New 3D app and website intensifies virtual trade show experience

New 3D app and website intensifies virtual trade show experience
By Mia Burns (mia.burns@ubm.com)

GSW has launched an immersive application called iQ.3Dbooth, which is optimized for the pharma industry. The app brings a vivid trade show experience to computers, iPads, and other tablet devices. iQ.3Dbooth will enable drug companies to give physicians and other customers an interactive tour of their products, which in turn expands the potential audience and extending the life of the exhibit.

As an inVentiv Health company, GSW executives say that they have seen growing enthusiasm among pharmaceutical clients for iPad and Android-based VR marketing tools. These versatile apps generate excitement among customers such as prescribing physicians and pharmacists, some of whom frequently attend medical trade shows and understand the attraction of a booth that is rich in video and interactive features. In the past, when working with pharma companies, it could take software developers four months to build a virtual model of a booth with these components, which a representative might use to present product information to doctors. Now, because the elements of the digital model have been standardized in the app, such a virtual booth can be completed in days, not months.

GSW executives say that the creation of a virtual booth with iQ.3Dbooth takes just a few steps. First, the vendor creates a physical model of the booth, assembling all the content, such as literature, images, and videos. Next, the creator of the booth assigns locations where each of these “assets” will reside in the computer-generated model. As soon as GSW receives this information from the vendor, it loads the data onto a server and sends the vendor a passcode or token, which is typed into the login screen on the iPad app.

The client can now explore the virtual booth and take customers on a tour, navigating through the 3D environment by means of controls built into the user interface. As the operator rotates or changes the viewing perspective on the iPad or in a browser, he or she can interact with embedded hotspots to examine content such as PDF files, videos and interactive tables.

“iQ.3Dbooth is an interactive application that allows the user to explore the booth and interact with content within the booth as they wish,” says Dean Thornberry, VP of product marketing at GSW. “There is no interactivity between a live presenter and an attendee or between attendees.”

In addition, iQ.3Dbooth is programmed with a lead-generation feature that captures viewer information. This enables sales and marketing personnel to populate their CRM databases and follow up with app-generated leads.

“3Dbooth is another example of the commitment GSW has shown toward new product development,” said GSW President Joe Daley, who explained that the app is just one of many such products in the pipeline. “We will continue to innovate based on learnings from the front-lines of healthcare and we’ll develop new products like this to fit the ever-changing needs of physicians.” The agency is not at liberty to provide specific details about product roadmaps, but Thornberry told Med Ad News Daily, “We can say that we see opportunities that exist within virtual reality software and augmented reality viewers that will enhance our client’s branding efforts in the future.”

GSW launched the application to address current trends within the trade show industry, according to Thornberry. “There is certainly a value for users of iQ.3Dbooth wherein they can drive a greater percentage of tradeshow traffic to their booth by promoting the experience to visitors prior to the event, but iQ.3Dbooth was created as a product solution to observations and trends that we are seeing within the trade show marketplace across several areas,” he says. Thornberry lists these areas as follows: attendance in decline; interactive technology on increase; integration of iPads and smartphones on increase; no hassle zones have become a recent trend; and social media is on the increase.

“Trade show attendance, in general, has been on a steady decline for several years now,” Thornberry told Med Ad News Daily. “Many marketing executives today are questioning the importance of exhibiting and find difficulty justifying the amount of money they spend on tradeshows each year. 3DBooth allows the exhibitor to promote their experience online for an extended period of time. Before the event, they can promote the experience and drive awareness. After the show, they can promote it to customers who were unable to attend.”

Although trade show attendance has been down, spending has been on the increase for the past few years due largely to the addition of technology, according to Thornberry. “Technological use at trade shows are now commonplace,” he says. “Companies are looking to enhance the attendee experience through touchscreen plasma TVs, and simulation gaming experiences.”

Regarding the increase in mobile device usage, Thornberry says, “Currently, both iPads and iPhones are being integrated into trade shows in a larger and more meaningful capacity. iPads can be easily used in booths to demonstrate the newest technology, and offer a great deal of convenience. One of the major trade show trends in 2013 is that we are seeing the creation of demonstrations that allow attendees to take advantage of their phones. More and more apps are being designed specifically for trade shows, and, of course, smartphones are perfect for interactive presentations. iPads and smartphones seamlessly allow attendees and exhibitors to stay in contact with one another both before and after events.”

In some instances, exhibitors have created “no hassle” zones in their exhibit space so that people can view information without having to interact. “We’ve all been at a show when you just wanted to find out information about a company and not interact with the sales person at the booth,” Thornberry told Med Ad News Daily. “This may sound counter-intuitive, however, companies who tried it reported a HIGHER engagement than the previous year, as people found something they were interested in and sought out a salesperson. Usually this is done by either creating a small ‘inlet’ with information panels separated from the other part of the booth, or having a special zone that you designate salespeople to stay away from.”

In general, social media continues to be a pervasive factor in marketing, and more trade show exhibitors are taking advantage of websites like Facebook and Twitter to reach out to attendees, says Thornberry. “For example, many of our customers are using social media to build relationships with attendees before they step foot onto the trade show floor,” he told Med Ad News Daily. “A trade show trend for 2013 is to use social media as a communication lever on the show floor as well. 3Dbooth can be used to promote the experience online by providing a link to the booth to compliment social media strategies.”

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