Category

Exhibits

Empathy, Emotion and Technology with Purpose…For the Win!

By | Audience Engagement, Audience Response, Brand Experience, Breakout Sessions, Design Thinking, Education, Engagement, Event highlights, Event Trends, Exhibits, Expo, Freeman Face to Face blog, Hot Technology, News, Photos, Scenic Design, Video walls

A Look at the 2019 Edition of South by Southwest in Austin, Texas

When people hear South By Southwest mentioned, they typically think of the music festival founded in 1987, however over its 30+ years, it has grown to encompass many more attractions than just the grass-roots music festival that it was once intended to be. Also known as “South By,” SXSW now includes an interactive media conference, a huge variety of education sessions and music, gaming and film festivals. Lasting for almost 3 weeks, South By sees nearly 80,000 people attend the various conferences and festivals, also bringing nearly $350 million dollars of economic impact to Austin, Texas.

Several members of our Freeman AV Canada team traveled down to Austin, Texas in March to see what South By had to offer, and here are some key things that stood out!

Focused on Improving the Attendee Experience

As conventions and festivals grow in size they often develop a detached feeling for the individual attendee, and rightfully so; how do you create an individual and personal experience for each person when dealing with 80,000+ attendees?

South By has employed several empathy tactics to help connect with attendees on a personal level. Creating spaces such as a Wellness Areas, focusing on attendee’s safety through the use of holding graphics in sessions and implementing live breakout room capacity monitoring via public boards and the conference app are all fantastic ways to show your attendees that you really are thinking about their experience.

The Future Understands You 

Several major technology players including LG and Sony were showcasing futuristic concepts that can actually understand what you are feeling. Whether it is small robots that greet you while reading your facial expressions to understand your needs, or a mini robot dog that can really tug on our need for companionship and do it strategically 😉, it’s all exciting to us! Then we got thinking, and these questions arose:

  • What will this mean for events of the future?
  • Will we have event signage that customizes messages based on your feelings and needs?
  • Will we have event experiences that change based on the collective heart rate of the audience?
  • Can you imagine the possibilities?

Let us know how you see this fitting into your event!

Something For Everyone 

South By can certainly say they have something for everyone, with nearly 300 sessions per day, variety is in no short supply. Fortunately, the conference app allows you to search by things like interests to help focus on what applies directly to you. Smart event planning also meant that most sessions in the same track resided in the same or adjacent venues. This allowed you to maximize your time especially when sessions are held in basically every venue in the city. Some of the key tracks that our team focused on where: Cities, Government & Politics, Coding & Development, Design, Experiential Storytelling, Food, Game Design & Development, Intelligent Future, Social & Global Impact, Tech Industry & Enterprise, Touring & Live Experience and VR/AR/MR.

Standing Out – Brands Creating Their Own Spaces

Major brands are always looking for that way to make them stand out from the crowd. Over the last several years the tool for this has been activations, and South By was no exception to this. From shipping container structures, to bars completely transformed into a brand experience space – these installations truly do provide a unique personalized experience that focus directly on the brands defining traits and characteristics.

Some highlights for our team were the Dell installation at a bar across the street from the Austin Convention Centre, featuring an outdoor main stage and an indoor Dell feature tour showcasing some of their key technologies.

LG also made a big splash at South By, but perhaps we won’t see the ripple from the splash for a few years as their activation was VERY future focused. Robots that know your feelings, roll-up LED displays, ice cream/frozen yogurt capsule machines and even capsule based home breweries; LG certainly took us for a quick ride in a time machine to the maybe not so distant future. We even noticed several brands create impactful, personal activations right in the convention space and we see this as a great opportunity for a lot of our corporate clients looking to get a personalized message across to their attendees in a more personalized manner than typical plenary setups can offer.

DELL Technologies Activation

LG Electronics Activation

The common threads of Empathy, Emotion, Personalized Experience and Technology with a Purpose were evident in all aspects of this show. What can you do to create a more personalized experience within your next event? Understanding who comes to your event and why they are there are key factors to help you tailor your event to meet your attendees needs and wants. Taking the time to plan out the details, brainstorm them with your colleagues and/or industry partners will help you focus on what’s important. Creating those personalized experiences provides better value and meaningful interactions from live events for your attendees. So we ask you, “are you helping connect people in meaningful ways?”

Author
Brian Johnston
Freeman Audio Visual Canada
National Director, Creative Innovation

CES 2019 Trends and Innovative Tech

By | Audience Engagement, Audience Response, Audio, Brand Experience, Creative Services, Design Thinking, Digital Signage, Education, Engagement, Event Trends, Exhibits, Expo, Industry News, News, Product Review, Touchscreens, Trade Shows

CES 2019 Trends and Innovative Tech

By Victor Paan

National Director, Digital Innovation

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) provided a scope and scale of technology that had a common thread. Ai and 5G provided the foundation that powers smarter TVs, smarter homes, smarter cities, and the vehicles that will navigate them. The future is here. Below are a few of the biggest trends we noticed at this year’s CES.

Screens: Flat, Roll-up and Holographic Displays

A few of the trends we observed when it came to screens included the roll-up OLED screen that, not unlike Saran Wrap, rolls up and back into a long rectangular box. Its pure futuristic eye candy design holds promise for live event activations as it’s space efficient, easily portable, and overall awe inspiring technology.

Mostly every brand that offers flat panel displays on the show floor featured 8K LED screens. These screens have beautiful detail and colour that would allow PIPs over High Res backgrounds to be displayed at a high resolution, whether 4K content or HD 1080 content.

Although not something that is defined as a ‘screen’, HYPERVSN’s 3D Holographic Display System provided a wow-factor via their new LED rotor units.  Upgraded in size and framerate, the new units are breathtaking and provide an extremely crisp hologram.  A showstopper.  Along with a new customer portal to easily turn 2D content into 3D content for these displays, makes jumping onboard with this technology an easy uptake.

Headset advancements and eye tracking

A much subdued presence at CES this year.  Some headset advancements of note are to do with ocular tracking.  The HTC Vive Pro Eye adds eye tracking that allows users to control in-game experiences using eye-movements.  This also allows developers to track what users are attracted to and spending time looking at within an experience, providing user data that can enhance future development of products/designs through the VR tech.

To take this further, the company responsible for developing the aforementioned eye tracking, Tobii allows for this type of eye movement capture for any digital assets seen on a screen.  Stakeholders can obtain data on user’s habits as to what they focus on during a browse of a soon-to-be-launched website or service.

Compounding this, and providing a use case for the events industry, is the ability for individuals to wear glasses that track what an attendee’s eyes are drawn to while, say, walking an exhibit floor or a creative staging setup.  This data can provide insights towards best practices on brand and design elements; honing the process in how designers deliver on realized projects.

Ai (and the IoT) in action!

If VR & AR were the buzzwords of recent years past, Ai was the newly crowned monarch of CES 2019.  Everything from TVs that ascertain what you are watching and adjust picture and sound settings to match the experience, to smart home appliances powered by your favourite voice assistant that communicate and learn together, Ai was everywhere.  The real shift in the idea of what Ai means to the masses is that no longer are we expected to adapt to the technology, rather, the technology is shifting to a model that adapts itself to each of us and the context of our experiences.

Robotics, from a concierge standpoint, remained stagnant for the most part.  Designs felt either overly stylized (read ‘cute’) or were downright creepy. The rush towards 5G connectivity is absolutely being driven by the onset of Ai and the Internet of Things.  All of this connectivity will only benefit from the accelerated speeds and bandwidth of 5G… which is really what the hype is all about; more things online, faster!

Author
Victor Paan
Freeman Audio Visual Canada
Director of Digital Services

Victor Paan is Director of Digital Services for Freeman Audio Visual Canada. Since joining Freeman in 2002, Victor has worked diligently for his clients, advancing his career from a delivery technician role to his current position as the Director of Digital Services. In this capacity, he draws on his technical and sales experience to support Freeman’s teams and clients in integrating state-of-the-art event solutions that will transform, grow, and extend the world of live engagements.

Behind the Scenes at ExhibitorLive with Freeman

By | Event highlights, Exhibits, Freeman, FreemanXP, Interesting Articles, Trade Shows

Alison Jenks, SVP, Marketing, FreemanXP

Published by (pictured) on March 11, 2015 

Freeman is well known for helping our clients design and build their own exhibit programs, as well as manage all the logistics of some of the most complex events in the world. So, it’s no surprise that when it comes to our own exhibit program, we engage a proven protocol. At last week’s ExhibitorLive event, we approached the program just like we would a client’s program, with our strategy, creative, design, build, AV and marketing teams all working collaboratively to deliver a great booth experience. We received great engagement across all three days on the show floor, with a lot of attendees stopping to take photos of the booth and interacting with our teams and technologies. We had a lot of clients ask us: “How did you approach your own experience?” Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at Freeman’s experience at ExhibitorLive.

Read more here: http://blog.freemanco.com/blog/2015/03/11/behind-the-scenes-at-exhibitorlive-with-freeman/