Making new tech work well

AIQ softens its resistance to new technology at RetailEX ASEAN by investing in pre-show communications and providing onsite demonstrations.

Event brief
Jointly organised by the Thai Retailers Association, Clarion Events and IMPACT Exhibition Management, and with the support of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, RetailEX ASEAN is an annual event that caters to retailers and brands focusing on the South-east Asian market. For the 2018 edition in September, the event was built on the theme, Transforming the ASEAN Retail Landscape.

Event owner Clarion Events wanted RetailEX ASEAN to go paperless and be environmentally-friendly, as well as allow exhibitors and sponsors to enjoy strong customer acquisition. It engaged Singapore-based computer vision solutions company, AIQ, to develop an event app that would satisfy the two objectives.

The eventual RetailEX ASEAN app, created by AIQ and powered by Artificial Intelligence, allowed attendees to interact with Video and Image Recognition Technology to connect with onsite exhibitors. With the same technology, attendees were able to explore retail possibilities, expectations, behaviour and opportunities in the ever-evolving South-east Asian community.

Challenges
As it was the first time that AIQ was implementing its technology in Bangkok, Thailand, the company’s main challenge was dealing with logistical preparations.

As well, according to AIQ CEO Marcus S Tan, AIQ’s Video and Image Recognition Technology is still being regarded as a disruptive technology that requires time for new users to adopt.

“It was a challenge to convince exhibitors that AIQ’s technology is able to cut down on (printing needs and costs),” Tan recalled.

“All in all, information needed from exhibitors and organisers were not readily provided as many of them needed time to get to know and understand our technology, as well as comprehend the reason behind the information request,” he said.

Solutions
Foreseeing the challenges that AIQ might encounter before and during RetailEX ASEAN, the team worked very closely with Clarion Events to craft an EDM about the mobile app and technology. This was sent to all event participants, calling on them to download and interact with the app ahead of the event.

With the convenience of AIQ’s technology, RetailEX ASEAN also managed to tap on gamification to allow their customers to scan and register for an on-site contest. It was a quick and seamless process of gathering participation for the contest.

Reminders to download and interact with the RetailEX ASEAN app were made via voice announcement in both English and Thai throughout the event.

AIQ also had a booth at the event to showcase its Video and Image Recognition Technology, as well as to reinforce the technology that RetailEX ASEAN app offers.

Bearing in mind that locals attending the exhibition may require language translation, AIQ also hired two Thai translators who stationed themselves at the booth throughout the event to clarify any doubts raised by visitors.

Tan also explained AIQ’s solution in a presentation and provided live demonstrations of how the technology works.

Key takeaways
Tan opined that it was important to work with the organiser to push the adoption of the technology at the event. For instance, posting on social media platforms to encourage participants to download the app before attending the event and educating participants about the technology.

“The understanding of AIQ’s technology is very important, hence the work of publicising and educating participants needs to be done in the local language of communication as well. This will help reduce the likelihood of facing communication breakdowns,” he said.

Tan also found that it was crucial to work closely with clients, so as to help them achieve their objectives with the use of AIQ’s technology.

“There is a need to communicate to them about the benefits of our technology; from kickstarting a pro-green initiative, to allowing for a multichannel, seamless connectivity across events and other brand touch points as well as cost savings.

Overall, the integration of these processes make for a brand experience that is 100 per cent interactive and unforgettable,” Tan surmised.

Event: RetailEX ASEAN 2018
Event owner: Clarion Events
Venue: IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Center, Bangkok, Thailand
Date: September 19-21, 2018
Number of participants: 3,600 industry players and more than 100 speakers

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