Written by: Anni Lindqvist, research scholar
Numerous industries were forced to employ more technology and reimagine nearly every aspect of their operations due to the pandemic. Technological changes sparked by Covid-19 are a form of acceleration for previously existing trends, in some cases. In other cases, the industry has changed radically, enabling the companies to demonstrate new values that, until now, consumers were not able or willing to see (CB Insights, 2020).
"Crisis can be... a catalyst or can speed up changes that are on the way — it almost can serve as an accelerant."Arun Sundararajan, New York University Stern School of Business professor and digital transformation researcher
The current outlook for the overall events industry is very complex. Many venues are looking at different options to prepare for potential re-openings by following all new regulations and restrictions. The future outside of virtual events seems very small indeed, as it takes the essence away. At the moment, only small events have a substantial chance of taking place, while the rest of the industry is still expecting new technologies they can depend on that can directly impact event feasibility once again (Solaris, 2020).
Research done in the past year has indicated that the spread of Covid-19 as an airborne virus makes it a big threat (Peplov, 2021). For decades now, the UV light technology is known to sterilize the air and kill 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses in it (Vystar Corp, 2020). The UV-C radiation acts as a disinfectant of air, water and nonporous surfaces (US Food and Drug Administration, 2021). Therefore, it is actively used in disinfecting hospital rooms, operating rooms, ambulances and public transport (Exhibition World, 2020).
The Exhibition Palace in Brussels, Belgium is tackling Covid-19 by equipping the whole site with UV-C purification installations. The installations employ a combination of technologies that makes it possible to use them when the public is present. Additionally, typical precautionary measures are reinforced as mandatory for the sector, such as masks, disinfectant gel, social distancing and organization of visitor flows, etc. With the new UV-C proactive measure, Brussels will set itself up as a pioneer leader in exhibition space safety and is ready to relaunch the event businesses (Event Planner, 2020).
Bluetooth devices, which were made wearable and gaining more popularity over the years in large trade shows, exhibitor marketing and networking events, are being repurposed on keeping the attendees safe. The technology will help notify the attendees by sound if the social distance is not met between attendees, or if a potential collaborator is nearby.
Proxxi was founded in 2015 out of the need for better electrical safety in industrial settings. Originally designed for utilities, Proxxi is now being used in various fields, such as the events sector (Lewis, 2020). The Proxxi Halo technology has already been tested at a live event held in Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino in Mystic Country, where the attendees were given physical-distancing wristbands. These wristbands worked through Bluetooth, buzzing whenever another participant came within six feet. This safety technology provided by Proxxi enables the event organizers to keep a record of interactions, which at a later stage can help in contact tracing for positive Covid-19 cases of the attendees after the event and who would need to take measures to quarantine (The Successful Meetings Staff, 2020). The bands operate on low-power giving the users a safe-monitoring all day without draining their smartphone batteries (Proxxi, 2020).
Indoor Lab’s technology can monitor occupancy limits, physical distancing, and foot traffic to ensure the spread of Covid-19 is moderated in heavily trafficked venues like stadiums, airports, retailers, concert halls and monuments. All of this will be available for the consumers via a mobile app (The Successful Meetings Staff, 2020).
This real-time analytics solution has recently helped Orlando International Airport (MCO) create safe terminals during the COVID-19 pandemic by utilizing the Safe Place™ solution by Indoor Lab (Cepton Technologies, 2021). The solution measures a traveler’s trail from the moment they step into the terminal within an accuracy of three centimeters. The digital information program advises passengers when occupancy levels at gates are no longer safe, recommending alternative locations where passengers safely wait. All this is done while being fully compliant with consumer privacy policies. The added Safe Place™ analytics set for airport operations is studying the cleaning precision, occupancy levels, and social distancing through a flyover management product giving the airport a more holistic view of what happens in the terminal in real-time (Business Wire, 2020).
Living in the 21st century enables us to have many tools available to keep businesses going through this pandemic. Professionals who are creative, informed and clever will be able to leverage all the current technologies and the advanced to make bigger events happen by reducing the risk of contagion. All these technological advancements bring a great opportunity for the EXPO to ensure their attendees' safety at all times. With the fast spread and the ability to control Covid-19, it is vital to have these technologies to help the organizers identify where there is a need for improvement to ensure the safety of all. Additionally, this could be a great selling point for Dubai to attract more footfall by ensuring all the precautionary measures are met and, even in Dubai's case, exceeded.
Anni Lindqvist is a research scholar with the HFTP Middle East Research Center. She is also a student at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Dubai, UAE.
Business Wire (2020) The Orlando International Airport and Synect Leverage the Indoor Lab’s Safe PlaceTM Platform to Keep Passengers Safe from the Risks of COVID-19. Available from: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201217005691/en/The-Orlando-International-Airport-and-Synect-Leverage-The-Indoor-Lab’s-Safe-PlaceTM-Platform-to-Keep-Passengers-Safe-from-the-Risks-of-COVID-19
CB Insights (2020) 24 Industries & Technologies that will shape the post-virus world. Available from: https://www.cbinsights.com/research/report/industries-tech-shaping-world-post-covid/
Cepton Technologies (2021) World-class lidar crowd analytics solution partnership to transform smart spaces with anonymized crowd perception. Available from: https://www.cepton.com/latest-news2/world-class-lidar-crowd-analytics-solution-partnership-to-transform-smart-spaces-with-anonymized-crowd-perception
Event Planner (2020) Brussels Expo will be the first Covid-safe exhibition location in the world. Available from: https://www.eventplanner.net/post/206_brussels-expo-will-be-the-first-covidsafe-exhibition-location-in-the-world.html
Exhibition World (2020) UV-C purification: a key step towards Covid-safe venues? Available from:...https://www.exhibitionworld.co.uk/uv-c-purification-a-key-step-towards-covid-safe-venues
Lewis, R. (2020) Proxxi Launches A COVID-19 Workplace Distance and Contact Tracker. Techcouver. Available from: https://techcouver.com/2020/04/14/proxxi-covid-19-workplace-distance-tracker/
Peplov, M. (2021) Which air purification technologies can tackle COVID-19? American Chemical Society. Available from: https://cen.acs.org/biological-chemistry/infectious-disease/air-purification-technologies-tackle-COVID/99/i9
Proxxi (2020) Covid-19 Safety solution. Available from: https://www.proxxi.co/contact
Solaris, J. (2020) The Technology That Can Make Events Possible in a Pandemic. SKIFT Inc. Available from: https://www.eventmanagerblog.com/coronavirus-possible-events
The Indoor Lab (2021) About the Indoor Lab. Available from: https://www.theindoorlab.com/about.htm
The Successful Meetings Staff (2020) 9 Event trends to watch in 2021. Succesful Meetings. Available from: https://www.successfulmeetings.com/Strategy/Meetings-Events/meeting-event-trends-2021-hotels- food-cvbs-technology
US Food and Drug Administration (2021) UV Lights and Lamps: Ultraviolet-C Radiation, Disinfection, and Coronavirus. Available from: https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/coronavirus-covid-19-and-medical-devices/uv-lights-and-lamps-ultraviolet-c-radiation-disinfection-and-coronavirus
Vystar Corp (2020) It’s Time To Look At UV-C Light Air Purification To Combat COVID-19 More Seriously. Global News Wire. Available from: https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/11/02/2118483/0/en/It-s-Time-To-Look-At-UV-C-Light-Air-Purification-To-Combat-COVID-19-More-Seriously.html