Exhibitions and Virtual Reality
Except you are not from this world or you are stuck somewhere in a million years back, then you will know that pone of the hottest pieces of technology right now is Virtual Reality. To further buttress this fact, the big guns are diving into it. Headline companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Sony and Samsung are taking the frontline already followed by a long line up of fast-moving aggressive companies.
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It is being projected that the market would hit $150 billion by 2020 and wild as that may sound, that figure is most likely being set by investors who are neck deep in the sector. It has been observed that the exhibition industry and its exhibitors do not waste time in jumping on the bandwagon of trending things.
Not that it is a bad thing, it is just basic psychology. Exhibiting companies assume that by being in tune with trending things on their exhibition stands it sends a message to visitors that they share similar forward thinking and innovative values as the tech they are using. They are right but that only works very well when they are the only ones doing it.
Unlike all the other trends and gadgets that exhibitors utilize to engage the visitors, VR is the sole one that has an underlying benefit to exhibiting. Virtual reality unlike others has the capability to massively bring down the cost of exhibiting.
Some exhibitors put their exhibitions in one headset, thereby putting themselves at a disadvantage when the technology improves in the next five years that could only add to the woes of organisers who are already suffering from decreasing mean stand size. Exhibitors who have large stands to display products would then have more options. Think of sectors like materials handling, printing, infrastructure and construction.
VR slightly differs in so many good ways that it can improve human experience and for proactive organisers it could also affect the revenue model in a modest way especially for suppliers who are investing heavily in digital content.
It has been demonstrated well enough in the way the exhibition industry has fared well against similar commercial threats like the internet that technology can’t fully replace human experience. For suppliers, in terms of new shows and formats, maybe they should just consider the options and walk away from the SQM revenue model that has served us well for so long.