In this article, Identity shares its thoughts on what 2017 will hold in store for the exhibition industry. There isn’t going to be a plethora of groundbreaking innovations in 2017 to rock the exhibition industry, but instead, it will be a year of integration and development of new technologies.

This article could have been named ‘digital, digital, digital’ as Identity sees digital continuing to be the biggest influencer in the space both with the use of audiovisual technology on stands and social media for events. You can read our digital marketing predictions for 2017 here.

The use of smartphones will continue to enable event organisers to better reach visitors before, during, and post-show, and will enable exhibitors, visitors and organisers to exchange real-time data.

Not a lot has changed over the year, visitors from all regions of the globe still attend events largely to see new products and services, keep up to date with marketing trends and find new ideas and inspiration. Simply put, visitors are going to events to establish and reset their industry benchmarks. Identity does not see this changing in 2017.


The use of live streaming was seen a lot in 2016 but this will continue to advance in 2017. Social media platforms like Periscope, Snapchat and Facebook’s ‘Live’ function mean that attendees can ‘go live’ at events to create a greater global reach and immersive experience. Brands are likely to utilise these platforms more in 2017 to create a joined-up marketing and sales strategy.

Booking your stand early can also lead to being offered good deals from the exhibition organiser. That’s why you should always research in advance to find the next event which could help you increase your brand’s awareness within your industry.


Although this is a catchall phrase for a very diverse sector, the proliferation of smartphones is having a huge impact on registration.

Registration software companies are working hard to enable better data capture and making the process easier for visitors. Registration at events, like many online applications, will have a much better interaction with social media platforms, such as registering your details for the event by logging into your Facebook profile.

During shows, you can expect to see visitors and exhibitors having more interaction by using their registrations/data capture devices. Users will gain benefits from real-time data transfer and in turn enriching their experience at the show (and indeed after).

Scanners, badges or smartphones will enable more bi-directional data flow rather than the historic one-way process for exhibitors. Identity believes that more data terminals around events, entrances to key-note theatres, and on stands to capture or transfer data will be seen. This will enable visitors to increase the amount of rich content they can leave a show with by storing it digitally, rather than carrying unnecessarily bulky show bags, brochures and business cards.

If registration devices in 2017 can embrace more of the qualities of products like Poken then visitors will have a chronological library of contacts, digital brochures, and show information to review during or after the show.

By seeing smarter data capture at the registration, the exhibition industry can expect to see greater use of intelligent pre-show engagement with relevant communication by show organisers.


Virtual reality saw a massive rise in 2016 but Identity feel that there is still lots of work to be done to develop a better balance between affordability and effectiveness. We predict that the creators of VR will be focusing on how they can get their product to better interact and engage with the visitors – watch this space for further industry updates!

The greatest development in 2017 will come in the form of a hybrid reality between AR and VR. Currently, this experience can be very isolated and Identity expects to see greater interaction with the wider stand and audience inclusivity.


Advances in audiovisual will be probably one of the largest areas of impact and growth for exhibitions this year. LED screens, interactive floors, and seamless video walls will see another surge as they continue to be more affordable and the need for engaging and more interactive content becomes essential.

Keep your eyes open for more impressive tech on stands in 2017!


Last year Managing Director of Identity Michael Gietzen mentioned that dye sublimation will be seen more and more in 2016 and this turned out to be very much the case. For the smaller budget stands this continues to be the largest growth area, perhaps this is due to the reusability for future shows over the more traditional printed PVC or canvas wraps (or simply late adopters to high impact graphics).

The successful use of LED back-lit textile graphics will be seen on small stands through to mega builds in 2017. Their incredible effectiveness and vibrant appearance is a stunning alternative to more traditional vinyls and PVC’s. In addition, the benefits of illuminating the graphic panels mean that they are a great way of creating ambient lighting in darker corners of larger stands.


The age old question of modular vs custom build! The advances in stylish, less chunky and affordable modular systems has seen the rise of their usage for the repeat and, in particular, the international exhibitor.

At Identity we have seen many of our clients explore the use of modular systems for their 2017 exhibition portfolio. For some the advantages of international consistency, reusability and reduced shipping costs can outweigh the flexibility of custom.

Many of our clients will remain using, and indeed prefer, custom build stands to ensure the most creative event stand designs and flexibility for their shows.


In summary, digital is still going to be the greatest influencer in 2017 for stand design, event marketing and visitor experience. Exhibitions will continue to have a stronghold and important place within the events industry but will harness social media and live streaming. This will enable the industry to seamlessly interact with other platforms that focus on community, networking and content sharing.

Whatever your predictions for 2017 it is essential that you stand out from the crowd at your next exhibition and that you are adopting the best technology on your stand to generate the greatest return on your investment. If you’re planning a stand for 2017 or even 2018 then please email us at to discuss how Identity can help.