Technology that Creates an Interactive Experience

June 13, 2013

Oliver Richardson

Oliver Richardson is Sales and Marketing Director of DB Systems - a global audio-visual supplier to the events industry - and DBpixelhouse, creators of innovative media and interactive software for events.

In recent years, the expectation for events to be more interactive, collaborative and participatory rather than simply passive experiences has increased dramatically and technology is playing a major role in helping planners achieve this – from the noise created by social media before, during and after an event to technologies which enable the audience to engage more actively with the content and with each other.

I wanted to share some cool technology ideas that can help you make your event or your participation in an event more interactive and therefore more engaging:

Mobile Augmented Reality

We’ve used AR on a number of projects to help bring a technology or product to life with overlaid animations and graphics which interact with the product and respond to a visitor’s information requirements.  Mobile AR takes this a step further by delivering an interesting and interactive personal experience direct to a visitor’s palm.  Visitors simply point their phone screen at a static product and it is transformed into an animated or informative experience.  What’s more - if the AR content is funny and entertaining it’s a powerful way to make visitors want to share what they’ve seen, further spreading the word.  Check out this cool Tedx example:

Triggered Technologies

Light, sound, video and special effects can all be good attention-grabbers, and even more so when triggered by a particular visitor action, like walking past a certain spot, or getting a basketball in a net. Triggered tech can transform an exhibition stand into a real attraction, making visitors want to “come and have a go”.  You can create a responsive floor which changes scene as someone walks through it –a winter wonderland changes to spring as the visitor walks across it.  Or answering a question sets off a series of special effects.  For real impact, it’s great to relate the effects to an exhibitors products – for example on an aerospace tradeshow, we’ve combined noise and sound effects to mimic the starting of a jet engine as people walk past a certain point – which is a great attention grabber.

Minority-report style Touchscreens and Holoscreens

Today’s toddlers are swiping and screen-pinching their books, wondering why the intuitive movements of the ipad and iphone don’t work on the rest of the world.  Touchscreen have firmly established themselves as a must-have at events and exude a sexy slickness which set any presentation apart.  Semi-transparent holoscreens have a particularly sci-fi feel to them, tapping into the uber-cool high tech world of comic book heroes and the recent Iron Man movies.  They can be used to jazz up presentations and encourage visitors to interact and get involved – for example, you might project the schematic of a building onto a holoscreen which users can then delve into.

Interactive Product Reveals

The availability of new totally see-through screens has enabled us to develop a wide range of solutions for clients which really help sex-up product reveals.  At one event, visitors were sent a USB stick and invited to bring it along and plug it in at the trade show stand to see the latest launch of a new technology product– plugging in the USB triggered a video animation sequence which culminated in the product suddenly appearing as if by magic in what had previously appeared to be a black box. This is a particularly powerful and slick solution for jazzing up products that just don’t display well at trade shows!


Interactive Projection Mapping


There have been some amazing uses of projection mapping technology recently, with stunning results.  Projection mapping basically enables you to turn any object, building or vehicle into a projection environment, with the projection mapping and mimicking the object outline, resulting in some very clever optical illusions.  This technology can be combined with infra-red sensors to make it interactive and responsive.  We’ve used this technology to create amazing projections which are, in part, triggered and controlled by a visitor’s movements – they love the responsiveness and it quickly builds a crowd.

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Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: