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Industry insider: Exposure Analytics

10 Dec 2020

The location:live team had the pleasure of sitting down with Matthew Jenks, Head of Sales at Exposure Analytics and chat through all things 2020 including their capacity measurement for retail, and their predictions for 2021.

Who are Exposure Analytics?

Exposure Analytics are the market leaders in measuring and analysing human behaviours within spaces, providing digital data for the physical world.

“I personally believe that events in whatever capacity you want to think about, it’s a very broad word – exhibitions, theatres, experiential etc, will return in Spring.”

How was 2020 looking for Exposure Analytics?

2020 was looking great for us, up to the end of February we had done 40% of 2019s annual target. We have a lot of strong names under our belt who have used us for over a year now, including Amazon, Intel, Google, Android, Roche so moving in to 2020 we started thinking of ourselves as a major player.

March and April were the first few months of Covid, and we had big plans for those months, namely it was going to be our biggest year yet at Mobile World Congress. We witnessed the event snowball; we had sent our products over to Barcelona as it was underway – the stand builders and AV companies had already sent teams over who had been on site for two weeks rigging, then, all of a sudden it just stopped moving forward, stopped all together.  

We immediately sat down, as the small team that we are, and decided to plan for the worst; which was if no matter what, if we took no money in from March 2020 to December 2020, we would survive.

Then it naturally was a question of what we could do with that time, and we all agreed it was to come back a better company. We focused on tweaking the system and getting things done that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to do as we need to shut the system down to deploy new features.

Without any live events happening, how have you adapted?

The shape of what we targeted has been very different – we had to adapt both our technology and our company philosophy on where we want to put our attention.

People would usually use us to understand how many people have been in the building, wanting big numbers with no limits, whereas we quickly adapted the system to operate on alerts for capacity, so it was more of a capacity monitoring system opposed to a behavioural measurement system. We have done a lot with retail while the events industry has been inactive and thankfully manage to add some great new clients to our customer list.

We had one new cool project with a major art gallery space launching in West London, Cromwell Space. Each room has their own brands, or artist, or art house and they want to understand where are the people going, what are people gravitating towards – is it because of the layout or does it change when we change the content? That then informs the success of content in rooms. It is important because people can tend to make these decisions on thoughts and feelings and our goal is to help people make these decisions on facts and numeric data.

We do a lot with Mercedes Benz World and the retail spaces within their buildings. We have still been active but a stone in the ocean compared to what we normally do and what we would like to be doing.

But we are lucky that we are all still in a job. That has been the main thing for us, we are employed, we are alive, and we are healthy.

Do you think the shift in retail will change, or do you see that being a permanent change with people being more comfortable with online shopping?

I think from a fashion and high street retail perspective I think this is probably the kick it needed to adapt to a digital world anyway. You look and the way the high street was going already, the big family favourite names that have faded away like Woolworths and Toys R Us, it’s due to no other reason than they didn’t adapt to an ecommerce lifestyle. That is what people want, people want convenience.

Shopping was always going to have to go that way, you look at things five, ten years ago, the birth of the food court in places like Westfield where everything goes back to that word experience. Going to Westfield isn’t just a shopping trip anymore it is an experience, it’s a wine and dine, meet up with your friends, go to the cinema or casino. It is much more about going for the experience at Westfield vs ‘I need to go and get these new trainers from TopMan’ that world has changed now, people don’t need to do that anymore. This is why I think a lot of consumer exhibitions have died off also, people don’t need to travel to the NEC in Birmingham to go to the Gadget Show Live to see the amazing SONOS speaker – they can do that on the high street or online.

You can understand how good the product is without having to travel 150 miles on the train to London.

Whatever physical spaces remain, the pop-up spaces and experience side of the high street will thrive again – the need to measure and the enthusiasm to measure will increase because I think to survive they will need to understand more than they have understood before. When events and the high street does kick back in it will still come with its caveats, with its must dos, even when we are a vaccinated population, I don’t think they are going to let 80k people into Wembley Stadium overnight. It will come with its prerequisites. Capacity will be more important than it ever was before.

What are your predictions for the event industry in 2021?

I personally believe that events in whatever capacity you want to think about, it’s a very broad word – exhibitions, theatres, experiential, festivals, live events will return in Spring.

The first sign and first time we had to pull work was the Mobile World Congress, and it would be a really nice romantic story if that is where it all kicked off again, at the Mobile World Congress in March.

Everything they are talking about with vaccines it has the potential to be that way.  

Events in whatever capacity will have to return next year, from an economical and psychological point of view. We cannot withstand another year of no international travel, no gathering in groups, no physical experiences and events – the world can’t take it.

One thing I am looking forward to is seeing the year on year carbon emissions and what it has done for the planet. I think a lot of people forget how wonderful our world is and looks and how it has recovered with cleaner air. If you think that, an average day there would be around 190,000 flights around the world in anyone one day, so all of that was grounded, that will have done wonders for the world.

It’s been a in incredibly tough year for most, we’ve been incredibly lucky to be able to put our time and energy into productive things and were really excited to get the chance to show our current and new clients what we’ve spent our time building into the platform. We wish the entire industry the best. We look forward to seeing you all again in what will be a much more active year!

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