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Exhibition World | TechnologyThE magazinE for ThE global ExhibiTion communiTy WWW.ExhibiTion-World.nET | may 2011 | 33Attendance to each quadrant of the show can also be measured to assign different rates to more popular areas, and back your claims up with hard figures. "We have been successful with our current product offering and this is an additional offering," explains Borrego. "If it sounds like RTL is a better solution then we are going to propose that, but we haven't had one of those situations yet. That's one of the reasons we haven't offered it in the past. It's a bit more expensive and requires a logistical challenge to collect all those tags," he adds. "RFID is a lot more portable. We can take our technology from one venue to another and set up in a couple of days."Regardless of the method, the data offers a rich opportunity to the savvy organiser, although it requires experience and training to extract useful information from the raw numbers.According to Borrego, in the first year an organiser uses Alliance's RFID technology there might be a lack of education about what the data is and what can be done with it."The second year, they show that data to the executives and salespeople up the chain, and we get them coming to us saying they want to know more and giving suggestions of what to do. Each year you can see the level of sophistication increasing. It's a trend we see every time we have an engagement.""When you see salespeople getting excited about what marketing people are doing, and working together to drive leads, that's very exciting. Those are leads that would be put in the drawer and forgotten otherwise."However, five chains keep Alliance's RFID technology from taking off. According to Borrego, the company must raise awareness of the technology while bringing down its cost, work on effectively demonstrating its value and find ways of integrating it with other emerging technology. Finally, venues need to increase their levels of wireless connectivity. Cost is shrinking and connectivity in venues is increasing, but demonstration of value, spreading awareness and integration with other technologies are still challenges Alliance and other companies must face. When it comes to integration with other technologies, Borrego foresees an almost science-fiction-level of technological presence on the show floor: "We have got mobile and wireless technologies and a lot of digital signage, and our customers are saving money and going away from the static signs to the dynamic signs," he says. "With RFID being able to interact with signage while you are walking up the hallway, the sign becomes more relevant to you. They could even change languages, giving the attendee a better experience but also giving the host more information on the interests of the attendees."One argument against this technology is that the same near-field communication is becoming available on mobile phones, which could make Alliance's offering obsolete. This doesn't bother Borrego, as he believes people will become more reluctant to use their mobiles if they are associated with a bank account or credit card like other touch-free systems.In the end, the industry itself will decide the fate of touch-free technology. However, if we open our arms to it the potential for exhibitors and organisers alike is huge. On the BallCorbin Ball is an international consultant and speaker on all subjects event-technology related. Here he shares his insight with Exhibition World.Like in most industries, web-based software and mobile software - also web-based - are streamlining most data management points and fundamentally changing how we do business. To name a few:1.Social media is being used to promote events, build the buzz, engage clients before during and after the event. Facebook, Twitter, Scvngr, Foursquare, YouTube and many more are used for this.2.Traditional lead retrieval models will eventually be replaced by a variety of new, emerging technologies. Instead of one-way, booth-bound contact exchange it will be accessible to all. Options include card-scanning apps, QR codes, Near Field Recognition and many more.3.The hassle of dealing with the exhibition service desk to order services or find you freight, for example, will be made much easier with mobile apps such as Freemans Concierge.4.Mobile apps will assist wayfinding throughout a hall and a facility.5.Augmented reality will play a role in wayfinding and info exchange.The web is a global phenomenon. The key for events is to have easy access to wireless broadband signal. Countries around the world are understanding this and building accordingly.Once the wireless infrastructure is built, the key factor is mindset. There are many tools available now, and they are easy to use. The development tools are richer and easier to use than ever before. The biggest obstacle is human resistance to change. Things are changing rapidly and there is a great need for technology education. Sometimes, the high-end decision-makers just don't get it. Most modern cultures recognise the importance of business exchange and trade. Meetings and tradeshows are about bringing people together, and this helps in increasing understanding of cultures. It is certainly important to be respectful of culture, but the desire for people to come together for business exchange will often soften the differences.

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