Among the most welcome developments over the past several months has been the slow return of trade and industry events, which continue to recover from Covid-induced lockdowns. If the increasingly crowded calendar heading into 2022 is any indication, there is growing confidence that something like a pre-Covid schedule is possible, even under circumstances that are still less than ideal.
But while we are glad to see more of these important events as a welcome sign of a return to normality, we also know that the broader context has changed. Everyone is more conscious of the possible downsides of large gatherings and has adjusted their expectations accordingly.
When engaging with others socially, especially in larger organized events, the public is now far more sensitive to issues of health and safety. We look for signs that these concerns are being addressed in the best, most reasonable ways possible. We understand if certain measures affect the experience because we appreciate the trade-offs that have become part of modern life when it comes to keeping the risk of virus transmission to a minimum.
In short, we respect the fact that necessary safety measures are a framework that we need to work around when organizing and attending large gatherings.
This new, more careful consideration of how events are organized has put a focus on certain aspects of trade shows that were only slightly problematic then but are now seen in a much different light.
For example, whereas the inability to get a real-time overview of the occupancy level of a particular space, especially quite large ones, was previously a minor inconvenience, it is now a serious drawback in a time when fixed capacity limits are imposed due to social distancing considerations.
How can event organizers follow their own guidelines for limiting the number of people in the facility without knowing exactly how many people are there at a given time? This is something that inefficient hand-counting by manual observation cannot do at busy events, especially with multiple entrances & exits spread over a large area.
Another problem with the same root cause is not being able to quickly, safely and completely evacuate a space in case of emergency. Without visibility into the number of visitors and their location, such an evacuation necessarily involves manually searching often huge spaces in chaotic circumstances and subjecting search teams to the same dangers that caused the emergency.
Then there are other issues, like the longstanding problem of the difficulty of informing all visitors of the location of interesting, useful or necessary amenities inside the event space. Indoor navigation tools have been available for some time, but finding the best way of adapting it for a changing crowd of short-term visitors has been elusive.
The good news is that the post-Covid reset has created an opportunity to apply new solutions to pre-Covid problems. The result is tradeshows and other large gatherings that can offer a better overall visitor experience for everyone in attendance at a cost that is accessible for event organizers.
It’s based on a very, almost disposable piece of hardware that can be given away to event participants. A small, lightweight IoT-enabled bracelet is enough to connect event visitors to a network that can address a number of issues related to their safety and the experience they have.
Let’s start with insights into real-time occupancy. With live, real-time access to occupancy levels provided by connected IoT devices in the event area, organizers can easily follow guidelines for the number of visitors that should be admitted based on the area being used. This allows them to not only do the safe and responsible thing but to provide visitors with concrete assurances that measures are being taken to create the safest environment possible.
Incidentally, this tracking capability enables organizers to follow individual IoT devices without infringing on privacy. Real-world details identifying visitors do not have to be added to any particular device being used.
When it’s fast and easy for an event organizer to know how many people are in a space at any given time, that means it’s also fast and easy to know when everyone has been removed from that same space. Emergency situations are made much safer when organizers and first responders know exactly how many people are left and, even better, their precise locations, all thanks to their IoT connections.
Moving away from safety measures to the more general experience of attending a tradeshow, IoT-based solutions can add an entirely new dimension. Visitors can receive location-based messaging informing them about points of interest, alerts regarding the beginning of special events, information about where to find points of interest, promotional offers from exhibitors and more.
Many of the short-term solutions that were developed to help mitigate the effects of the pandemic are finding long-term applications in a number of settings. Tradeshows and other large professional gatherings can now be managed in a way that follows safety precautions while at the same time delivering the capability to enhance the visitor experience with enriched guidance and information.
Kontakt.io is a leader in delivering digital building services that are people-focused. Our solutions have the lowest total cost of ownership, support all use cases, and have the most reliable and accurate data on the market.
If you’re planning on organizing a trade show or industry event and want to discover how easily and affordably you can upgrade the visitor experience to post-Covid expectations, contact us today.
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