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Published on Monday, May 12, 2014

Tech Talk

“How do you use technology in your trade show program?”

 

That was the topic at the last meeting of the Midwest Exhibit and Event Professionals. The panel working through the discussion was comprised of two seasoned trade show coordinators, a consultant and an industry supplier.

 

iPads at Trade ShowsThere was discussion about using iPads to gather prospect data, the pros and cons of wireless internet on the show floor, and the potential cost saving involved in using large monitors for messaging as opposed to static graphics.

 

All very interesting to say the least. The audience, which included exhibit and event managers and supplier partners, were deeply engaged in the conversation and listened intently. Least of which was me.

 

Remote ControlHey, I’m old. I grew up with dial telephones and televisions that were devoid of remote controls (although I did have a friend who kept a long stick next to him so he could move the dial at will). Just using the word “technology” makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up a bit.

 

iRetrophoneWhile I like what my smart phone does and would be lost without Google and MapQuest, getting to this point wasn’t exactly easy or pain-free. As the world of technology evolved before and after Y2K, everything started moving faster. Faster is good in a lot of respects, but when it comes to making decisions that affect your business, sometimes going in one direction or another too quickly can lead to disaster.

 

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when you go with your gut and you are right. Those gut decisions are based on years of practice and accumulation of knowledge.

 

Prairie has made decisions on whether to carry a certain product or provide a service based on the current and future demands of our customers. The first decision was to carry and support the Nomadic Instand pop-up frame. From there, customer preferences meant expanding into new areas like hard panel systems, modular/custom solutions, supervision of show services, storage and maintenance of properties, and on-demand graphics.

 

What’s next? It seems “technology” is on the minds of customers and suppliers/partners like Prairie.

 

iPad at Trade ShowSo my questions are:

 

“What does technology mean to you?”

“What are you going to ask of your trade show/event partner?”

“Does providing technology mean just capturing leads, or incorporating a custom app into tablets and large monitors?”

“Are you looking to partners for assistance in supplying video content?”

 

From the supplier side, we are kicking a lot of tires and investigating what makes the most “go-to-market” sense. Is it a plug and play application, customized program or a blend of both?

 

Let’s start the conversation. You can call me (630-834-8773), email, post a request through the website or leave a blog comment below. What are your organization’s thoughts and plans?

 

I must admit, I am getting better with all of this tech talk. The neck hair doesn’t stick up at the mention of technology anymore, and just like we jumped into the world of digital file preparation 20 years ago, and introduced one of the first property management programs specifically designed for the portable/modular exhibit owner, we’re looking to provide the best solution for our clients going forward.

 

And now, I have to get up and change the channel.

 

Steve Moskal

Dial telephone

 

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Author: Steve Moskal

Categories: AV, Nomadic Instand, Show Services

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Steve Moskal
Steve Moskal

Steve Moskal

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Full biography

Steve’s journey in the trade show and event world started in 1983 with one of the original Nomadic Display sales organizations in North America. In 1994, he co-founded Prairie Display/Chicago.

Steve was an Allied Board Member of TSEA (Trade Show Exhibitors Association) from 2007 to 2011 and recipient of the TSEA President’s Award in 2009. He also served as Financial Chair of the Midwest Exhibit and Event Professionals (formerly the Chicago chapter of TSEA) and as a commissioner with the Elmhurst Economic Development Commission from 2011 to 2016. Currently he is Vice President of Education for the Addison/Elmhurst, IL Toastmasters Club.

When not working with customers and co-workers at Prairie, you can find him trying to spend more time biking and pursuing other creative endeavors. Steve lives in Oak Brook, IL with his beautiful and equally understanding wife of 26 years, Shelley.

Steve is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a B.A. in Journalism and a Fine Arts minor.

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