Trade Show Forecast: Experiential with an Abundance of New Tech!

November 6, 2018

Lauren Berbarian

Lauren Berbarian is the Events Specialist with EMC Outdoor. With over a decade of experience supporting events and trade shows, Lauren has coordinated programs of all shapes and sizes including grassroots nonprofit events, international product launches, road shows, trade shows and multi-platform OOH campaigns. 

We are certainly living in an interesting time, especially when it comes to connecting people to products on the trade show floor. By nature, human beings need to feel part of something bigger, engaged with our surroundings, communities, nature and products. This physical engagement enhanced by technology in the tradeshow environment can have an enormous impact on how attendees experience a brand. It can result in a lifelong relationship of loyalty, awareness and trust toward that brand.

A recent study from Bizzabo shows that most trade show marketers see ROI from events that utilize technology to engage with their audience. According to the report, 80 percent of marketers believe live events are critical to their company’s success and that events are the most effective method for promoting a brand or product, at 31 percent. Additionally, 86 percent of event marketers believe that technology can have a major positive impact on the success of their events (

Integrated Experiential Exhibit Technology – or IEET, as I like to call it – allows an audience to interact and have a profound multi-sensory experience with a brand or product. Worlds collide when a captivating exhibit space employs experiential marketing with an element of technology. It creates a perfect storm of deep engagement. The more marketers embrace IEET, the more it can transform the way audiences see, hear, feel and experience the world.

 Enhanced Virtual Reality

Imagine having the ability to virtually pickup objects and examine small grooves, textures and contours. Well, HaptX Inc. has been pioneering this technology and taking VR to a whole new “world!” The HaptX Gloves allow a user to actually “feel” with over 100 points of high-displacement tactile feedback, up to five pounds of resistance per finger and sub-millimeter precision motion tracking (

Disney recently came out with a haptic jacket, called “Force Jacket.” It comprises 26 miniature airbags connected to tubes and sensors that inflate to generate a sensation. The user can feel a snow ball hit or a bug crawl up their arm. The technology will allow brands to add to their trade show campaign with a fully sensational VR experience (

Hologram Technology

Startup hi-tech companies all over the world are developing their version of hologram technology. A company out of London called Kino Mo is making some huge waves with Hypervsn. It’s a device made of spinning, LED-covered arms that delivers unique and immersive 3D visuals in midair. It can handle fast creative customization, perform real-time content scheduling, synchronize with multiple units, be remotely managed and gather impression data.

Hologram technology is proving to be fully interactive, too, with the added component of experiential gaming. VNTANA has created a lightweight, interactive platform designed to give trade show attendees a realistic brand experience. Lexus uses the technology at auto-conventions to give consumers a fun, interactive experience while capturing lead data in a CRM system. It gives marketers endless brand interaction capabilities, personal connection and critical audience data capture (

Conductive Electric Paint

Last year, Toshiba Global exhibited at the 2017 National Retail Federation Expo with conductive electric paint to unveil Brilliant Commerce, a new shopping and check out experience. The installation drew-in onlookers to interact with the life cycle of the new, innovative experience. Enticing copy and graphics encouraged the guests to touch the walls, revealing a delightful array of hidden messages! An entire story appeared, simply with the touch of the user’s fingertips, resulting in an abundance of multi-sensory experiences. This technology can even be integrated with other media solutions, like projection mapping, audio and beautifully executed visuals.

A study from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) says that 92 percent of trade show attendees go to see and learn about what’s new in products, services and technology. This positions IEET on the cusp of a futuristic frontier, poised to reach an eager audience. It’s redefining how we reach a captive trade show audience and have a global impact. The virtual and augmented worlds are innovating new markets, bringing value to products and brands, and introducing a new environment for real-world consumerism. These disruptive technologies are creating multi-sensory experiences that elevate engagement with audiences, forging trusting relationships with brands and changing how we communicate. They’re increasing the power of an impression far beyond the trade show floor.


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