, gentle curve with high-definition graphics really stands out.

The effect is eye-catching in itself, but it’ll also draw further attention to your content, which does not have to be specially produced for these displays. Plus, synchronizing multiple videos across numerous side-by-side screens is a simple process these days, and the effect creates a stunning visual within almost any space.

New technology trends in trade shows are now at exhibitors’ fingertips. It’s often easy to get caught up in the search for the newest and biggest gadget. But remember that anything you add to your booth should tie strongly to your message, your product, or your company.   Context is key to leaving a memorable experience that last longer than a memorable moment.  Integrating an interactive using any of these technologies will catch attendees eyes for a memorable moment, but making it fit within the context of a new marketing launch, or brand experience gets people to relate to your offerings and make it a memorable experience worth the investment.




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