How is AI Impacting the Future of Exhibitions?

Whether you’re hosting a trade show, or transforming your venue into an immersive experience, exhibitions rely on technology to get the job done. Keeping up with technological advances then, becomes a way to make sure your exhibition delivers the best possible experience for your visitors – which is where AI comes in. 

 

AI is one of the most cutting-edge technologies around, but where does it fit into the wider exhibition sphere? In this article, we’ll explain what AI is, and how it may impact your approach to exhibition planning. 

What is artificial intelligence (AI)? 

Artificial intelligence, or AI, technology is a type of computer programming that aims to teach computers how to mimic certain aspects of human behaviour. For example, one subcategory of AI, called machine-learning, is designed to solve problems using algorithms and large data-sets with the eventual aim of providing solutions without additional guidance or input from a person. 

Some of the most common AIs for more mainstream applications that you may be familiar with tend to be categorised as either predictive or generative. ChatGPT and Dall-E, two of the more popular uses of AI amongst the public, are generative AIs because they create content (like images, text, videos etc). On the other hand, predictive AIs are more frequently used in the financial sector as part of their forecasting tools, as these AIs are taught to recognise patterns and predict future behaviour based on this information. 

But whilst these are just some of the current uses of AI, this technology is continuing to grow – which means that there could be interesting developments for many industries in the future… 

AI and the future of exhibitions 

So how can AI fit into your exhibition planning? Both generative and predictive AIs are beginning to be used more creatively, which can lead to exciting new ways for you to engage visitors. 

Exhibition management 

Organising an exhibition of any kind requires a lot of planning and hard work from behind the scenes – before, during, and after the actual event has taken place. Therefore, one of the more useful elements of integrating AI into exhibitions is that it can help you manage your workload efficiently.  

Before the exhibition kicks off, you can use AI technology to automate various repetitive, and  often time-consuming, tasks. For example, AI can help you create and distribute emails or important messages, come up with marketing ideas, and even collect and interpret different data streams for you to review. By delegating a number of these jobs to AI technology, you have more time and capacity to handle important meetings (and other aspects of planning that need to be overseen by a person). 

During your exhibition, AI technology can help to streamline important processes, like registration. Facial recognition software, AI-controlled chatbots, and ticket scanning systems can help to prevent fraudulent tickets and allow visitors to enter quickly and efficiently. AIs like chatbots can also be used to solve real-time issues (as you’ll see below). 

Top tip: once your exhibition is over, you could potentially use AI technology to send out feedback and future event marketing that’s targeted to appeal to each person. 

Accessibility 

One of the most important, and interesting, aspects of using AI technology in exhibitions is that they have the potential to make your event more accessible to visitors. 

Generative AI technology, for example, could help you with the automatic creation of closed-caption subtitles on embedded videos and other visual materials. Or, it could potentially be used to produce real-time translations of different materials within your exhibition – which can open up your content to new audiences for whom English isn’t a first language. Using AI via chatbots also allows you to converse with people who may struggle to communicate effectively in person. For example, some people need more time to compose a response, or have high levels of social anxiety (especially around speaking with others). 

Top tip: aside from being more accessible for different audiences, using accessible AIs could reduce your reliance on paper materials and waste material consumption. 

There are also novel ways to use AI technology to improve the overall accessibility of your exhibition design. Using data from previous events, a predictive AI could be taught to recognise areas where access needs aren’t met and need improving. This could be through identifying high-traffic areas and developing a wider pathway to improve mobility, or by locating the best places for quiet spaces, rest areas, or help stations within your exhibition space. 

Learn more about Inclusivity and Accessibility with our bank of resources here at Exhibition Centre Liverpool. 

Personalisation and engagement 

Visitors have learnt to expect a certain level of personalisation when they interact with events and exhibitions – whether this is through targeted marketing campaigns to attract attention, or via personalised suggestions that match their interests. By using AI technology, you can improve your exhibition personalisation and engage your visitors in a more meaningful way. Engagement is a vital metric for exhibition success, as it shows how receptive your visitors are to your content, and the likelihood of any future attendance. 

So, where does AI come into it? One way is through the use of virtual assistants and chatbots. Not only can these provide real-time guidance around your exhibition, but they can increase online engagement by answering simple questions. Using AI chatbots for routine or frequently asked questions gives in-person staff members more time to focus their attention on harder queries or providing more specialised assistance to guests. 

A note on data-driven analytics 

Outside of direct visitor interaction, AI data analytics can help you manage any personalisation efforts more efficiently, and maximise how you use data to engage with your audiences. AIs have a large computational capacity, which means they can handle large data-sets more effectively than people can – giving you quicker insights into visitor behaviour. 

This information can then be used to direct your marketing campaigns before your exhibition, or to provide visitors with personalised recommendations for which parts of the event will match their interests. 

Immersive experiences 

Experience-led exhibitions are one of the top trends in the events and exhibitions sphere. Visitors want to be impressed, and technology is one of the best ways to do this. Immersive experiences in particular, are an excellent way to generate a buzz about a product, create a social talking point, and engage visitors in new and exciting ways. 

By enhancing your immersive experiences with AI technologies, you can take visitors to the next level and create an experience worth talking about. VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) are both massively improved by working with AI technology. 

Virtual reality (VR): generative AIs can create different backdrops within your virtual space. Or, if games are a part of your exhibition, AI technology can create new levels every time the game opens for each player, or provide different characters for people to play. 

Augmented reality (AR): augmented reality is an excellent way to display products or simulations without needing the physical objects or layouts – which is perfect for trade shows. Using AI algorithms within AR helps to create more accurate movement sensors, so people can interact with the technology more intuitively. 

Choose Exhibition Centre Liverpool for your future exhibitions 

Planning an exhibition, and want to work with a venue who can provide quality support throughout the whole process? Here at Exhibition Centre Liverpool, our In-House Expertise is top notch – and our teams are always on hand to help you succeed. For more information, Contact Us today to see how we can help you. 

 

For more industry information and useful articles, don’t forget to check out our Content Hub 

 Exhibition Planning: The Ultimate How-To Guide | Creative Exhibitions: Exploring Innovative Uses of Exhibition Spaces | A Guide to Putting on Accessible Exhibitions 

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