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Mark Maydon, commercial director of Crowd Connected, explains how QR codes are transforming trade show navigation

In my December article I talked about how making floorplans ‘location aware’ is key to solving the navigation challenge for visitors at large-scale events. Can 2023 be the year that show navigation moves into the mainstream and we put behind us this unnecessary source of dissatisfaction?

Crowd Connected has been investing in QR codes to make that prospect more likely. Visitors can scan a QR code on event signage to find out where they are in relation to where they want to be, providing the person’s location when they most need it - when they need to plan a route.

As event planners know, there is no single solution to helping visitors navigate and the cost of printed floorplans and signage, ‘you are here’ boards, and mobile apps all mounts up. Budgets are tight and frequently events choose not to have a mobile app at all – which is often where app-less QR code navigation helps tremendously.

Another pressure organisers face is the need to remove paper and waste from events to meet their sustainability goals. Going digital is both better for the environment more user-friendly. Interactive maps can be searched for points of interest, and the quickest route to a destination can be shown. 

Crowd Connected phones

At this point, many organisers will be wondering what’s new about putting a floorplan online? And, if you are matching QR codes to maps with specific locations marked, doesn’t this create a huge workload? Makes you sweat just thinking about it.

By incorporating high-resolution QR codes into show signage, either as part of the design or as a sticker, all that needs to be done on set-up day is to mark the digital floorplan the location of the scanned codes. After that, the location of all the show’s signage has been checked and put on the map for the visitors to navigate.

This is precisely how we helped Clarion’s gaming industry mega show, ICE London, tackle the navigation problem in February. Andy Ventris, event director at ICE, explained: “ICE has the biggest footprint of any exhibition at London’s ExCeL, so navigation can be a headache, especially for first-time visitors who are unfamiliar with the show.”

If you’re following Clarion’s lead to tackle navigation at your next event, and aren’t investing in a mobile app, you might want to consider QR codes. Simple to deploy and low cost, they help the visitor in their moment of need to navigate the show. All that’s needed is a smartphone. And every visitor comes with one of those.