Why Technology Is the Way Forward

June 10, 2021

Angelina Lawton

Angelina Lawton has combined her passion for sports, branding, and technology to become founder and CEO of Sportsdigita. Sportsdigita has disrupted the sports industry by partnering with more than 400 clients across professional sports and enterprise with its ground-breaking interactive presentation platform, Digideck.

The concept of the traditional trade show is changing. Although the pandemic has accelerated the movement away from large in-person gatherings – or at least events that are restricted only to that format – companies continue to grow more creative in building their digital presence and enhancing their engagement with prospects at trade shows.

Trade shows are a powerful place to show your company mission, messaging and branding to an oftentimes eager audience. According to CEIR: The Changing Environment of Exhibitions, 99% of marketers ѕаіd thеу found unique value from trаdе show еxhіbіtѕ that they didn’t gеt from оthеr mаrkеtіng mеdіumѕ. And with most companies moving toward a remote format (or a hybrid approach with a remote option), technologies have now entered into the equation as an integral piece to powering a successful trade show. Many are turning to flexible technologies to power their booth experience, whether that be an on-screen virtual tour, in person and accompanied by an iPad or other devices, or some combination of the two.

“I look at it truly as an opportunity to modernize event marketing,” Mary Fehrnstrom, senior director of event marketing at Workday, told Freeman. “I mean, this really is a moment in time for us that I think we should all embrace and not be afraid of.”

Embracing technology, however, is just the first step. Landing on the right tech to tell your company’s story and convey its value to customers is critical. Trade shows play an essential role in many company’s business models, and technology’s functionality must make it easy to regularly spark new interest within a digital environment.

Urban Armor Gear is an example of a company that had to quickly pivot and become much more reliant on digital technology as a result of the pandemic. The company sells military-grade, leading-edge cases and protective equipment for electronics and relied heavily upon the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in the past to book meetings with potential buyers. They typically set some 200 meetings each year at CES.

After the event went virtual this year due to the pandemic, the Urban Armor Gear team needed to shift strategies. We teamed up with Urban Armor Gear empowering them to connect with clients and share products in a virtual, but immersive manner on any device, at any time.

A digital investment strategy for trade shows should be considered a “must-have” in this new era of business. In much the same way certain companies were slow to embrace the internet as a branding platform and marketing tool 20 years ago, the failure to develop a robust digital component for industry events today may lead to lost opportunities now and in the future.

A digital platform builds in an ease for registration and attendance that simply can’t be matched. Additionally, less paper, greater venue flexibility and fewer ancillary costs (printing, lanyards, signage) mean savings for the hosts. And because digital events require no travel or lodging and less time committed to the event overall, their reach is virtually infinite. It’s no wonder that attendance rates to trade shows are exploding.

New tech has also empowered companies to stay connected with customers and prospects through these events. Digital platforms that power trade shows harness data that would otherwise be missed. Tools that capture valuable analytics for trade events, including the contact information of viewers, the content and features from your virtual booth that resonated most with your audience, and more will be paramount in building a trade show presence that will outshine your peers.

Technology is reinventing the trade show – how they’re attended, what modern customer engagement looks like, and the measure of value to be gained by hosting or taking part in an event. Companies should not be discouraged by this trend and its implications. Instead, they should be thrilled it’s here and the robust opportunity it presents.


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Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact