In this Q&A, Gavin Dandridge, CTO at spatial analytics company Meshh, discusses the role of data in exhibitions.
How do you get around low connectivity at an exhibition venue and turn this into a competitive advantage?
We live in a connected world. From setting up your Internet of Things connected coffee machine to reading news on an app on the way to work, consumers are now spoilt with connectivity (and that’s even before 9am!). It comes as no surprise, therefore, that its absence is swiftly remarked upon.
But we have to look beyond bad signal on a train or the frustration of not being able to refresh your social media feed when hiking in remote areas of Scotland. Low connectivity is quickly spilling from the consumer world in to the B2B realm as both revolve around consumer demands and expectations.
In his day-to-day job, Gav Dandridge, CTO at Meshh, works with brands, marketers and events/exhibition organisers to help them deliver and capture media rich data in environments where networks can’t reach the consumer. Below, he explains why every business attending an exhibition should think of the internet connectivity its customers get, and how this impacts customer service and brand loyalty.
What is the number one problem brands encounter when exhibiting in remote areas or locations with low connectivity?
Remote locations can be a great venue for events and festivals – think of Coachella – as it provides more freedom when it comes to the number of attendees, noise levels and so on. However, it can prove a real headache for all businesses that are trying to use digital channels to interact and attract customers at the event.
The challenge in these environments is to deliver and receive data – for this reason some mobile operators bring in temporary masts. However, when it comes to prioritising actions, phone calls come first, followed by texts. Unfortunately, this means that media rich content is pushed back and in most cases, it’s almost impossible to either send or receive such messages using internet connectivity.
How does this impact customer service and brand loyalty?
For attendees, this means frustration – frustration that will usually drive them away from any media rich platforms or websites altogether. In turn, the challenge for brands is that they cannot use their digital assets to attract or reward customers. For instance, they cannot tell customers to go on the website to register in return for free samples or a discount.
But this isn’t true only for events and exhibitions in areas with no connectivity. Low connectivity can equally create frustration, especially when customers have to wait minutes to upload a video or image. This is the faux pas of the digital age, and quickly turning into a strident business issue. Luckily, the problem of low network or WiFi connectivity can be overcome to provide a more enhanced, engaging and fulfilling experience for the consumer.
How can brands and business overcome the issue of low network connectivity?
This is when technology comes to rescue. New solutions -like what we provide at Meshh - allow the delivery and receipt of media rich data in an off the grid manner, hence getting around the problem of low connectivity. This is done in a contextualised manner, with consumers using technology similar to WiFi that brands or marketers install near their stand or area. This creates a local high-speed network, ideal for attracting new or existing customers to the brand area.
This versatile solution also carries the added benefit of enhanced security. As mobile phones are not connected to the Internet and are locally encrypted, there are less chances of being hacked. Moreover, this technology can be used at outdoor or indoor venues, and even integrated in existing infrastructure to deliver the same contextualised experience for the customer.
Why should brands and exhibitors care about connectivity at the venue?
Connectivity allows brands to create more immersive experiences, extending the journey on to visitors’ mobile devices whilst they are at the event. As a result, attendees are rewarded with exclusive content or discounts available to visitors only, incentivising them to interact with the brand. In the same manner, it gives them the functionality to share their feedback about their experience at the exhibition or event and the brand itself. In turn, this allows companies to know their customers’ honest opinion about their products and experience – a valuable asset!