Meet the Experts – Proximity Detection Technology with Sylvain Audet
Hello Sylvain, welcome to The Exhibitor! Tell us a little about you and your professional journey.
My passion about technology started at age 15 when my parents bought our first family computer. Back then Internet was not known yet, it was the Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) era and I recall how exciting it was already back then to connect with remote computers and interact with people using technology.
My IT career started in the early 90’s, over the years, I have had the opportunity to participate to a wide variety of projects involvingseveral technologies. I went through the modern IT revolution one step at a time, starting from a junior network technician to software architect and owner of a consulting and recruiting agency.
In 2015, I started learning more about a new high-trend technology to interact with people and objects in physical world called Internet Of Things (IoT). IoT was very promising and truly exciting. At that moment, I was in quest of a new challenge so I decided to step into the adventure and start developing a high-tech platform that would allow interacting with people, objects and services in real-time anywhere in the world on people proximity and object-motion detection.
Could you explain us what is this technology all about and how it works?
At the core of proximity and object-motion detection is a technology called “Internet of Things” or “IoT”. It is more than likely that you already heard about it but you may be scratching your head figuring out what it is. The IoT refers to the connection of everyday objects to the Internet. Televisions, cars, kitchen appliances, even health monitors are all example of IoT devices.
Proximity and object-motion detection is made through the use of cameras and tiny sensors called beacons, which communicates with a central hub over the internet to trigger an action when people/object motion is detected.
How can detection technology help an exhibitor?
Exhibitors will benefit from using proximity detection in different ways:
- Increasing engagement to their brand/product by allowing their visitors to interact with the world around them in different ways:
- Push dynamic content to one or more display(s) (welcome message, special promo, etc.)
- Real-time or delayed Survey/rating
- Create light effects (switch on/off/dim/change color/blink)
- Switch on/off/control a remote device
- Send SMS, Tweets, Email, etc.
- Get a better understanding of visitors interactions within their booth:
- What product was picked-up the most/least;
- How many visitors went into the booth and how long they stayed;
- How many time door A was open compared to door B
What are the pre-requisites for using such technology at a trade show?
At a trade show, proximity detection requires the use of hardware and an IoT platform access. Depending on the size, environment and user-interactivities we want to create or analytics data we want to collect, an installation will require one or more computer-connected camera and/or one or more Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)sensor called beacon. They can be used in combination.
How does it integrates with a trade show strategy?
Proximity detection integrates into a trade show strategy to help building brand loyalty by emotionally connecting to the audience and collecting more data to get a better understanding of visitors’ behaviors in a booth to help improve ROI event after event.
How early should you prepare if you wish to use such technology at a show?
For the initial integration in your booth, you should start planning few months (3+) before the event to cover for material shipping delays and initial setup and configuration on the platform.
Some setup will require installation and testing within your booth prior to the event but once the initial integration is made, most configuration change can be done remotely so unless the physical setup changes on other events, no further delay will be required and the new installation can be re-usable for upcoming events.
What is your opinion about technologies like myfairtool that help tracking trade show results?
Technology is at the core of proximity detection and because it allows exhibitors to better understand booth visitors’ behaviors, proximity detection is a great addition to using myfairtool.
The Exhibitor’s prime focus is exhibitors ROI. Do you have any key recommendation to achieve that?
Emotionally connecting with your audience is an awesome feature provided by proximity detection technology and the power behind this technology and other like myfairtool is the data they can provide. Data is the key to understanding what people interacted with the least at your booth, proceed with the necessary adjustments and try to perform better at your next event to try increasing your ROI event after event.
Any additional tips for our readers?
Proximity detection with IoT is an emerging technology allowing real-time inter connectivity and interactivity inside or outside your booth without the need to exhibit full-sized product. As an example, someone manipulating a miniature product in their hand could remotely interact in real-time with a real-sized object and see it happen on a television at your booth.