Emerging Tech for Enhanced Engagement & Wayfinding at Events

Event organizers are increasingly turning to advanced tech to make their events stand out from the crowd and attract returning exhibitors and attendees.

Two emerging technologies in this mix? Blue dot technology and location-based messaging. These innovations are shaking up trade shows, offering on-the-fly navigation and tailored interactions that boost engagement and efficiency.

Integrating these technologies brings significant advantages but also introduces challenges. These involve aligning your indoor positioning systems with diverse venue infrastructures and adhering to strict privacy laws. We're here to guide you through those technical and logistical hurdles to ensure everything runs smoothly. 

What’s Blue Dot Technology and Location-Based Messaging? 

Let’s start by defining these two core technologies!

Blue dot technology—also known as geolocation, wayfinding, or indoor positioning— is a little blue dot on your phone's map that shows exactly where you are on the venue floor. Think of it like standard GPS, which helps you find your way around large indoor spaces like malls, airports, museums, and conference centers. 

Your regular GPS doesn’t quite work indoors, so blue dot tech steps in to make navigating these spaces easier. 

Location-based messaging refers to the practice of sending messages to users based on their geographic location for a more personalized and engaging event experience

Location-based messaging is sometimes used interchangeably with the term geofencing. In reality, geofencing is the use of blue dot technology to create virtual boundaries or perimeters around a specific geographic area. When a user moves in or out of these virtual perimeters, geofencing technology triggers the sending of tailored messages through location-based messaging. For example, you can send a push notification when an event attendee is near your premium exhibitor's booth.

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Why Use Blue Dot Technology and Location-Based Messaging? 

Introducing wayfinding technology such as blue dot navigation and location-based messaging into your trade shows offers a range of benefits to attendees, exhibitors, and organizers alike. Let’s explore the benefits for each further!

For Attendees: A Personalized Event Journey

Blue dot technology and location-based messaging allow you to turn the vast event space into tailored attendee experiences by making it easier to discover and locate exhibitors and sessions that align with their interests, schedule, and location. 

With real-time guidance and updates, attendees are able to navigate the event space efficiently, ensuring they connect with the right people and participate in experiences most relevant to their goals.

For Exhibitors: Enhanced Visibility and Engagement

Exhibitors can leverage this direct line of communication to send personalized offers, demonstrations, or exclusive insights to qualified leads nearby. The result is increased booth traffic, enhanced engagement with potential customers, and a higher return on investment (ROI) for exhibitors.

Exhibitors can also harness data from these technologies to enhance their presence, and connect more effectively with attendees. This includes the adjustment of staff levels, demonstration timings, and engagement activities to match peak times or the use of attendee flow and dwell times to inform future decisions about booth location and design.

For Event Organizers: Streamlined Operations and Insights

By integrating blue dot technology and location-based messaging into their events, organizers are able to gain real-time insights into crowd movements, enabling them to manage crowds and optimize event flow. This creates a smoother, more enjoyable event for everyone involved, from attendees navigating the space to exhibitors engaging with potential customers.

Additionally, organizers can leverage the data from these technologies to design future events. Think, adjusting the event layout or scheduling popular sessions at popular times. This proactive approach ensures each event is more successful than the last by maximizing exhibitor ROI and attendee satisfaction.

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Blue Dot Technology and Location-Based Messaging Setup 

Ready to set up blue dot technology and location-based messaging at your next event? Here are the five components you’ll need:

Location Technology 

This is the technology that allows you to pinpoint exactly where your attendee is. It’s also necessary for geofencing. There are various technologies you can use to determine a user's indoor position. 

The most common include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons, Ultra-Wideband (UWB), and RFID. Each technology has its strengths and use cases, often depending on the required accuracy and the environment.

  • Beacons are these tiny gadgets that send out Bluetooth signals. Your phone picks up these signals when you're nearby, helping the event app show you where you are and where to go next. These are strategically positioned at each venue.
  • Ultra-wideband (UWB) is like a high-tech radar that can pinpoint your location inside a building very accurately by sending out radio waves to measure how far you are from several points, much like a bat uses echolocation to navigate.
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) uses tiny tags that emit radio signals. Think of it as a digital barcode. When you get close to a scanner, it detects the tag's signal, identifying what or who it's attached to, but it's more for scanning items or badges at close range rather than guiding you through spaces.

Indoor Maps 

Ensuring your event runs smoothly hinges on the precise layout of your venue, which is why accurate, digitized floor plans are crucial. They must mirror the real-life dimensions of your space to seamlessly integrate with your chosen event app.

At Swapcard, we take this to the next level by offering dynamic, interactive floor plans thanks to our partnership with ExpoFP and MapsPeople. This location intelligence platform offers invaluable insights into attendee movements and interactions so you can optimize event layout and flow for a truly engaging attendee experience.

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Content Management System (CMS)

Organizers and exhibitors need a digital space where they can create, manage, and send out messages and notifications to targeted users. This system must be user-friendly and reliable so busy organizers and exhibitors can use real-time data insights to put together tailored messages in little time. 

Swapcard offers a dedicated communications or notifications dashboard where you and your exhibitors can segment audiences, tailor messages, quickly analyze engagement metrics, and more.

Event App

For your attendees to view their location on the indoor map and receive location-based messages, they need a portable and user-friendly digital space. This will typically be in the form of an event app. This app may also provide navigation directions, search functionality, and personalized recommendations for sessions or booths to visit.

Swapcard’s mobile app offers a bookmark feature so attendees can easily find and get real-time updates on booths or sessions of interest. This feature is especially useful in large events where keeping track of exhibitors, sessions, and meetings can be overwhelming. 

In order to work properly, users have to grant these apps permission to access their device's location services. 

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Internet Connectivity

As attendees move around the event, location-based alerts tap into real-time data to send out timely notifications. But not everyone's phone service is up to the task. Signal strength can vary, and crowded events can clog the network, leading to spotty coverage for some. To make sure everyone gets the full experience, consider offering complimentary Wi-Fi at your events.

While some venues offer Wi-Fi coverage, it's a good idea to team up with the venue's tech crew to test the signal strength and reliability. That way, you can identify and address any potential dead zones or areas of weak signal at the venue— before the event kicks off.

💡 Top tip: Try adding more access points or Wi-Fi boosters to areas in your venue where the signal is patchy.

Best Practices to Implement Blue Dot Technology and Location-Based Messaging

To ensure a smooth integration and maximize the benefits of these technologies, follow these best practices:

Planning and Preparation

To make the most out of blue dot and location-based messaging technologies, begin by clearly defining your goals. 

What do you want to achieve? 

Perhaps your primary objective is to boost exhibitor ROI by offering an engaging way for them to promote their products or services, or maybe your main focus is to enhance networking by making it easy for attendees to meet up with like-minded individuals or speakers who are nearby. Once your objectives are laid out, you can tailor the technology to meet these specific needs.

Clarify your objectives first, then pair them with the right tech— while considering your venue's compatibility:

  • Wi-Fi for extensive reach
  • BLE Beacons for detailed guidance and custom notifications, and 
  • UWB for precise positioning

It's also important to look at the integration of these technologies with your existing event app or platform. Seamless integration ensures that you, your exhibitors, and attendees can access all features and benefits in one place. 

Finally, look for scalable solutions with flexible pricing so you can start small and expand as you see the value they bring to your events.

Training for Event Staff, Attendees, and Exhibitors

Make sure your onsite event team knows the ins and outs of blue dot and location-based messaging and how they can help attendees use these technologies to their advantage. A brief tutorial or FAQ section in your event app can help guide attendees through the features and help them get the most out of the event. 

For exhibitors, set limits on the number and frequency of messages they can send and give them pointers on how to draft location-based messages that actually delight attendees. Remember, nobody enjoys being spammed, so always prioritize quality over quantity.

Continuous Monitoring and Optimization

Once your event is underway, it’s a good idea to check the metrics on blue dot technology and location-based messaging performance. This means actively looking out for any technical glitches that might pop up so you can resolve them quickly, but also advising exhibitors on their use of the platform to drive meaningful interactions and conversions. By providing guidance and support to exhibitors, you can help them increase booth traffic and maximize their ROI.

Once the curtains close on your event, it's time to roll up your sleeves and dive into the data set. Look at which location-based messages had the highest click-through rates, which booths received the most traffic, and peak times when engagement spiked. Use these insights to determine what worked well and where improvements can be made for future events, ensuring that your next gathering is even more engaging and successful.

Privacy and Security Concerns

Consent is key when it comes to event data collection and usage. Simply letting your audience know what data points you're collecting, who it's been shared with, and how it'll be used helps to build trust and maintain the overall integrity and reputation of your event.

Another must is providing options for location tracking and notifications so attendees can personalize their experience and have greater control over their data. 

By implementing effective privacy management practices and clear communication, you not only foster trust but also ensure compliance with legal regulations, such as the  General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe.

Future Trends in Blue Dot Technology and Location-Based Messaging

In the future, events will use location-based technology to offer highly personalized experiences, customizing content, suggestions, and interactions based on each attendee's preferences and actions. 

Organizers will be able to use AI to analyze detailed location data provided by smartphones and send highly personalized automated messages. This means attendees can expect more tailored and predictive communication. 

Combine this with AR (Augmented Reality), and you get engaging navigation experiences, offering visual cues and interactive content to guide attendees seamlessly through event spaces.

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With advanced mapping and guidance, navigating through busy event spaces will be easier for everyone, including attendees with mobility limitations. AI-powered analyses of location data will allow organizers to manage crowds more effectively and modify schedules to improve flow and safety. This technology also promotes sustainability by helping organizers use resources more efficiently by predicting attendee movements and requirements.

Don't be afraid to embrace these advancements and explore integrations of blue dot and location-based messaging with other technologies such as AR, VR (Virtual Reality), and mobile apps can create unique and memorable experiences that differentiate your events.


Innovations like blue dot technology and location-based messaging are setting new standards for engagement and connectivity.

Gone are the days of traditional event setups where attendees wandered aimlessly, struggling to find relevant information or connect with the right people. Blue dot technology and location-based messaging offer attendees a personalized experience, organizers improved logistics and valuable insights, and exhibitors increased visibility and leads.

Get in touch today

Blessing Lola A.
Blessing Lola A.

Blessing Lola is a multilingual content marketer with a passion for the art of storytelling. For her, stories are the bridge connecting a brand with its audience, and she takes pleasure in using them to inspire, educate, and drive growth. When she isn’t crafting killer content for global brands, you’re likely to find her pondering the gender of an inanimate object in a random German supermarket. Die Nutella or Der Nutella? Das ist the question.

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