Maximize ROI on venue experience with intelligent digital technology


As convention centers continue to innovate and augment their facilities with leading-edge technology, they look for ways to optimize their exhibition halls and meetings rooms with intelligent digitalization technology to provide not only a better customer experience but also opportunity to maximize revenue for every show.

Convention center business leaders need to understand what technology is available as well as how to implement to create a living, breathing space that visitors will want to keep coming back to. Value added services are increasingly more essential as convention centers face cost and competitive pressures to renovate and keep up with current technology year after year.


Joseph Lanners, Director, Convention Center Innovation, Samsung SDS

Hugh Sinnock, President, HKS Strategies, LLC

Jennelle Brewer, Director of Customer Experience, Las Vegas Convention Center

Joaquin Quesada, Deputy Director, Sales & Services, Anaheim Convention Center


John Bertoli: Hello and good afternoon or good morning everyone, based on where you're located.

John Bertoli: I'm John Bertoli, Head of Marketing and Partner Services at Samsung SDSA. I'd like to welcome you to our webinar: How to Maximize ROI on Venue Experience with Intelligent Digital Technology. This is actually the second webinar we have planned for 2019 where we strive to shed light on critical business issues for organizations competing in today's highly competitive, ever-changing landscape.

John Bertoli: We are joined today by Joseph Lanners, Director of Customer Experience & Innovation at Samsung SDSA; Hugh Sinnock, President of HKS Strategies; Jenelle Brewer, Director of Customer Experience at Las Vegas Convention Center; and Joaquin Quesada, Deputy Director of Sales & Services at Anaheim Convention Center.

John Bertoli: A few housekeeping notes. The audience will be muted during the entirety of the webinar. We will be hosting a Q&A session at the conclusion of the webinar, so we encourage everyone to submit questions throughout the event. If you have any technical issues, feel free to reach out and we will attempt to address those issues as quickly as possible.

John Bertoli: With that said, let's kick of the webinar starting with Joseph Lanners, who will provide some insight on the industry, followed by a panel discussion with all featured speakers.

Joseph Lanners: Thanks, John. Appreciate it. Welcome, everyone. Good morning, good afternoon depending on where you're at around the world.

Joseph Lanners: We're excited today to share with you some of the accelerating and current industry trends that are going on that are affecting both the hospitality market as well as the exhibition industry overall. Some of the stats we'll be sharing will be from both TWC and others from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, CEIR.

Joseph Lanners: On the screen now, what we'd like to share is a little bit of the key year-over-year growth statistics. We're averaging about a 2% growth in attendees. Real revenues are slightly better than that. And the overall index that CEIR tracks shows a very positive fourth quarter trend as well. The amount of square footage, and that's square footage that's actually available because the demand for B2B trade shows has been increasing, is actually shrinking, thus the other trends that are referenced throughout the industry and exhibition centers that have decided to expand their square footage is a good one.

Joseph Lanners: As we take a look at 2017, all the way from 2007 through 2018, the gross domestic product across the globe on the next slide showcases that we had a major set of issues that were going on in the 2007 to 2010 time range or 2009 time range. Gross domestic product was shrinking, we had a recession, and the industry was experiencing some significant declines. The CEIR Index really trended very negatively during that time. We had almost a 12% decrease in total attendees and it was a real negative time for the industry.

Joseph Lanners: We've now since returned to pre-2000 levels. We're tracking very closely with GDP. On a positive note, we're at 2% plus across all of those areas. With, of course, those types of statistics and the data, what we need to be focusing on is how customers are now interacting with the world around them. The industry was not able to invest for a number of years, and now that many projects are kicking off, renovations are going, as well as the industry is reinvesting again in new technology, we need to keep pace with the way the consumers are interacting with their mobile devices, with their expectations on how they shop as consumers, and the trade show industry experience has been making some changes and now starting to adopt new technologies. They're engaging in some new proof of concepts with some of the technologies that are out in the market. They're succeeding with some, not succeeding with others.

Joseph Lanners: So what we'd like to do is share with you a little bit about the PwC outlook on terms of revenue as well.

Joseph Lanners: B2B trade shows generate a significant amount of revenue for B, C, and E business globally. Back in 2012, we were only at a marginal $11.4 billion. Still sizeable set of shows that was going, but it's expected to grow past nearly $17 billion by 2021, even though our growth rate is about 2 to 4% in terms of revenues. Attendees are going to be continuing to go up, industry shows and B2B shows are still one of the best ways to share information about current trends that are going on within each of the exhibitor's industries, and PwC estimates about a $17 billion overall industry, which means that most of the C&E businesses are competing for those dollars being spent. Differentiation of the venues, as well as the exhibition companies that are hosting these exhibitions, they're competing for the dollars of the attendees in the marketplace.

Joseph Lanners: One of the things that PwC sees as a major trend in this particular space is convergence, convergence of what happens mobile, online, face-to-face, within meetings. Mobile technology and devices are becoming increasingly the way that consumers want to interact with the show venues and be able to gather information. That's typically common, especially for millennials, but not common for every segment whether it be Gen X, Gen Y, or Gen Z.

Joseph Lanners: Revenue streams also need to be changing and increasing. Advertising is going to become another piece of where the revenue is going to come from these events. Consumers want to interact with not just their mobile devices but they also want to ubiquitously connect with the physical devices that are throughout the show venues. Those venues that are digitizing are now able to do that.

Joseph Lanners: And then data that's collected around all the IoT devices, whether it be a smart venue, smart lighting, the logistics, the back office, the support components, the operational tools that the exhibit companies use or even the operational tools that the convention and exhibition centers use are all collecting data, whether it be Wi-Fi, which everyone's very familiar with, all the way to video analytic sensors and we'll call it maybe even RFID tags or beacon technology. In fact, a lot of that data is now being collected and shared across the platforms and it's converging across both the mobile platform, the infrastructure platforms that the convention centers themselves use, the exhibitors' platforms. That rich data and analytic stream can very powerfully impact the way that consumers and visitors experience these very important trade shows that we host across our industry. The platforms that are required to support these are platforms that are dynamically changing.

Joseph Lanners: Three of the key trends that are really adding value today in our conversations with hospitality experts and the C&E industry, are number one, dynamic infotainment. That's the ability essentially to pull in data outside of the venue that's relevant to the city, the airport, the transportation. The overall experience of all these visitors who come to our cities and enjoy our convention centers and enjoy these large events starts with their airport, their Uber, their taxi experience, their public transit. Being able to dynamically provide weather updates and external data about flight information, that's been going on for a little bit of the time at some of our convention centers, but now it's dynamically being able to be displayed across a fully digitized venue as well.

Joseph Lanners: That being said, the integration into show schedules and the ability to geolocate and show where the next main hall event is, basically knowing where you are within the venue, how it affects your schedule, whether it be on your personal mobile device or also directing traffic throughout the show, moving from one building to the other or one hall to the next, or even finding the closest restroom with the shortest line, all this is being driven through IoT technology, integrated data, and then also, the ability to pull all of this data together and create, essentially, smart digital signage and geolocated wayfinding.

Joseph Lanners: You get dynamic infotainment, geolocated wayfinding, as well as now the ability to break up this digital signage into advertising space. That advertising space can be monetized. As revenues are, as we previously referenced, only growing at 3 to 4% or 2 to 3%, the ability to then monetize some of the technology that you're investing in that create a much better guest and visitor experience, now dynamically changes and also not only impacts the positives of the guest experience, helps them find where they want to go faster, have a better pre-show experience, a post-show experience, and essentially, provide much more engagement during the process. What's worse than not being able to find a restroom that's clean and has a short line, especially after lunch?

Joseph Lanners: The ability to do those types of things now, doing smart ad sales, dynamic infotainment, and geo wayfinding, all really positively impacts the way that we're able to change the overall customer experience using technology, and then use the data analytics and artificial intelligence that goes along with that in some of these complex platforms. Joseph Lanners:With that, these are the industry trends that have been accelerating. We're seeing an enormous growth rate as far as digitization of trade show environments, including convention exhibition, both private and public spaces.

Joseph Lanners: I think it's important then to let the panel now, we have a few questions that we're going to share with the panel and we have a great group of panelists, including Hugh Sinnock, Jennelle Brewer, and Joaquin Quesada. John, I think you're going to kick this off and share some of the questions and direct the panelists to answer accordingly.

John Bertoli: Thank you, Joseph. That was incredibly insightful.

John Bertoli: We're now going to dive into the panel discussion portion of the webinar. Our first question is for Jennelle and Joaquin. That is how are leading venues leveraging technology to improve the user experience? Jennelle, we're going to start with you.

Jennelle Brewer: Very good. We're looking into everything that's been said. So basically, we're trying to get a macro GPS system so that we know the movements of our clients when they're in the building. That's not only useful for the building, it's useful for the exhibitors and show management. We feel that could be a revenue source as well for particular exhibitors that are in the building.

Jennelle Brewer: Of course, we've had our digital screens only about five or six years in our building, so we're transitioning away from those static banners. We feel like it's going to give it a cleaner look, it's a more modern look, shared experiences. We're also looking at some projection on glass system that's coming out that would not only be an advertising sell to get away from maybe some of the banners that are on the outside of the building, some of the magnetics, but to move us into that more, I think, what people expect a modern building would look like.

John Bertoli: And Joaquin?

Joaquin Quesada: Great. Certainly capturing the needs and the accommodations from start to finish is key for us. What I mean by that is even before they get to the convention center itself, they'll be looking at technology to figure out what's the best routes? We can help even with traffic patterns through street CMS signs and such. As they get closer, certainly the technology's there to help accommodate where to go to park, which parking structures are full, which are open, the rates and such.

Joaquin Quesada: On site, we're taking a look at whether it's locators, how to incorporate some of our vendors with food and beverage, for example, and leveraging that piece. And then last but not least, is certainly the communication that we want to provide to them prior to them even getting here and/or as they leave. Just giving them a thank you, for example.

John Bertoli: Okay, great. The next question is for Joseph and Hugh. What value do we wayfinding solutions provide? I'm sorry, Joseph and Jennelle, this next question is for. Joseph, let's start with you.

Joseph Lanners: I'll take first stab. I think it's number one, wayfinding is improving the overall guest experience, the visitor experience. That's the primary reason why we're seeing the convention exhibition space adopt wayfinding technology.

Joseph Lanners: It decreases the amount of time people, the guests, are spending looking for the exhibitors; it's decreasing the amount of time that it takes to find an open restroom, one that's not closed; and also, it's increasing the sales for food. You're able to find the food that you want to find. That's also driving some revenue share increases with the usage of the folks who you've subcontracted for the food. I think those are the three key things I will say on the visitors' side.

Joseph Lanners: On the operational side, what we're seeing with the customers that we've been sharing these trends with and implementing technologies for is that operationally, you can reduce some of the headaches associated with having a restroom being closed and having to post a sign, and not being able to then change the static signage that's traditionally throughout the facility. I don't want to harp just on restrooms. It could be food court or a particular hall is closed or if you have multiple halls being used for two different venues or shows, the digital signage throughout the venue can mimic and align with the mobile wayfinding technology that's available.

Joseph Lanners: What do you think, Jennelle? I think you've got your experience as well.

Jennelle Brewer: Absolutely. Everything you said.

Jennelle Brewer: What we're looking at with wayfinding is, along with the food and beverage because we do have almost a 2 million-square foot convention space with possibly up 9 to 12 shows happening at one time, we also feel that for the food and beverage provider, as they have their people on site trying to make deliveries to booths and meeting rooms, that this technology also helps them get to the right places in a quicker time. That's one thing that we just feel like it's definitely what we want to create is an experience that helps create a seamless and cohesive customer journey while they're here.

Jennelle Brewer: Again, with everything being so large as they're building up in our lobbies to help find those restrooms and food venues that they just can't see them while they're on site.

Joseph Lanners: That makes total sense. Completely agree with you. John?

John Bertoli: Okay, great. Looking back at when you started in the industry, what are some of the major shifts you've seen taken place? Hugh, let's start with you.

Hugh Sinnock: Thanks, John. I think to me, the most dramatic is just the critical need for connectivity. As an exhibitor or attendee checks into the hotel room, the first thing they want to find out is how do I connect to Wi-Fi?

Hugh Sinnock: It's not different in the venue either. I think for each of the venues, that importance, if you aren't up to date to handle that, to give just really a good experience on connectivity through cellular and data, you're going to be left behind. It's a capital intensive requirement; it's something that may last for three to five years without being upgraded, but without it, you're not going to be competitive in today's market and it's only going to get more critical, I feel, with 5G coming. That's going to change the whole dynamics tremendously.

Hugh Sinnock: Over the years, a huge complaint of exhibitors has been the cost of freight, the material handling charges they're hit with. As a result, they're looking for lighter weight materials, a lot of fabric in the design of booths. I can remember two, two-and-a-half story hard wall exhibits being built. You don't see that as frequently anymore. It makes sense.

Hugh Sinnock: The other thing is because of technology and the use of some tremendous high quality monitors, the shows, the exhibits themselves are really coming from top down, hanging rigging displays and lighting versus building from the floor up and hanging this on the floor. It's changed that. They're not sending in as much, but it wasn't that long ago that plasma screens were so common. It was a security issue trying to protect them overnight. Now, as the costs have come down, nobody even bothers to take screens. That's really added to the benefit to the exhibitor to reduce the cost of shipping equipment across the country or across the ocean to get here.

Hugh Sinnock: I think the importance of conferences within exhibits has increased. I think the need for flex space for meetings, rather than being in a four-wall meeting room, we see groups gathering but they need to have the ability to connect, to use their tools, to make a presentation in a gathering of 10 to 12, pulling some chairs together, going on a lot more frequently in almost all the shows I see.

Hugh Sinnock: Again, the use of data, we talked about that. It's just something that nobody talked about 10 years ago. Those are some of the main things I've noticed.

John Bertoli: Great. Joaquin, why don't you go next?

Joaquin Quesada: Certainly. Hugh touched on a lot of the topics, but I think from my perspective, there's a higher expectation for bigger, better, faster, and certainly, technology's leading the way. We're seeing technology in all aspects of our building and people don't even realize it, whether it's escalators, elevators, food and beverage, you name it. The technology is coming along with it.

Joaquin Quesada: In today's needs, where people have technology at their fingertips no matter where they go, Hugh's correct, we need the Wi-Fi, the cellular, and we need, from a building standpoint, to certainly maintain and keep up with that. I think security is another area that quite frankly has changed for all the convention centers. You know, taking a look at how to become more secure in today's world. Certainly, technology is a big piece of that.

John Bertoli: Awesome. And Jennelle?

Jennelle Brewer: Not too much to add. They've touched on all the great points that we look at also as a building.

Jennelle Brewer: Just one of the things I've seen is in our building, what we've tried to do with technology is we know everyone comes with multiple phones and the way that they're charging these throughout the building as they have their iPad and their computers is we've actually put a lot of charging areas. Every pillar that we can get, we have at least four charging stations on most every pillar in our building and every wall space that we can find that has some seating in front of that. We've added those things so that they can keep connected, like Hugh and Joaquin said, to our Wi-Fi.

John Bertoli: Great. Next question. What factors should venue managers keep in mind when embarking on a venue renovation or digitalization project?

John Bertoli: This one is for Jennelle and Joaquin again. Jennelle, we can pick up where you left off.

Jennelle Brewer: Sure. I think one of the major factors is communication. All of our show managers, they talk to each other so we need to make sure that we get out in front of that and communicate accurate information to them and that we're sensitive to their needs. We definitely want to minimize any impact we have on the customers and our show management while they're here.

Jennelle Brewer: During our upcoming renovation, we have made sure not to displace any shows by taking halls offline. Once our new building is completed, we will go in a three-phase step by taking the north halls off and moving those shows into the new building and just making sure that that is all communicated to everyone and how we're moving people around our campus while this renovation is going.

Jennelle Brewer: Those are some of the factors. Basically, everyone wants to know how they're going to be impacted while they're here.

John Bertoli: Great. And Joaquin?

Joaquin Quesada: Certainly look to the future, and what I mean by that is it's all good to make the improvements either through the renovation projects, but you also have to remember that you have another side of the building that, quite frankly, has probably not seen a renovation in quite some time. How do you incorporate the two buildings? Because what you don't want is a state of the art building on one side and then a building that is lacking on the other. Don't forget that you truly need to continue to update your building, but you got to do it in a process that allows you to seam seamlessly.

Joaquin Quesada: When you're going through a renovation project and you're looking at the latest and greatest, make sure that you're also going to incorporate what you can in the other parts of your building.

John Bertoli: Great. This next question is for Hugh and Joaquin. What are some important KPIs you track as an organization to measure performance?

Hugh Sinnock: My experience is that any of the major contractors that work in your building, whether it's food and beverage or telecom or business services, are probably going to conduct their own customer surveys to evaluate themselves. Typically, they'll share that with the venue operator. Sometimes they'll share it with show management as well. I think that's helpful, but sometimes that's very selective. Customer centered surveys, you may interview people that didn't buy internet connection so how are they going to evaluate that? It's not always representative.

Hugh Sinnock: I've always felt the best feedback is direct contact with the shows. You can only do that to address issues and respond immediately. Three months after the fact, I get an email from an irate exhibitor to show management. It's too late to do much, so you've got to be on top of it sooner. That's your best key performance indicator. Another opportunity is to have a third party evaluate any of those that I just mentioned as to how they're performing, a real neutral party, to tell you just how they're doing.

Hugh Sinnock: Technology and data is providing so much information on sales per show. I think everyone's interested on a show-over-show basis how they did in food and beverage or telecom orders. Sharing that with show management's very valuable to make your case. Also, on food and beverage, concession stands, why it makes sense to open some and not others depending on who's in the building and all that information gives you immediate feedback as to how you're performing.

Hugh Sinnock: But again, I can't emphasize enough that you've got to attack those challenges early on while they're in your building, not two to three months later.

John Bertoli: Great. Joaquin?

Joaquin Quesada: Yeah. Certainly, everyone has their surveys and such, but ultimately, it's truly about returning business and new business seeking you out.

Joaquin Quesada: A key indicator for us is really online and today's world, the technology. People don't hesitate to complain if there's a problem. That's who you really need to gear towards. A survey where you're going to get it from one individual and yes, that individual might be important from a show perspective, but from a guest perspective, it's the day-to-day visitors that are coming through your front doors that have the ability to let you know how their day is going online.

John Bertoli: Great. This next question's going to be exclusively for Joseph Lanners. How can venues create a more personalized user experience through digital technology?

Joseph Lanners: Well, John, this can actually be ... This kind of relates back to all the conversation we've been having today, but really, it starts with the ability to communicate information, relevant information, to the exhibitors and the end customers, essentially the visitors, within the trade show.

Joseph Lanners: All that sounds great, but the best way to do it is to start slow. Pick a section, a project, a renovation that you're going through, implement the data, make sure that it can be implemented, any of the technology can be implemented in a way where you can collect all the data. You should have all the rights and the ownership to secure that data, own it, be able to use it. That way, you maximize not just short-term investment, but also long-term investment. You can use video analytics, you can gather information about demographics, about the customers without impeding on any privacy laws or issues associated with that. You can do a digital signage wall or an LED wall. You can implement wayfinding.

Joseph Lanners: I know that some of the technology around beacons has been tried many times and a lot of the industry has been saying, "Hey, it's failed. It wasn't useful." It all boils right back down to, essentially, the data that is collected and that you own as a convention or an exhibition center, and being able to then utilize that data accordingly in impact and measure the value.

Joseph Lanners: Digital can really happen in a whole bunch of different ways. The best thing to do is engage someone who you know, understand what the biggest issues are, prioritize around those issues if they're operational related issues, prioritize around solutions that will maximize the return on that particular investment. If it's really about you're getting a lot of complaints about guest experience and not being able to find restrooms or their dirty or not clean, then we should focus in those particular areas. The best thing to do is engage in all those areas and then prioritize around it because there are so many different ways that digital technology can be used to modernize existing convention centers or even be deployed in a new environment and then redeployed during a renovation project down the road, but make sure it's all aligned.

John Bertoli: Great. Thanks, Joseph. Next question is for Joseph and Jennelle. What are the opportunity costs of delaying a digital renovation project?

John Bertoli: Joseph, you can kick this off. Joseph, you might be on mute. Jennelle, why don't you kick us off then?

Jennelle Brewer: Sure. Basically, in a nutshell, people have options nowadays, so we have to make sure that our renovation project isn't delayed because then can go to other venues and get what their needs are. Of course, the revenue lost over that time period of any delay that we might have.

John Bertoli: And Joseph?

Joseph Lanners: Yeah, I think Jennelle covered things really well. Let me just say that in our conversations with our customers and in working with both private and public entities, delaying a digital renovation, what we've heard loud and clear is that there's a possibility of losing a big show or a small show to a competitor. That may be another city, it may be another venue, it could be both public or private depending on the size and the scale and the relationship that you have.

Joseph Lanners: It's important to work very closely with your big exhibitors I think. This may echo some of what Jennelle said, but I think the opportunity costs could be great. You could lose a revenue stream that might otherwise go to you, might go to someone else that's already digitized their venue.

Joseph Lanners: I think also, when a customer has a negative experience in a particular venue regardless of the exhibitor that was hosting or the exhibition company that was hosting that particular event, they may not return to your particular convention center because they're getting a much better experience potentially somewhere else. These are soft costs but I still think they're opportunity costs. I think you can accelerate your growth and sell more services as well as generate new revenue streams around digital advertising. Those can be addressed in a number of different ways. They can be a shared revenue model, they can be passed along as a value add to attract new business. I think you can miss out on some of those opportunities to win new business as well.

John Bertoli: Awesome. Our next question is for Jennelle and Joaquin. Are there any unexpected benefits to digitalization? Jennelle, you can kick us off.

Jennelle Brewer: I think that the unexpected positive benefit is that we're seeing more interactive things that are popping up just within the shows themselves. They are attracting that younger clientele who are trying to keep them engaged in their show floor while they're here. I think that's something unexpected that we're now looking into and how do we create those experiences also in our building so that clientele will also say, "We have to go to Vegas because they have this awesome digital experience there" that they haven't got to experience somewhere else?

John Bertoli: Joaquin?

Joaquin Quesada: From my perspective, it's the flexibility that it brings to a convention center. In a convention center environment, flexibility is key. We have many, many shows that come through here and every show's different. Every show requires a little bit different type of communication. The flexibility going digital allows you to, if ROI is important to you, it allows you to do some sponsorships through that factor, if wayfinding's important to you, the communication piece is important to you. It also allows you to adapt to your show manager's needs. So flexibility is huge.

John Bertoli: Okay, awesome. Before we get to questions from the audience, we actually have quite a few that came through, which is awesome, what can we expect from 2019? This is a question for all of the panelists who've been involved in the webinar today.

Hugh Sinnock: You want me too to start, John? This is Hugh.

John Bertoli: Go ahead.

Hugh Sinnock: I think there will continue to be a lot of disruptive activities to the industry. We talked about exhibit booths themselves. It may not happen in the next month or two, but I think you're going to see more innovative looks in the booths. I think you'll see booths with no walls. I think you'll see booths with no product. I think it'll be presented visually, digitally, eliminating the need to ship product. I think that's coming and I think you'll see some venues that are going to introduce some new entrepreneurial areas. They might not even charge for the space to allow people, for startups, to present ideas, dedicate an area on the floor for that purpose.

Hugh Sinnock: These are all new things that really haven't hit, but I think are coming, and probably as early as late 2019.

Joseph Lanners: This is Joseph.

Joseph Lanners: I think we're going to see the trend of utilizing data accelerate in 2019. I don't know that this is really a surprise, but I do think that as the venues are going through major expansions and remodels, which we're seeing a huge increase in the amount of show space under construction over the next two to three years, as we get these new spaces with more digital experiences that the ability to leverage, collect data, and analyze that data, and apply artificial intelligence, learning algorithms, other logistics algorithms to the analysis of that data, we'll see new insights regarding ways to improve operations; we'll see new insights and investments around improving the guest experience and the visitor experience; and I think we're going to continue to uncover new ways and new hidden value within the data that will, hopefully, increase the amount of revenue we're able to get as well, and really drive visitors to come back to trade shows the way that they really used to love to experience them.

Joseph Lanners: I think that's really going to emerge as one of those big trends during 2019 and beyond through 2021. I know you said 2019, John, but I do believe that that's going to really transform the whole experience through 2021.

John Bertoli: Okay, great. Now we're going to take questions from the audience. It seems like there's a never-ending list of questions, so let's jump right into it.

John Bertoli: This first one has to do with Wi-Fi and the interactive social wall. The question is: are you providing free Wi-Fi? It seems like this question's more for Jennelle and Joaquin as directors at the convention centers. With Wi-Fi, are you providing free Wi-Fi for attendees or is it still paid? If it is free, is it sponsored per show or altogether from an outside company? In addition, is anyone using an interactive social wall for vendors and attendees?

Jennelle Brewer: I'll start with the Las Vegas Convention Center. We do offer free Wi-Fi in our meeting rooms and in our lobby space. It does run a 30-minute interval where you would be timed out and just log in again as continuous to get free Wi-Fi. Without being interrupted Wi-Fi and a little more bandwidth, it's $14.95 for the day as far as in the meeting room area, and then of course, we offer the hardwire.

Jennelle Brewer: We are looking into the digital experience. There's a couple of companies that we are working with now that will display up on the walls. It can be changed to the shows, what message they're trying it put out, and no cost on that yet. It's kind of in its infancy, but the shows do it themselves now, basically making selfie areas, if you will, and photo opportunities. We're looking to do that for them in the building.

John Bertoli: And Joaquin?

Joaquin Quesada: Anaheim Convention Center, we do offer free Wi-Fi, not just within the building, but throughout the campus. Certainly, it's your basic Wi-Fi and then you can upgrade from there to different levels.

Joaquin Quesada: In regards to the displays, what we're seeing and what we're doing is we're partnering more and more with the events as they're coming in, whether they do their own displays and/or they're doing it through an app. We're providing them the information that's required in order for them to be successful.

John Bertoli: Great. Next question actually comes from our sponsor, Trade Show News Network.

John Bertoli: At TSNN, we see a trend concerning security at venues and events. Can you elaborate more on how this technology, this digitalization technology, can help a show? And I'm assuming she means from a security perspective. So how can digitalization enhance security at your trade shows?

Joaquin Quesada: Well, certainly having the right cameras in place and having eyes throughout the building helps quite a bit. Having the latest and greatest technology certainly is something that we are trying to take a look at the Anaheim Convention Center, what that looks like for a convention center. I think convention centers in the past, from a security standpoint, have been a little behind other types of business, but I think the importance that we've seen within the last decade has changed that. You'll see more and more of that environment growing within the convention center environment.

Joseph Lanners: Yeah. This is Joseph. I'll add on to what Joaquin said. He's correct, you can use cameras and video surveillance or video security systems. There are advanced artificial intelligence technologies that can do facial recognition. Now, I would stress that those types of technologies, when it gets down to actual facial recognition, those need to be integrated and coordinated with local law enforcement. You'll have to check the local statutes on a lot of those types of capabilities and technologies and coordinate with them.

Joseph Lanners: In addition to that though, when it comes to digitizing the venue and having more data available, yes, video surveillance would be one side, but the actual display of information on displays, whether it be a mobile device or a tablet or kiosks or mobile kiosks or the large format displays that are throughout the venue, the ability to take over those displays and provide relevant data and information during an event or when a security risk is uncovered and it's deemed appropriate by the operations team of the C&E venue to proactively send out those types of alerts to the teams, whether it be either operations team members or visitors or exhibitors or everyone in the case of a very urgent venue, you can even direct people to the closest exit or even the safest place to go. Let's say in the event of a hurricane or a tornado or whatever else.

Joseph Lanners: These are the types of things that can help minimize some sort of tragic event. That's where safety and security, whether it be natural or man-imposed, could potentially be leveraged or improved with digital technology.

John Bertoli: Great.

Jennelle Brewer: And to add upon what Joseph had to say, this is Las Vegas Convention Center, we're actually looking into more of an AI approach as well with some real time operating system platforms that basically can tell us ... It tracks, regardless if you have your Apple Watch, anything with an IP address, and it shows if there's any of these IP addresses and maybe some secure areas that they're not supposed to be in, back of the hall. It can identify our employees that are supposed to be in those areas and if there's an IP address or something that's in those areas, it alerts our security to that. They can go check it out and hopefully before anything might happen.

John Bertoli: Great. This next question would be tough for me to answer as a marketer because I always want to collect as many data points as I can on everyone who engages with us, but the question is if you could only obtain three data points from your attendees and exhibitors, what would those be?

Joseph Lanners: I think we should direct that one to Jennelle and Joaquin mostly, but we're putting them on the spot.

Joaquin Quesada: Could you repeat?

John Bertoli: Jennelle, Joaquin, feel free to pass if you need to, but if you could only obtain three data points from your attendees and exhibitors, what would those be?

Joseph Lanners: I'm going to chime in. This is Joseph, by the way. Jennelle, feel free to add to this, or Joaquin.

Joseph Lanners: I would say number one, did you have a great experience? Did the experience meet your expectations? Single-most important question from my perspective as somebody who attends many trade shows and works many trade shows as an exhibitor. That's from my perspective. What do you guys think?

Joaquin Quesada: Well, that's our number one goal, obviously. But in order to accommodate that goal, sometimes we need to find out where we need to improve. I would be looking for some information on where our team can improve upon.

Joseph Lanners: That's another good one.

Jennelle Brewer: Agreed. Yeah, that's absolutely just how we improve and how was your experience to keep them coming back and how do we retain those visitors?

John Bertoli: Great. One more question. In regards to privacy, do you think if GDPR becomes the norm in the US, will this be an issue, detection versus recognition, delegate, tracking etc.?

Joseph Lanners: Yeah. I better take this one. If you don't know what GDPR is, there's a European initiative that's been passed that basically says that all social media data needs to be treated as private out there in the marketplace. Essentially, we're going to see an accelerating trend where we, as consumers, will likely gain more control over our data with a few exceptions.

Joseph Lanners: I think when it comes to watch lists from a security and safety standpoint, there will be carve outs in the legislation as the US looks at legislation and laws associated with keeping large public venues safe and secure, even private venues. They may vary by state, so we'll need to keep close tabs on all the laws and regulations.

Joseph Lanners: When it comes to some of the technologies that Samsung has already implemented using video analytics technology, we do have a stance of basically deploying solutions that are valuable and allow consumers to be anonymous with a full opt-in set of capabilities. Most of our data is collected. In fact, all of it, when it comes to one of our solutions or technologies called Nexshop. I don't want to turn this into a sales pitch.

Joseph Lanners: Essentially, we are able to collect data around demographics using video cameras, information about the audience, whether they're happy, sad, and their emotional state. All that can be collected and anonymized across the entire pool of people that are captured throughout the video session. None of the video is saved; only the metadata is saved so that reports are completely anonymized but are very valuable to you, the convention center, as well as the exhibitors.

Joseph Lanners: Where were the busiest areas from a heat map standpoint? Where were the choke points for traffic? Where were the longest lines? Where did we see the most traction? Where should we consider changing signage and so forth? All these types of questions can be answered. What were the demographics of the overall show at the different points of the day? Which digital signage got interacted with more? Which ads were viewed for a longer period of time? All that can be done without knowing that Hugh or Jennelle or John or Cal or Joaquin or Joseph were viewing any of this.

Joseph Lanners: I think we are well aware of the need to keep private information private, but also be able to, in large public areas, be able to gather information that's available without impacting those laws.

John Bertoli: Great. We're just going to address one other question. What is the panel's experience with beacon technology and what value did you receive from it? Jennelle, Joaquin, if you guys want to start us off, I think it's more applicable to you.

Jennelle Brewer: Sure. Right now, beacon, we found to be honestly kind of unreliable. It can't narrow things down. It depends on GPS. We kind of don't use it in our building ourselves. I know some exhibitors come in and do their own beacons around their booths, which is why we're looking for a different experience, something that uses more of an AI algorithm type thing that we are looking into to put in our building. We think it's going to be more reliable than the beacon experience that's out there.

Joaquin Quesada: Pretty much Anaheim Convention Center's the same way at this point in time. We're not utilizing it. We're looking for what's next out there though.

John Bertoli: Awesome.

Hugh Sinnock: I was just going to say that we've seen too is that the shows put them in. Las Vegas Convention Center has over 5,000 doors. You just can't track everything and what was kind of annoying is you saw the shows would just leave them in place, not remove them at the end of the show. But I just think it's reliability factor. They were being offered to people at shows probably at no cost to try it, but I don't think you're seeing that be repeated too frequently.

Joseph Lanners: Yeah. I'll add from my perspective in working with customer experience and innovation across many industries including this C&E space, I'll say that beacons do provide some data. I do not think that the data from the beacons was collected well in most of the situations across many industries and being able to analyze that and cross-reference it with other sources of data in ways that could provide real insights.

Joseph Lanners: I don't know that beacon's technology dead, but I do think that many industries struggled with monetizing or gaining value from the data that was collected using beacons. I'm with the panel on this. There hasn't been a lot of value, but potentially, with new data analytics platforms and focus areas, I think you're going to be able to potentially revitalize any investment that you've already made if you've already made the investment in beacons.

John Bertoli: Sounds great. We're actually at the top of the hour, so thank you everyone for joining us. We hope you found this seminar educational. A big thank you to all of our panelists. Your thought leadership on this webinar was greatly appreciated.

John Bertoli: We will be addressing any questions that we couldn't get to on the webinar offline and we will be sharing this on-demand webinar by the end of the day, so I'll be sending out an email to all of you on the line with a link to the on-demand version. We hope you can join us for the rest of our webinars that we'll be hosting through 2019.

John Bertoli: We hope you enjoy the rest of your day.

Joseph Lanners: Big thanks to the whole panel. Thanks again, guys.

Hugh Sinnock: Thank you all.

Jennelle Brewer: Thanks everybody.

Joaquin Quesada: Thank you.

John Bertoli
John Bertoli

John Bertoli currently serves as Head of Marketing & Partner Services at Samsung SDS America where he is responsible for brand awareness and driving demand through outbound campaigns and optimizing inbound marketing channels to generate meaningful opportunities for the various business units and solutions, namely retail technology, digital out of home (DOOH), HPC Managed Services, blockchain, and retail analytics software.