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Tradeshow Technology: The Art of the Absurd

Just read at exhibitoronline.com: “Harborside Interactive’s Sync3 Raises Level of Interaction Between Trade Show Exhibitors and Attendees”

Okay, cool. Is it some app that shares contact information with a wave of  the hand? Is it some wireless signal that is sent to every attendee’s phone inviting them to a panel discussion? No and no. It’s a software platform that synchronizes multiple tablet computers, enabling attendees to watch the same video at the same time without having to be together.

Does anyone else see a problem with this?

The purpose of tradeshows is to meet with vendors, prospects and clients FACE TO FACE. However, it seems that some tech companies are working hard to remove the faces from the equation. So now, instead of talking with your prospect about your new product, you can just send all of them a video. Great idea! (from the ’90s) I think that’s called an e-mail blast… and you all don’t have to be in the same convention hall to do that.

If this sort of technological progression persists, there will be no need for tradeshows or conferences of any kind. Come to think of it, we won’t need to speak to anyone at all!

“This technology allows exhibitors to reach their audience in two ways,” said Anthony Cutrone, President of Harborside Interactive. “Users can ‘passively’ watch a beautifully rendered video or interactive game displayed on the iPad array, or they can ‘actively’ use a single tablet for deeper connection to the exhibitor’s products or message. With either method, we are improving the ways an exhibitor can touch the targeted audience within the increasingly competitive trade show environment.”

Oh, I get it now. I can watch the video at the same time as everyone else, but by myself, or I can go to a web site and surf the products and services by myself. Wait– why exactly did I come to this conference…?

This “invention” is akin to that really cool thing on your smart phone that changes your text into a sound file and sends it to the recipient. What a great advancement in personal communication! Newsflash: They came out with that in the ’80s. It’s called VOICE MAIL.

On the other hand, it could be used to notify attendees of an impending demonstration or raffle (for instance) at your booth, leading to a larger crowd. Then, you would have the opportunity for greater personal contact. Perhaps I’m just being cynical and expecting people to use it for passive, impersonal contact.

Technology is supposed to make our lives better, not suck the humanity out of them! Doubtless, many companies will dedicate a portion of their tradeshow budgets on new technology. Me? I still recommend talking to the people in the booths about their products or services.

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