Brave New World Pt 2- Covid Proofing your Show Floor

21 Sep, 2021
Guides | Insightful Blogs

Technology was the event industry’s weapon against Covid-19, giving us the means to connect and interact on novel platforms that bridged the gap between physical and virtual worlds.  As the world embarks on a return to the physical events, the burning question is – how do we battle covid-19 on the show floor?

Reed Exhibitions launched an important new study in June 2020 that has provided important insights, with its COVID-19 Customer Needs and Mindset Barometer. The first findings from this ambitious research project on customer attitudes to physical and digital events pick up an interesting response: “COVID-19 has not diminished the value of in-person events for participants, who are committed to returning as soon as restrictions are lifted. The importance of events has remained consistent for both exhibitors and visitors.”

As we returned to DSEI just last week, Reed Exhibitions’ findings were certainly not wrong!

So, over the past few months, the Cook + Associates team has been working on bright new ideas to facilitate this welcome return to something like normality.  We have developed several design and practical concepts in line with event organisers’ regulations, working to ensure show safety without affecting the overall brand experience and disrupting our clients’ vision and strategy.

We kicked off with simple, small changes integrated throughout the design process, subtle safety precautions that are mandatory with most show guidelines internationally. Social distancing signs, plex screens between areas of congestion, traffic flow systems and hand sanitisation pods are easily added and can be branded up to blend with the overall brand statement.

On a more practical level, 2m distanced seating and individual meeting room tables combined with plastic balustrades ensure protection in any close contact areas. These elements are introduced thoughtfully throughout the technical design, creating ample space and a clear flow that ensures delegates interact and move freely through the space.

The pandemic presented an opportunity for a new era of events, combining the beauty of virtual and physical experiences to create a new hybrid solution. With some travel restrictions still in place, it could be a while before we see event attendance return to its old level. Hybrid technologies maximise opportunities on the show floor, pushing the reach of your show to remote attendees; adding an exciting dimension and breaking new ground in how we conceive future event strategies and design exhibition environments to maximise brand engagement.

The emphasis is on providing a seamless interaction for virtual communications, using tools such as our Connect Event concept as well as a realistic 360-degree virtual representation of the exhibition space. The key is to innovate and achieve the all-important human connection, whether in-person or remote. Learn more about our Hybrid innovations here.

Of course, technology isn’t just hybrid-related, we’ve been exploring other exciting innovations that are touch-free or gesture-based to create new types of engagements in the Covid Era. Interactive projection mapping installations, body mapping motion sensor games and augmented reality-based QR codes that hone in on the usefulness of mobile technologies are just a few of the possibilities available.

Staff and visitors’ safety are paramount considerations – from scheduled build times to face masks, it’s not just about the design. Many international shows encourage the wearing of masks as well as visitor number regulation and cleansing, so we’ve broken down some of the ways you can stick within the rules whilst ensuring a smooth-running event:

+ Provide branded styluses for touch screen use to eliminate physical touchpoints.

+ Automated sprays + long-lasting surface cleanser to ensure touchpoints are cleaned regularly.

+ Branded face masks.

+ Scheduled build times + keeping crew members to a minimum to avoid cross-contact.

+ Regulate visitors and control access through the reception area of the stand, ensuring delegates are directed correctly through the stand.

+ Touch-free + Gesture-based interactions.

A new design and technology innovation known as Sanigate is the latest product in the Covid defence armoury. The completely custom-branded sanitisation system creates a nanoparticle, dry spray, with anti-bacterial disinfection of each individual as they pass through it. With a scalable option, it can be suitable for meeting rooms or small spaces that need regular disinfection and cleaning.


Want to find out more? Get in touch to see how we can create your Covid safe event.