• AR
  • Augmented Reality

Unlocking Potential of AR Solutions for Trade Shows

Yura Velichko
24 Sep 2021
6 min
Unlocking Potential of AR Solutions for Trade Shows

The days of conventional trade fairs and exhibitions used by businesses to promote products and services are becoming a thing of the past. Advances in technology and the COVID-19 pandemic and related social distancing requirements have prompted a spree of new solutions offering immersive experiences for the participants of trade shows. AR-powered stands, interactive tables at expo booths, 3D catalogs with product models, and totally virtual trade shows have become popular lately.

Statista’s April 2020 survey showed that about 15% of executives of US B2B exhibitions, who had to cancel events due to the pandemic, organized a virtual trade show. In June 2020, the share of virtual trade show organizers rose to 41%.

While some are eagerly taking on the new trend, others prefer a gradual transition to virtual reality by creating AR experiences at their expo booths. Both approaches offer new opportunities for businesses and enhance their marketing capabilities with AR in a number of ways. 

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    What is augmented reality?

    Augmented reality is a technology that enhances the real-world environment by placing digital information and virtual objects in it through smartphones, tablets, smart glasses, or headsets. 

    AR augments the environment around you rather than completely changing or replacing it as virtual reality does.

    The use of AR-powered solutions at trade fairs enhances visitors’ experience of products on display with the help of immersive technologies.

    How does AR work at trade fairs?

    There is more than one way to integrate AR experience into your expo booth. You can get creative about it. 

    One of the most common and affordable options is to offer visitors the option of downloading a product app powered with AR on their smartphones. This will trigger an immersive experience whenever they point their phones at specific markers placed on the stand. The information that you want to share and the number of interactions with the product through the app are limited only by your imagination and budget. The more ideas you have, the more you can create in terms of complex animated 3D models or interactive components.

    Unlocking Potential of AR Solutions for Trade Shows - photo 1

    Another way to go is to create a compound stand that will capture visitors’ movements with special cameras. You’ll need a large-format screen, a computer, and a contactless controller.  Once a person steps into the controller’s visual range, virtual objects and images will pop up on the screen enabling the person to interact with them. 

    You can also try an interactive table solution which requires equipping a stand with a large-format screen, a touch panel, a video camera, a computer, and several tablets. With the help of a touchpad a visitor can control the presentation panel and easily switch between the sections. This solution allows businesses to provide visitors to trade shows with all the necessary information about the product in an interactive way. 

    Why implement an AR experience at trade shows?

    Expos and trade fairs create a highly competitive environment where businesses compete for leads. In order to stand out, companies create fancy designs for their expo booths and treat their visitors to freebies. 

    Implementing AR at a trade show can give businesses the competitive edge needed to catch the potential customer’s eye. With the help of AR-powered tools like smart glasses, iPads, or mobile applications, exhibitors can create an immersive experience and ensure higher engagement. A 2019 report by Deloitte showed that 55% of consumers think that AR makes shopping more fun and exciting. It’s reasonable to assume that the same applies to visitor experience at expos.

    Another option that AR offers for exhibitors is an enhanced capability to educate the audience about the product history and its advanced features. That’s exactly what Toyota did when it offered an AR experience at trade shows in 2019. The renowned car manufacturer developed an ARKit-based app that used an iPad Pro camera to track the Toyota TRD Pro trucks on display at the fair. A series of hotspots were placed on the vehicle on the screen and a touchscreen allowed users to tap on each hotspot to activate custom animations that showcased the technologies that the development team had created. 

    Unlocking Potential of AR Solutions for Trade Shows - photo 2

    The AR experience also allows businesses to train potential users on how to use the product. At the international Aircraft Interiors Expo 2018 in Hamburg, Lufthansa launched an AR app showing how to put an antenna on a Boeing 737. It used a life-sized segment cutout of an aircraft fuselage combined with Wikitude’s image recognition technology to scan a marker that added a virtual 3D model of the antenna. This allowed visitors to experience and better understand the antenna installation process.

    Unlocking Potential of AR Solutions for Trade Shows - photo 3

    Another reason to try AR is that it allows businesses to cut down on shipping and installation costs for demo presentations. Giants in the car and motorbike manufacturing industry — such as Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, PureCycles, and many more — have already created 3D catalogs or AR showrooms showcasing realistic 3D models of their vehicles. 

    If you are in the jewelry business, you might also be interested in cutting down on security risks by deciding against bringing a piece that’s worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to an expo. Showcasing a 3D model of a diamond ring or a necklace in a high-quality rendering with the help of a customized 3D catalog can help to meet the needs of the most demanding clients.

    3D catalogs for virtual trade shows

    3D catalogs can help your business stand out from competitors at both offline and online events. 

    Some of the key benefits that 3D galleries offer to jewelry businesses include enhanced user engagement measures, high-quality-rendering, online and in-store sales’ growth, higher customer satisfaction, and expanded outreach capacity to potential clients.

    According to the above-mentioned Deloitte’s report, around 40% of shoppers will consider paying more for a product if they are allowed to test it through AR.

    If you are looking into the idea of participating in virtual trade shows, a 3D catalog is a must. These allow customers to scrutinize every tiny detail of the products from the comfort of their own home. 

    Unlocking Potential of AR Solutions for Trade Shows - photo 4

    What’s more, they allow users to interact with the product online. Users can zoom in and out or rotate the product for as long as they desire. Tracking such user activity also lets you see which features are of the most interest to the audience. 

    One of the best aspects of 3D catalogs for virtual trade fairs is that they require nothing more than a smartphone of potential buyers to cast a 3D model into their real environment.

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      The benefits of blending an AR experience into trade shows

      To remain ahead of the competition, businesses need to learn to adapt to changes and try innovative solutions. Blending an AR experience into trade shows offers the following benefits for businesses:

      • an enhanced opportunity to showcase product features
      • a chance to scale up showroom space
      • an opportunity to train and educate potential clients on how to use a product
      • it demonstrates the business’ competitive edge
      • it cuts down on transportation costs
      • higher user engagement through mixing virtual objects with the real environment

      Postindustria offers a full range of services to create a customized 3D catalog for your products. Contact us today to discuss a personalized solution for your business.

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