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What Is Live Streaming and Why Would You Want To Do It in Your Exhibit?

If you are not satisfied limiting your trade show booth activities to only those who attend the show and you want the entire world to see what you’re doing, then live streaming might be for you.

Live streaming is, in short, broadcasting a live video feed over the Internet. To do this, you need three components in place.

  1. AV or Production Provider – These are the people who are behind the camera and those dealing with the production.
  2. Streaming Provider – These are the people who capture your video feed, compress it and stream it over the Internet to the viewing platform.
  3. Viewing Platform Provider – A viewing platform is the website your audience goes to, to view your presentation and interact with your presenters and other live and virtual attendees.

It sounds complicated, but your part is simple. All you need to do is determine what content you want the world to see, and then choose a way to deliver it.

By live streaming your booth activity and content, you are expanding your audience beyond just those who can attend the trade show. Journalists, bloggers, and potential customers in their offices around the world could tune in and attend your product launch or in-booth presentation. Many viewing platforms also give the viewer the ability to interact with other viewers and direct questions to the

Content That Could Be Live Streamed

In-Booth Product Demos – Be sure to focus the camera on the product being demonstrated and not the person doing the demonstration. Have the camera zoom in to frame only what the viewers want and need to see.

Press Events – Assign someone at the live event to look out for questions coming in from the viewing audience and feed them to the speaker. That person would act as the in-person representative for the entire viewing audience.

Interviews With Company Executives – As with the press events, you can open up questions from the viewing audience. Remind your executives to look directly at the camera when answering questions from the virtual audience. It’s the virtual equivalent of eye contact.

Product Launches – Be sure to have someone monitoring the chatter taking place on the viewing platform. It’s as if you were in the live audience and were able to hear what people were thinking or whispering to one another.

Now that we’ve whet your appetite for live streaming, it’s time to talk about the services available. For our purposes here, we’ll break the service options down by free (or freemium) services and professional services. Free and low-cost services such as Ustream and Livestream have the advantage of fitting within just about any budget while professional services can run in the tens of thousands of dollars and more.

Free and Freemium – You should ask yourself two questions before deciding to go with the inexpensive and free options. How edgy is your company and how important is this broadcast? You could use a free service and your smartphone video camera to live stream an in-booth product demo or interview. You could even do it over Wi-Fi. But there is a good chance the feed will be very choppy at best and the camera work may be…let’s just say artistic.

I’ve seen companies pull off live streaming this way, and they were very happy they tried it. But they did it as a fun add-on. It wasn’t a key part of their strategy.

Professional Providers – Some companies can provide all three components we mentioned above, and some providers offer just one or two components. What you get for your money are professional camera operators, backups if the feed goes down and support on the viewing platform side.

If your live stream is important, you probably want to go with professional providers. An example of an important event would be a product launch or press conference where you expect a good amount of media representatives tuning in and interacting with your presenter.

Whatever service you decide to use, live streaming is a great way to expand your audience beyond just those who are attending a particular show. If you already have product demos planned, why not experiment a bit and live-stream one or two?


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About the Author

Traci Browne is a Trade Show Consultant and Freelance Writer.

4 responses to “What Is Live Streaming and Why Would You Want To Do It in Your Exhibit?

  1. Great article, you’ve given me some great ideas! I’ll probably go with the “fun add-on” approach at first to give it a shot. But that’s a great way to leverage booth demos you are already giving and turn them into quality content you can repurpose elsewhere with little extra effort.

  2. Great post and great ideas. Another way to test the waters would be to videotape a product launch or demo and upload it to your web site immediately afterwards. If this is properly promoted it can be a great marketing tactic. Although you do lose the “live” aspect you can get an idea of the usefulness and engagement with video on your site. If all works out well you can move on to live video.

    1. I agree, practicing your video skills before going live is great advice. You just might find you have a knack for it and can save yourself a bundle of money on a professional video shoot if you capture a demo well. Bonus points for capturing a customer doing a hands on demo.

  3. Rick, the best advice I ever received when it comes to trying your hand at video came from Tim Washer, a comedy writer and creator of IBM’s brilliant “Art of the Sale” mainframe videos. He said to just start trying and doing it. You’ll never have anything until you press your finger down on that record button.
    I once live streamed from the show floor at Expo! Expo! for our weekly #ExpoChat twitter chat. I had no idea what I was doing but we were having fun. Finally one viewer let me know that I needed to keep my phone vertical. Our entire live stream was on it’s side. Despite that, everyone told us they were loving the fact they got to see and hear what was going on, on the show floor.
    Be sure to check out Meerkat and Periscope, two new live streaming apps that people are talking about. I don’t know much about them yet, but news organizations are testing them out with some success.

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