The Future of Trade Shows

By | November 12, 2011

Since as far back as the middle ages, trade shows and exhibitions have been a key part of the free market economy. Serving as a great opportunity for companies to showcase their latest services, these events can benefit and inspire businesses and the general public alike through their interactive nature and the opportunity they allow for visitors to see new and exciting business innovations.

Having been a popular marketing tool for so long and being widely implemented since the 1900s, one might wonder what trade shows of the future might hold. As advancements in the digital age continue to evolve and deepen, here’s a look at what might be in store:


Pop up Displays

A common sight at a trade show is that of products on display along with the relevant information. This might be through a company representative who engages with interested parties, giving presentations from accompanying product literature. To aid with such presentations, it’s not hard to imagine things like electronic pop up banners that can display the relevant information related to the product or service, before returning to the company’s logo/core message after the presentation is finished. When in ‘default’ mode, the stands could display relevant information to passers-by, perhaps triggered by a motion sensor.


Interactive Programs

Along the same lines as electronic banner stands but slightly more involving in terms of giving information, there are already interactive programs that allow trade show visitors to search through company and product information using a computer. This is similar to what one might find in museums and other such arenas, but technological advancements open the door to numerous innovative features that could make for a more integrated and enjoyable user experience. Intuitive motion sensors, as seen in consumer electronics such as XBOX Kinect, could provide potential customers with a fun way of finding out more about a company, as could 3D representations of products that ‘jump out’ of the computer to give an idea of what to expect.


Holographic Product Displays

Holograms are virtual 3D displays that can be viewed from all angles just like a real 3D object. These are not to be confused with 3D video, which only appear to be 3 dimensional. Holograms occupy space in such a way that is incredibly convincing to the viewer dimensionally, though one can put their hand right through one. In future tradeshows, this technology could be used to showcase new products or services, seemingly appearing out of thin air in front of spectators at a click of a button or through a motion prompt. During a product display, holographic video sequences could show what exactly the product offers, leaping around the viewer/s when prompted to do so.


Company Representatives

One possibility might even be interactive, holographic company representatives with the purpose of describing a company’s products and services in more detail. With voice recognition technology constantly on the advance, these virtual presenters could one day answer the audience’s questions regarding specific products and services.

It’s clear to see how simple digital enhancements in information presentation can move more in the direction of ‘virtual reality’ as greater technological savvy is introduced. The merging of the information age with the physicality of products could eventually produce more of an interface between the two ‘realms’ so that their services and their information will essentially become interchangeable. This considered, trade shows of the future might very well evolve into virtual reality festivals for the commercial sector.


It isn’t hard to see how what begins as simple digital enhancements in information presentation can move in a “virtual reality” direction as greater and greater technological savvy is introduced. The merge of the information age with the real physicality of products and services will produce more of an interface between these two “realms” so that the products and their information will become, in some senses, more interchangeable. Trade shows may thus in the future become something more along the lines of virtual reality festivals in the commercial sector.


About the guest post author: Dane Cross is a UK based freelance writer currently writing on behalf of Marler Haley, suppliers of exhibition and banner stands.