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Coming prepared with the right technology at your next trade show can mean the difference between a raving success and a flop. Consider how much more engaged your audience would be if you showed them how your cross-platform product worked on all possible platforms — showing them the software on an iPad, tablet, notebook and PC would give them the best idea about how your product works. Even if your product isn’t cross-platform or software-related, your company would still benefit big time by capturing the unwavering interest of your audience with today’s latest and greatest tech. The following list covers just that — all the latest technology necessities for trade shows, whether you’re representing your company in a booth or are the host of the event.

Best Tablets for Trade Shows

Tablet and iPad kiosks are all the rage at trade shows. Walk around the floor of any large tech conference or trade show and you’ll likely see dozens of tablet and iPad-based booths and kiosks, all preloaded with the company’s content and ready to go. The idea is to not only have adequate tech in the tablet arena, but to have enough to go around — every interested trade show participant should have a tablet to peruse — before they get tired of waiting for one to open up. 

All the biggest companies continue to favor the iPad Pro for showing off their products at trade shows. The iPad Pro is available in two sizes, the 12.9-inch and the 9.7-inch. The 12.9-inch model has the highest resolution of any iOS device, coming in at a 2732×2048 resolution. The display is also antireflective and multi-touch.

Here are some more of the technical specifications of the newest 12.9-inch iPad Pro:

  • iOS 10
  • 8-megapixel camera
  • 32, 128, and 256 GB storage capacities
  • A9X chip with 64-bit architecture with a coprocessor
  • Four speakers

You must also find a way to ensure that this highly-portable piece of tech stays secure. One of the most popular tablet enclosures is the Bouncepad, which is designed for high-traffic environments. It features a six-point locking mechanism that can only be unlocked with an access key (Bouncepad, 2017).

Best PCs for Trade Shows

For those of you who need a full-fledged PC to show off your product at the next tech show, the AiO (all-in-one) market is the way to go. AiO PCs are portable, powerful, and many have massive trade show-worthy displays.

The all-new Asus Zen AiO Pro is great for trade shows — it features a sleek design, a 3840×2160 (4K) multi-touch display, Windows 10, an Intel quad-core i7 processor, an NVIDIA discrete (gaming-grade) graphics card, and four SSDs for super-fast app load and boot-up times. It was hailed as the “best overall all-in-one PC of 2017” by Tom’s Guide.

If you’re searching for a more affordable option, Lenovo’s 27-inch AiO 910 is also a solid choice. It features ample storage, up to an Intel i7 processor, and discrete graphics. Tom’s Guide gave this PC an 8/10.

Best Printers for Trade Shows

Portability and reliability should be on your mind when deciding on a printer for your next trade show. You’ll also want to think about the tasks you need the printer to perform: do you need to utilize all options, such as photo printing, scanning, and coping — but you still need it to be portable? If so, find a reliable all-in-one printer that also does photo printing. According to PCMag, the best AiO photo printers for 2017 include the Brother MFC-J985DW (inkjet), the Canon Pixma MG5720 Wireless (Inkjet), and the HP OfficeJet 250. All are ultra-portable, all-in-one photo printers that have earned at least a 4-star editor rating by PCMag.

Best Apps for Trade Shows

All of these trade show devices are nothing without the apps and software to show to your potential customers. While your company might already have apps designed and ample videos to show off, you can still benefit from these innovative apps designed just for trade shows use.

Some of the best apps designed just for trade shows are as follows:

  • CamCard: Allows the scanning of business cards as well as a feature to instantly add it to the cloud
  • BlueStone Nexus: Stores and translates your company’s marketing literature into several different languages
  • This app can also be used for lead generation and various trade show statistics
  • Expensify: Keeps track of trade show expenses; develops expense reports via spreadsheet
  • WhatsApp Messenger: Functions as a group messaging system; can deliver photos, videos and audio
  • Zkipster: Allows trade show attendees to “check in;” allows users to import name lists and print nametags

With the right apps, tablets, tablet security, PCs and printers at your booth, your next trade show is sure to be a success. Don’t forget to place a charging station at your booth as well — attendees will be looking for ways to charge their phones and tablets while at the show. By providing one free of charge, you create a great marketing opportunity for you and your company.