Audio Visual Technology and the Exhibitions Industry

James_BarnettGuest blogger James Barnett is a former Audio Visual Consultant and New Media Graduate researching the evolution of Digital Technologies in niche industries. The article was submitted on behalf of Exhibition Stand Contractors Nimlok who design and supply high-impact custom modular exhibition stands that get your brand noticed on the exhibition show floor

Audio Visual technology played a significant role within major global events of 2012. Both the Democrat and Republican conventions utilized the technology as a vital tool to nominate their leaders. The events were broadcast to millions of Americans and the footage was transmitted to almost every news outlet around the world. With the stakes set so high, a technological failure would have catastrophic consequences– resulting in a failure to communicate a party’s message.

AV ExhibitsLondon 2012 also stands out as an Audio Visual spectacle, with the Olympics’ coverage featuring the transmission of the athlete’s performance around the globe as countries celebrated the games. One of the most notable elements of the critical AV coverage was the huge video wall present. Capturing both these events in real-time provides a unique public experience which can influence, enthuse and arouse emotion amongst the world’s population. AV technology is undoubtedly predominant on the global events stage, but it is equally important within smaller exhibitions where the role that digital media takes has undergone a transformation in this industry.

The Guardian’s B2B network recently held a live debate to examine these changes as businesses seek to diversify their customer engagement through interactive AV technologies. The role of the exhibition has been able to extend itself from an exclusive business meeting to a global PR campaign which has social interactivity as an accessible feature integrated into its AV. Digital displays serve as marketing tools for brand exposure and can demonstrate a products potential and encourage audience participation. The digital revolution may have been a famous phrase of the 1990’s yet not all businesses are realising its potential to engage consumers in the exhibitions industry.

Let’s consider the development of Brand Engagement, Social Media and Augmented Reality through the Audio Visual medium and how small exhibitors can leverage this technology to the public.

Brand Engagement

AV ExhibitAn exhibitor stand can harness a brands power through a digital display and interactive interface. Digital displays provide a contemporary approach to display marketing. Customers are drawn to the exhibitor stand and are subsequently more likely to engage with the stand staff. Web interfaces and interactive flash games can mirror the brands personality and provide a focal point and engagement tool for your stand.

Social Media

Accessing social media through the interface encourages consumers to promote the product which is great brand exposure. Social tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest; should be at the heart of the live marketing strategy and encourage product information to trend. The brands success is dependent upon a genuine consumer relationship and the product excitement can be marketed before, during and after the show. Encourage all audience members to participate.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality blurs the lines between what is real and computer generated and applications which enhance the customer experience could become the most revolutionary aspect of the exhibitions industry. Exhibitors are currently using smart phone applications to add a dimension to their display, turning them interactive and providing virtual environments within the exhibitor booth.

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Facebook Graph Search

Facebook Search Offers Opportunity For SEO

By Paul Konikowski, CTS-D

Facebook Graph Search
Facebook Graph Search allows users to search locations, photos, posts, friends, or friends of friends. Stalker.

If you are still not “on Facebook”, I applaud you, if for nothing but the time and energy you save. But if your business is still not on Facebook, you may want to reconsider. This month, Facebook started rolling out their much-anticipated Graph Search. Here’s a sneak peek, if you don’t have it yet.

The Facebook search engine has been evolving over the past few years, and started including web results from Bing.com. But it wasn’t great. For example, the other day my friend asked me how to search for a photo seen in their news feed a few weeks earlier. With the old Facebook search engine, there wold be no way to search photos from friends; but with graph search, everything changes.

So what does this new search engine mean for your business? Well, the “next generation” of consumers between the ages 16 and 26 probably checks their Facebook messages more often than their email. They trust their friends posts more than other advertisements, and can now search for restaurants and products their friends “like”. If your business is not active on Facebook, and your competitors have a large following, they will be suggested first.

As Facebook’s new Graph Search evolves, certain restaurants and businesses will be listed higher in the search results, partly based on the keywords they use on the pages and posts. Just like LinkedIn, most Facebook pages and posts are not optimized for search engines, so the competition for keywords is low.

Facebook Graph Search For Cats
Facebook Graph Search allows use to search your friends photos, for cats, on Caturday

Although the exact graph search algorithm is unknown (at least by yours truly), its easy to test keywords in graph search and see where your business shows up (if at all). It’s also very likely that Facebook will start to categorize people and companies based on their posts. For example, if you tend to post a lot of content about concerts, Facebook will start showing your posts in search results when someone searches for live music.

Facebook Graph Search SEO
Note how El Sombrero restaurant is listed first in the new Facebook Graph Search results

As you can see in the above results, businesses that your friends have “Liked” will show up higher in the search results. Similarly, your friends will see your Likes and posts before they see “strange” businesses, products, and posts. But strangers will see your public posts and your businesses, a little lower in the results, especially if they search nearby you. That is why its important to give a location to your page, and optimize it for your region’s nicknames if you are seeking local business (i.e. Bay Area or Tri State Area).