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A Glimpse of Tradeshow History (May 2015)

1907: Perfecting LEDs

Light Fair International
Lightfair International

Discoveries in LEDs were seen as early as 1907, but the first modern infrared LED was discovered in 1961 by engineers James R. Biard and Gary Pittman. LEDs weren’t widely used until white LEDs were perfected. Initially, some people thought LEDs would be short lived because the original white LEDs were expensive and inefficient.

At 2007 Lightfair International in New York, LEDs proved they were here to stay. From the venue itself to new lighting fixtures highlighted by exhibitors, energy-efficient, long-lasting LEDs emerged as a worthy opponent against incandescent and fluorescent lighting.

1983: Mobile app predictions

Corbin Ball
Corbin Ball

Mobile apps began with a prediction by Apple Founder Steve Jobs, who envisioned a new system to distribute software applications in June 1983. By the 1990s, cellphones began a year-by-year transformation that eventually settled into smartphones. The advent of 3G and 4G in the 2000s truly enabled the rise of mobile apps.

Catching on to the trend in 2000, Corbin Ball, a technology wizard to the meetings industry, made several predictions about how mobile apps would change cellphones and become a major part of the meetings industry. By 2010, all his predictions came true.

2010: QR Codes come to vogue at tradeshows

So the story goes that in 1994 Quick Response (QR) Codes started in Japan as an auto manufacturing tracking method for Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota.

2011 PACK EXPO
2011 PACK EXPO

Data from Mobio Identity Systems give hints as to when QR Codes officially arrived at tradeshows. It indicated that by the fourth quarter of 2010, QR Code scanning had grown rapidly.

This seems reasonable: By the 2011 PACK EXPO, using QR Codes at tradeshows was obviously a new phenomenon. Koroberi, a full-service agency, noticed that QR Codes were heavily used on marketing materials, such as signage. To avoid attendee confusion, these same marketing materials included instructions on how to use the QR Codes.

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