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When Technology Fails!

Tanya Pinchuk, CEO at ExpoPlatform, says that shows working across various digital platforms impacts on the visitor.

A few weeks ago, one of our partners participated in an exhibition where their team faced a common problem that occurs at many shows across the world. Days before the show, they had to register and fill out company details and other information in six different systems.

The exhibitor was determined to get the most out of the show, but it was difficult to keep track of the different systems in place, as well as the submission deadlines. Each of the systems that required this information was critical to having a good show, and being made visible to visitors, and included: floor plan, exhibitor manual and badges, matchmaking system, catalogue directory, parking permits, and mobile app.

The unfortunate end result was that this exhibitor had missed the deadline for submitting information for the mobile app and did not have a profile there at all. They were obviously, and rightfully, furious about the situation. Moreover, this exhibitor was not the only one to face such issues at the show.

The organiser had attracted a number of different technology partners for the event, but there was little to no exchange of data between these partners. Each of them introduced their own technology and vision to the event participants with little regard for the other systems already in place.

This is a classic scenario of when technology doesn’t work. It cannot work. There are too many hurdles for the potential user to surmount before they can even attempt to use a system.

It’s like asking people to go to ten different shops to buy ten items, rather than allowing them to get everything in one place – at some point you can’t be bothered to do a whole extra journey for just one more item.

Technology should make our event experience easier and smoother, not more complicated.

A good exhibitor and visitor experience does not only depend on the number of cool technology solutions that are in place, but also how they are connected.

If, as a visitor, I browse an exhibition website that allows me to favourite exhibitors, schedule appointments, etc, then it is obvious that all this information should also appear when I log in with the very same details into the show mobile app.

As an exhibitor, I should be able to fill in my details just once and know that this information will be propagated wherever required automatically (printed catalogue, website, app, etc.). I want to know that the people who visited my exhibitor profile online have stopped by my stand when I scan them with my lead capture tool. I want to stay in touch with my stand visitors immediately, not get a list of scans at the end of the day on a usb stick, or, god forbid, at the end of the show, as is still commonplace for many events around the world.

Technology fails when it’s not accessible. Organisers should fundamentally re-examine their approach to deploying technology shift their focus from just the “value add” to the actual experience that their participants will have.

Tanya Pinchuk

CEO at ExpoPlatform

Conference & Meeting World