Using Tablets, RFID, and Social Media to Build an Intelligent Trade Show and Conference

This is the second of two posts on the topic of “Using New Tech Tools to Organize ‘Intelligent’ Events,” debuting at IAEE’s Expo! Expo! on Thursday, December 8, 2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Rich data and analytics flow naturally in and around trade shows and conferences. Show organizers view booth sales activity and session evaluations on tablets. Conference managers use RFID to track attendee behavior and preferences. Attendees tweet and post about the event on social networking platforms. Imagine a “world” where all of the data was captured and synthesized into user-friendly reports. It’s possible within the framework of an intelligent event. Here’s a more in-depth look at some of the ways to capture valuable business intelligence.

Using tablets to monitor booth sales

This past year, trade show organizers began using iPads as mobile booth space allocation tools. Rather than scheduling times for exhibitors to come to the sales office during the show, the organizer brings the sales office to the exhibitor via an online, real-time platform served up on a tablet. The practice has resulted in more at-show sales. It can also be used as part of an intelligent show strategy: organizers can view the pace at which sales are progressing, compare booth sales in the current year to the previous year, extrapolate the satisfaction levels of current exhibitors (happy exhibitors re-sign first), and see patterns emerge around new show features.

Using tablets to analyze lead activity across the show floor

Show organizers can also access platforms, via tablets or online, which allow them to view the number of leads being generated by individual exhibitors in real time. The reports can reveal which exhibitors are having the most or least success (the latter with a greater likelihood not to return in subsequent years without intervention). Lead statistics provide show organizers with more bargaining power when negotiating future contracts and opportunities with exhibitors.

Deploying RFID to capture attendee behavior

Conference managers who utilize either enterprise RFID (overhead at session entrances) or a Tap ‘N Go system will soon learn how effective their programming and content is. When attendance numbers are compared with attendee session evaluations, a picture surfaces about the popularity and value of the speaker and the content—metrics that help in decision-making for the following year.

Using social media monitoring platforms to gauge sentiment and usage

The social media channels in and around the show are being filled (by users) with content that reflects the opinions and thoughts of exhibitors, attendees, and sponsors. By using social media monitoring tools that analyze the volume and content of the conversations, event organizers can learn more about the behaviors and preferences of their customers.

Trade show and conferences organizers have an unprecedented opportunity to learn from the rich business intelligence that is available through technology. They can understand how the event is perceived, gauge which programming is effective, obtain decision-making support, and develop data for sales to exhibitors and sponsors. Intelligent events are successful events.