When you are interested to experience how does digitally extended presence feel in the future, you can already have this opportunity at present, by visiting Expo 2015 in Milan. A huge event, long preparation, enormous interest from visitors and immense information. I spent two days from early morning until late at night and I was lucky to visit 15 pavilions. I got an extraordinary impression on the theme “Feeding The Planet, Energy For Life”!
My focus being on the merging physical and digital reality in communication between the exhibitors and the visitors, I made a very tight list of four repeated digital tools on my research at Expo 2015, not in precise order:
- QR codes
- Virtual reality
QR codes replace 99% of standard advertising materials
When you are interested in a specific information, you just scan the code and unload the App, there you have it all in your hands, without the burden of heavy paper. Plus, the information on your devices is more accessible for its visual touch, thoughtful content and focused messages. After all, the team work is being completed in an organised manner long before the start of the event and not in the puzzle of what exactly to choose for printing.
The user has access to complete and visually designed content, all the time.
The whole area of the exhibition is covered by touch screen panels in the shape of big cylinders and I could scroll for any details I’d like to check for pavilion’s location, working time, events, info points etc. So if you came without any device at all, no worries, for the Expo has the screen panels easily findable across the whole area and you can even loan a computer.
It’s for the first time I witness bloggers and influencers are specially welcomed together with media accreditation.
Generally, the flow of visitors is part of the whole picture you can see while exploring the most innovative concepts of different country pavilions. The other part of users are scrolling the web sites and apps, sharing, commenting and participating online. A parallel world would you say? And yes, part of the visitors are not going online and part of the online users are not visiting the stand. Yet that doesn’t make the whole presence imaginatory. It just evidences how the technology can extend the interest and catalyse even more interest and new coming visitors.
Expo 2015 is the world of hashtags
You can see them everywhere at the entry of pavilions, on message boards on the walls and most stunning, on water falls.
I will always remember and associate the concept of Austria about synergy of technology and nature by the hashtag #BreathAustria. Visitors did not want to leave the pavilion for its refreshing oxygen flow and shadow of the forest.
Another favourite hashtag is that of USA #1in9bn. I wish it were printed on the board at the entry so when sharing the pictures visitors could have this message immediately on their image.
The examples of virtual reality at Expo 2015 can make a long list and the feelings cannot find the right words, or how would you describe yourself flying round the impressively beautiful city Astana, diving in deep Kazakhstan lakes, talking to hologram embassadors at the German pavilion at the language you choose or watching yourself on the hologram screen singing together with Sara at the end of her unforgettable story at the UAE pavilion. All my experience is convincing me about the accelerating impact of digital communication, making the connections and engagements between exhibitors and users easy, fast, complete, findable all the time, personal, and meaningful in the focused message of a hashtag.
Take the opportunity and visit Expo 2015 to have this personal extraordinary experience of virtual and physical reality, focused on the best concepts of food and energy management for the present and future of humanity. I’m actually still there, sharing tweets with the kind young people that guided me round the exhibition.
I will walk you around Expo 2015 though my Google Story in Photos, exploring more about the features of Google Photos, Google Maps, Locations. Stay tuned.
Featured image, myself at the Italian Pavilion #ThePotentialofBeauty Mirrors are used for the reality effect.