Bad weather is the bane of many a trade show organizer. Although a trade show locale may have great climate, storms in a hub city can wreak havoc on attendance. This was the scenario when I first laid eyes on Suitable Technologies’ BeamPro mobile telepresence units a couple of years ago. Thousands of flights had been cancelled and many people were unable to attend CES 2014. The obvious, but not yet available, alternative was for people to virtually attend this massive consumer electronics extravaganza.
Fast-forward 18 months and BeamPros were found buzzing around the 2015 Augmented World Expo conference and tradeshow in Santa Clara, CA, allowing people from around the world to experience part of or the entire event from the comfort of their office. The company behind this, Event Presence, has a close relationship with BeamPro’s maker, Suitable Technologies, and has created a service tailored to venue operators, show organizers and exhibitors. In the case of AWE15, attendees could roll around the exhibit hall or attend sessions via Event Presence’s BeamPro devices.
In the above interview, Steve Ernst, CEO of Event Presence, pulls back the curtain on the service. One of the interesting technical aspects is their use of lightly-licensed spectrum, which allows them to communicate from BeamPros to their specially designed access points and to the Internet.
As alluded to in the above video, the sharing nature of their service allows the potential to virtually and instantly move from one large exhibit hall to another (e.g. switching from one BeamPro to another). As exemplified by Shelley Renee in the above video, exhibitors could leverage their experts’ time by having them stay home and jump in via a BeamPro as needed. This could be especially valuable for the times when a customer shows up at a trade show booth with a question that an expert should hear first-hand.
According to the Event Presence website, they have a “pilot certification” program. They presently have three types of pilots; roamers, greeters and industry experts. Event Presence definitely has an approach that could impact the tradeshow industry. Given Event Presence’s direction, chotskies will also need to turn virtual.