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Enhancing the ‘personal experience’ with AV

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Synchronized lighting, audio and video elements are critical to an effective AV-backed tradeshow exhibit.

In a world in which the release of the latest smart phone or the newest flat screen TV is viewed with a great deal of anticipation and excitement among many consumers, it stands to reason that the tradeshow industry benefits a great deal from the use of advanced audiovisual (AV) equipment.

Not surprisingly, the AV industry has thrived even during the recent national and global economic meltdown that decimated many industries.

Instead, the AV industry has grown a great deal, and so has its use on the show floor.


Essentially, captivating the crowd and piquing the interests of attendees is the main goal of any AV component used in an exhibit.

“Audiovisual is all about creating an experience that stimulates people walking by the exhibit. The visual aspect is the most important, because that is what captures and captivates people,” said Les Goldberg, owner of LMG, a tradeshow technology provider. “The measure of success is about selling the product.”

Attendee interaction is another function popular on the show floor.

“AV equipment’s main function is to communicate information to them quickly. It can create a stunning first impression that makes attendees go: ‘Wow! This looks interesting. I want to see what this exhibit has to offer,’” said David Fairman, project manager, AV Dimensions. “Once the attendees are in the booth, the AV keeps them interested and stimulated, allowing the exhibitor more time to demonstrate their product and keep the company branding in the attendee’s mind longer.”

Because AV equipment can capture the imaginations of tradeshow attendees and potential customers, it has become even more necessary to include such components in many exhibits.

“It is essential for companies delivering new products to the marketplace. It’s not going to lose popularity,” said Goldberg.

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Although projectors continue proving themselves on tradeshow floors, the advent of LED displays gives exhibitors even more options.

And using AV equipment can help make an exhibit stand out among others.

“When AV equipment is used properly, it will separate an exhibit from its competitors and build a lasting memory in an attendee’s mind through visual and mental stimulation,” said Fairman.

But with a plethora of video equipment available, choosing the right kind for a tradeshow exhibit isn’t necessarily easy to do.

“Many of the new, smaller exhibits are starting to utilize the larger flat screens and seamless video walls since they don’t require as much space as a projector to create a large image, but the projector will always be a main AV tool in convention centers,” said Fairman. “A projector is also an easy way for an exhibitor on a smaller budget to be noticed on a show floor.”

Although projectors continue proving themselves on tradeshow floors, the advent of LED lighting gives exhibitors even more options for drawing in potential clients and customers.

“With LED displays, you can get people closer to the screen. They are lighter, can curve and are much sexier than traditional projectors and screens, which limit viewers to no less than about 11 feet from the screen,” said Goldberg. “With projection, there are concerns about ambient light. You don’t want direct light hitting the screen while you are trying to present a visual image.”

While visual components can capture the attention of an attendee, creating true mental stimulation means using more than just visual images.

“If you are playing some kind of visual, there is the audio component followed by lighting. Audiovisual is a combination of all of these things,” said Goldberg. “There is also a wireless spectrum being used, including digital microphones.”

Digitizing sound gives exhibitors greater control over a much-improved audio component for their displays that can create a deeper, more personal experience for attendees.

“Many of the larger sound systems have gone to a completely digital format, allowing for much easier control of signal flow, zone control and equalization. This control allows for a higher quality, more manageable sound system,” said Fairman. “Some are eliminating speakers completely and using Infrared headset systems producing a completely silent and intimate environment in the exhibit. This is where the audience wears headphones with built in IR receivers and the speakers are replaced with IR transmitters.

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Visual components can capture the attention of an attendee.

“Many have gone to this format to eliminate any issues arising from show management sound-level restrictions and audio ‘dead spots’ created with traditional speakers,” said Fairman. “This way, everybody has an equal sound level that is controllable with a volume knob on each headset. It also gives the listener a feeling of submersion in the presentation.”

With lighting, audio and video comprising critical components of an effective AV-backed tradeshow exhibit, controlling all the elements might seem difficult. But modern equipment makes it pretty simple to do.

“There are PC-based production and playback systems out today that are used to control all the media and audio from a single source. Every video and audio cue can be built into a timeline and be looped or triggered in any number of ways to make the show completely customizable,” said Fairman. “The system can also sync up any lighting console via time code as well. Once the show is programmed you could easy have every cue triggered by one person with the press of one button.”

And with a control system capable of being run by a single person, advanced AV systems are becoming integral tools for exhibitors.
Still, ensuring such control systems work properly is essential for success.

“Exhibitors today are probably more equipped than ever to handle technology and higher end AV equipment, but I do recommend they completely understand the equipment and test it before any big show,” said Fairman. “You never want to open a new piece of gear on site to find out it’s too complicated. I also suggest that if there is any doubt that a show may cost them important clients because they couldn’t work the equipment properly, they hire a professional to provide peace of mind and help guarantee a successful show.”

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