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Three Technology Trends at Trade Shows

March 31, 2020

Just when you’ve purchased and acclimated to the latest, greatest new innovation in technology – BOOM! – a new trend comes on the scene and your technology is old news. Because of the ever-changing nature of technology (and remember, this is a GOOD thing! We want to be improving and growing!), trade show managers can be hesitant to get on board with the latest hot item. But just imagine if we’d resisted such early innovations as badge scanners or marketing automation software – technology that has vastly improved the trade show experience. The trick is to pump the brakes on the here-today-gone-tomorrow trends and to rev up to the ones with staying power. Pay attention to these three advancements in trade show technology that are sure to be around for many, many years.


Facial recognition software is already popular around the globe, but it hasn’t quite swept the trade show business. YET. Promising to revolutionize check-in at shows by speeding up the process and matching attendees to their itineraries, it also eliminates bulky ticket scanners, kiosks, and wearables. It can provide demographic data like age and gender. It can match image captures with social media profiles. Most people are already accustomed to being tracked by facial recognition software because they’ve used it to manage their photos in Google, their pictures on social media, or their security on their smartphones. As a matter of fact, facial recognition software has largely been used for security in the past. Even Target stores employ this method of tracking customers and alerting store management to return shoplifters. In Washington DC, someone using a forged passport was caught when facial recognition software couldn’t match his face with the passport photo. Read about it here. Finally, click here to read about how China is utilizing this technology at a whole new level. Be on the lookout for facial recognition software to make its way onto the convention floor in years ahead.


Originally considered a low-tech, long-lasting, low-cost way to manage the lighting in your booth. LED lighting is now the centerpiece in many booths. Skyline has cornered the market on utilizing LED lighting in and around your booth. They can build entire exhibits using LED technology. One example is projection mapping, which uses LEDs to create 3D displays by projecting an image onto a wall or other surface. Projection mapping works well in the trade show world because you can change your booth up easily from season to season or even from show to show. Entire systems can be built with LEDs, motors, and truss systems to create dynamic moving light sculptures that are mesmerizing and impressive. Even the more elaborate builds will become increasingly more affordable as they grow in popularity at events.


Listen up. You’re going to be hearing about this a lot. Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it to learn for themselves. Unlike previous technology that needed to be programmed in order to complete/compute a task, machine learning is intuitive and “smart.” A subset of AI, it’s long been impacting industries where success is linked to future outcomes, such as precision agriculture and improving patient health. Trade show marketers should pay attention because machine learning is good for far more than just collecting and analyzing data; it can actually gather, sort, and PREDICT information about your prospects and target audience.

Technology will continue to flood the market and probably overwhelm us. And it’s unlikely that any one piece of it will be THE PIECE that we can rest forever on. But if you want to make smart tech choices, you need to understand what’s coming and how to use it. Knowledge is power.

This article was inspired by "Three Trade Show Technology Trends" by Jeff McGrath, and first appeared at www.skyline-etips.com/

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