How event stand design and the event experience may change after COVID-19
Chris Jones
Executive Creative Director EMEA, Pico+ UK
2020.07.22

An interview with Chris Jones, Executive Creative Director EMEA, Pico+ UK

What does it mean to you to be a 2020 Winner in the World Exhibition Stand Awards?

Recognition is always a great reward for all of the hard work that goes into a project. Even if we love what we do, seeing that other people love our work too is really satisfying. But it’s also a win for our clients who trust in our ideas and expertise.

What changes have you implemented during Covid-19?

We pivoted very quickly towards virtual events, something we’ve been looking at for some time now. We’ve seen some great success stories where visitor numbers have been greater than they would have been with physical stands. Meanwhile, we’ve been developing a number of touchless initiatives to make physical spaces safer for when people can return to events or exhibitions. Every crisis is a catalyst for invention and Covid-19 is no different. We always have to be ready to adapt to new realities.

What changes do you expect to introduce looking ahead in stand design and experience as the events industry recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic?

Apart from the obvious restrictions of distancing, we are looking at touchless solutions where people can interact with screens using gestures and harnessing people’s mobile devices to gather collaterals using Bluetooth or NFC. But also, every event should now have a virtual twin so those who cannot visit physically can still look around and interact remotely.

How do you think events are going to change as a result?

We are already seeing how the visitor experience is drastically different at the recently reopened Louvre museum in Paris. Events will follow a similar pattern where crowds are controlled. People will spend less time hanging around, so you need to design everything to have an immediate impact. There will also be more content online to extend the event experience after people have returned home or to the office.

How are these changes going to impact on stand design?

Space will be used differently so people are not forced into close proximity.

Anything that would normally be touched will become touchless, so people will use their own device to interact with stands rather than the touchscreens provided. There will be a rethink about physicall interaction and we will see an increase in things like virtual reality using visitor’s phones to explore products on display.

What are you most looking forward to about events returning?

Innovation is exciting but nothing beats the emotion of a physical event. We’re excited about how we can bring them together in new ways to deliver powerful and unforgettable experiences. Events is where technology and humanity can come together in a truly tangible way.

What does the trade show stand of the future look like?

It’s going to be a blended reality experience where physical and digital are seamlessly interwoven. Intelligence will be built in so visitor data can deliver a uniquely personal experience for every single person.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

You’re only as good as the last thing you did, so never stop striving to do great work.

The above interview was published on the World Exhibition Stand Awards website in July 2020.

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