EW editor Tom Hall says framing issues too broadly is risky
‘Context is king’ is a phrase I coined recently for this very section only to find – after a quick, painful Google search – it’s been used before. In the age of the Internet, I reasoned, there is nothing new under the sun. Or is there?
Context is highly relevant to the various heated debates in the exhibition industry, where many are quick to diagnose and dismiss various trends with snap value judgements.
Globalisation, for example, is a term used with condemnation in many camps, but if a given market is saturated by a particular show, or a number of shows, an organiser geo-cloning this model in new pastures opens up valuable trade opportunities and spreads important new ideas and products.
For a newly-tapped destination, the show is a novel experience. Meanwhile, the risks associated with globalisation, for example the fear of a loss of domestic jobs, applies less to our industry within this context. If a market is saturated locally, then it is only logical to expand it elsewhere and create new employment opportunities in another welcoming local market.
Admittedly, that discussion is too broad for the word count of this column, but whether a given exhibition’s format is too homogenised or formulaic is surely up to the visitors.
In this issue we also discuss Augmented Reality (AR), which some dismiss as a distraction. I sympathise, as AR can often feel ‘tacked on’. However, with Apple making it easier for developers to hone its software – which, crucially, is already in the hands of the masses – the possibilities for exhibitors and exhibitions to create AR enhancements will truly only be limited by creativity. Surely an exciting development, and a new context.