Taking Trades Shows to The Next Level from 2020 on With Location Technology

From the Mobile World Congress in Spain to the Himms Conference in the USA to the East China Import and Export Commodity Fair, trade shows and exhibitions have been canceled and others postponed due to the fallout of the novel Coronavirus pandemic. As countries slowly open their economies, UFI has published a global planning framework guideline for reopening exhibitions and B2B trade events. The guidance, which was put together by event organizers, venues, contractors, and destinations, offers a whole range of recommendations for creating a safe and controlled environment. The framework gives authorities the confidence to allow exhibitions to reopen based on the assured implementation of agreed health and safety standards. 

  • Foot Traffic
  • Indoor Navigation
  • Asset Tracking

    Over the years, trade shows have grown to be the places where tens of thousands of buyers and sellers converge into controlled spaces to discuss problems, solutions, pricing, and aspirations associated with brands. The success of trade fairs is determined by human capability in regards to the maximum number of meaningful exchanges you had with qualified buyers and the ability to convince potential buyers to purchase your products. Technology has been and continues to be a deal maker in trade exhibitions. It will continue to make a major impact on events involving huge crowds due to the safety parameters to be maintained at these events. Real-time location tracking technology makes it possible for event organizers to measure the effectiveness of the different components that make up an event.

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    By adopting location-tracking technology in your trade fairs, you will be able to understand the behaviors of all participants well enough to facilitate better business connections. Success based on the number of people who visited your booth, being able to maintain safety guidelines, guided indoor navigations and successfully tracking your assets after the event are key metrics. Below are some of the ways that location tracking technology will help trade fairs and exhibitions in the post-COVID19 reopening.

    1.   Foot Traffic

    Bluetooth Low Energy tracking technology has been deployed in trade fairs and exhibitions through stationary transmitters that are placed in specific locations throughout the exhibition floors. These transmitters replace badges and scanners that have been used over the years to estimate metrics. Attendees will be required to download and run the mobile event app that will be connected to the receiver to receive real-time tracking information. Alternatively, due to the complexities involved in convincing attendees to download the app, BLE beacon tags embedded in their wearable badges can be used. A network of BLE readers will then be deployed throughout the exhibition areas to capture and store attendee data that will help you measure the success metrics, including the peak traffic hours, wait time, traffic flow, and occupancy rates.

    • Counting: Determining the number of people who visited your booth at an exhibition is a key decision metric to be used by your company in the event planning processes. While it has always been easy for people to record their information while visiting your booth, it will be difficult for people to share writing materials due to the fear of COVID19. Beacons will enable you to gather information on the number of people attending the event and view their profiles in real-time.
    • Traffic Flow: Accurate trade show foot traffic makes a difference for sponsors and vendors agreeing to spend their marketing dollars on your business. Being able to measure the foot traffic flow is essential, as you will be able to know the number of people who visited your booth during the event.
    • Wait Time: One of the things that attendees hate most during trade fairs is waiting in long queues to register themselves and access the venue. This has been made effortless by Bluetooth beacons that speed up the check-in process. You can deploy beacons at the entrance of your event and use them to send QR codes to the attendee’s event app for easy check-in.
    • Occupancy: With access to real-time statistics, beacons will help you in reaching the maximum number of attendees your venue can accommodate, taking into account the social distancing parameters in place. This will help you in maintaining the maximum occupancy levels for people to network and remain safe. Moreover, you will get alerts about locations that are overcrowded and prone to security breaches.
    • Rush hours: Location data can provide visual representations of higher traffic times. This helps you establish the rush hours and ensure specific products and product information is available at these hours to reach a large customer base.

    2.   Indoor Navigation

    It is never easy to find your way around large and confusing hallways hosting numerous exhibitors and gastronomy areas at trade fairs, in spite of the hall plans. Exhibitors are confronted with the problems of easily losing sight of their stand personnel and have problems locating their employees under time pressures.
    Indoor navigation with location-tracking technology offers decisive advantages for exhibitions that are dependent on high accuracy. Bluetooth Low Energy beacons are installed throughout the exhibition grounds to help the trade fair visitors’ smartphones to receive Bluetooth signals from the beacons and use a signal strength measurement for positioning, which serves as a basis for indoor guidance. The navigation system is a versatile concept for determining your attendees’ positions, the specific locations of your products in your booth, the various floors in the exhibition venue, etc. The user is guided from their current location to the desired destination through a turn-by-turn navigation. For instance, attendees are directed through navigations to a session that is about to commence on the next floor while they network. This is a great way to foster engagement among attendees while ensuring they get the most out of the event.
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    3.   Asset Tracking

    For decades, exhibitors have relied on a manual checklist to inventory their assets before and after a trade fair event. In some instances, you may report the loss of assets including booth parts and components and other inventory during the event, which is an additional cost to your company when replacing these assets. While asset tracking can be time-consuming and expensive, location tracking technology offers an alternative method of keeping track of all your assets thus maximizing asset control efficiency and minimizing equipment loss. Furthermore, you can track the location of assets as they arrive at the venues, especially if you are dealing with sensitive assets. Bluetooth technology helps in tracking both movable and immovable assets at the event and will help you keep track of the location of these assets before and after the event.
    BLE beacons use wireless technology where they are attached to assets and IoT gateways to help find the location information of assets and show the real-time location of the assets within the floor plan setting. Simon AI’s Search & Find provides a dashboard for system administration and management where you can commence your set-up procedure. You can place the BLE gateways on each floor in a grid pattern to maintain a regular power outlet and upload the floor plan on the dashboard for tracking of the assets.
    One major advantage of Bluetooth asset tracking technology is that you can design the whole system to suit your needs and budget. You can create a system that will track assets indoors automatically with minimal human participation. You may also reduce your costs by combining QR and barcodes on your assets with Bluetooth beacons to locate the position of all your assets. With the advanced BLE beacons, you will not only track your assets but also capture the physical conditions and create an automated system of IoT with your assets during the exhibition.

    4.   Safety

    Given the global dynamics of coronavirus after lifting the stay at home measures, contact tracing will be a key aspect in ensuring social distancing and safety standards in trade fairs and exhibitions. You will need automated feedback from the attendees without direct interactions as a measure of ensuring minimum physical contact with people. Location tracking technology makes these efforts possible through tags and ultra-wideband signals to track attendee locations during the trade fair event. When social distancing parameters are violated including the 1-2 meter radius distance, the tag alarm alerts you and persons in violation of the parameters.
    RTLS technology from uses badge-based technology to track the location of each visitor, recording whether they have maintained proper social distancing parameters. The historical data collected and recorded will allow for accurate contact tracing. In the event that any of the attendees shows symptomatic signs of the infection, the COVID19 Contact Tracker Webapp will be able to locate the contacts of all the persons in the event as they would be at risk of exposure to the disease.
    Equipping your visitors with smart badges when checking in will help you to define geo-fenced areas within the exhibition floor, allowing you to set maximum occupancy and to monitor the area to avoid overcrowding at any given time. It will also enhance the setting up of geo-fence hand washing stations and track the amount of time spent at a particular point in case of an emergency.


    As the global economy gradually reopens, it is time to rethink and reshape events that attract huge crowds. As you plan to reopen your facilities and host trade fairs and exhibitions, it is important to ensure that your facility is safe for occupancy. Location tracking technology will make it possible for you to automate event services from automatic check-ins, navigation, asset tracking, and contact tracing. Contact us today for more information on how to deploy indoor location services in your facility.

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