On April 17, 2018, after months of design and creative discussions, a caravan of tractor trailers, packed to the brim with LED tiles, graphics, Plexi and acrylic panels, and dozens of other exhibit materials, began the journey, 2700 miles across the country from VDA to Las Vegas. Upon arrival at the Sands Convention Center, these creative elements would be assembled into the foundation for many dynamic, interactive experiences for this year’s illustrious Dell Technologies World.
For over 15 years, VDA has partnered with Dell, and previously EMC, to create unique and memorable experiences on the expo floor, with numerous booths and exhibits designed to showcase the latest and most innovative products and solutions. Given the scale and size of this year’s conference, VDA pulled out all the stops to ensure that the experiences we created reflected the innovation and cutting-edge nature of the event. One of the IT industry’s premier events, Dell Technologies World is an opportunity for Dell to share its vision with attendees from around the globe. With a record-setting 14,000 attendees and an additional 35,000 participants via live streaming, Dell Technologies World 2018 (April 30-May 2) was the annual event’s biggest and most successful to date.
For this year’s Dell Technologies World, VDA developed unique exhibits and engaging activations for a number of Dell’s Business Units. We wanted to provide an overview of a handful of the key, dynamic environments VDA was proud to create, including booths for the Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG), Dell EMC Tech Connect, Dell EMC Global Alliances, and Dell EMC Services.
INFRASTRUCTURE SOLUTIONS GROUP (ISG)
At 140’ x 85’, the largest exhibit on the expo floor belonged to Dell’s ISG, or the Infrastructure Solutions Group. Comprised of the Server, Networking, Data Protection, Storage, and Converged Platform and Solutions Division (CPSD) teams, VDA was tasked with creating an environment that encouraged visitors to move throughout the space to interact with the five ISG teams. One of the challenges with a booth to this scale was ensuring that all teams and their equipment were represented to achieve their individual goals for Dell Technologies World. Using distinct lighting and signage, as well as six oversized custom “transformation” arches placed through the booth, VDA was able to fully capture each piece of the ISG group. Built with 2.6mm LED corner tiles and custom, hand-painted, faux concrete, the arches provided a physical transformation for each attendee as they passed underneath, shifting their focus from one ISG team to the next. Each quadrant of the booth included a distinct theater space where the ISG teams were able to share their solutions, equipment, and stories with the attendees.
The ISG team selected football – or soccer as we call it – as their booth theme, allowing visitors to explore different ISG solutions that Dell is leveraging to integrate AI and machine learning into the world’s most popular sport. Interactive displays and demonstration areas showcased ISG solutions that are helping improve the accuracy of officiating, the efficiency of ticketing systems, and the security and safety during games.
Dell EMC’s Tech Connect program is comprised of over 40 partners that help customers connect and acquire complete Dell EMC solutions including hardware, software and services. To draw in interest and encourage visitors to interact with the Tech Connect business unit, VDA created a “Jurassic World” themed booth complete, with the iconic “Jurassic Park” (or so-called “Tech World”) gates, a 40-foot wide volcano, dinosaurs, and large prehistoric trees. Although the booth was at the back of the expo floor, it proved to be one of the more popular exhibits during Dell Technologies World. Attendees were able to activate with a “passport program” through which they traveled from one booth to the next, having their passport stamped. With a fully stamped passport, attendees could return to the Tech Connect booth and claim a prize. To add to the theatrics of the booth, VDA brought in a full-scale latex, animated, movie-quality velociraptor for Photo Ops, and a mix of materials including real and hand-painted greenery, faux rusted metal, and presentation pedestals built to model tree trunks. The entire experience was designed to encourage visitors to stop by the center theater and watch a 15-minute video with more information on the Tech Connect partner program. The Tech Connect booth was a huge hit with attendees, the theme and activations serving their purpose well, driving traffic to the booth, which at times had a line down the aisles.
Dell EMC Global Alliances partners apply their deep business expertise, combined with Dell EMC solutions, to deliver digital transformation strategies that empower IT leadership and facilitate new business opportunities. As part of this year’s Dell Technologies World, the focus for the Global Alliances group was to create a space where they could engage partners in meaningful conversations and build new relationships. VDA was approached by the Global Alliances team with a wish list of “here’s what we want, check these boxes.” This turned out to be one of the most interesting challenges of all the booths VDA designed, trying to integrate all the client asks into a thoughtful, unique design. Rather than going the traditional route of building closed off, private meeting spaces that would cut the group off from the rest of the expo, VDA created several small open meeting areas throughout the exhibit that enabled the Global Alliances team to have personal meetings and demonstrations while still being connected and visible. We utilized chain curtains as a way to visually define the space, while keeping it physically open to passersby. Designed in a circular pattern around a small theater for presentations and demonstrations, the display was well received and very popular throughout the event.
DELL EMC SERVICES
Perhaps one of the more enchanting booths on the expo floor, VDA partnered with Dell EMC Services to bring the “magic” to life, showcasing Dell EMC Services’ ability to transform a customer’s experience, by offering consulting, deployment, training, and certification, support services, asset resale, and managed services. To illustrate this transformation, VDA designed a display that featured theatrical lighting throughout the booth to create a visually engaging and transformative experience for visitors. The theme of the booth was “magic” – and this story was told through fairy lights and moving gobos that imitated the swishing of a magic wand. VDA created the magic of illusion, rigging monitor displays overhead, using shiny, sleek laminate flooring on the theater stage, and creating oval infinity mirrors for each kiosk counter. With a magician for entertainment, engaging attendees in a unique and creative way, they were encouraged to interact with the many displays throughout the booth.
One of the challenges of this year’s Dell Technologies World was in deciding a theme concept for Dell EMC Services that could fully capture the show’s theme, “Make it Real,” and the business unit’s ability to transform their customer experiences. What originated as a Reality TV Show theme, with early talks of Dell EMC Services developing their own version of the popular HQ trivia game, gradually developed into a magic theme. Our creative team was able to design an imaginative environment that captured attendee interest, while maintaining the larger show theme, and staying true to client goals and messaging.
From early creative design, full development and fabrication, to staffing the event in Las Vegas, VDA was involved every step of the way with these Business Units to help make Dell Technologies World 2018 a huge success. The VDA team took a lot of time and care in designing the booth experiences for the Dell Technologies teams. Creating highly detailed CAD drawings, and fully realistic 3-dimensional renderings, to illustrate line of sight, and how attendees would experience the booth on approach and when walking through. Working a trade show of this scale also required close collaboration with a number of creative partners that handled different elements of graphics, AV equipment, lighting, etc. We worked in tandem with these partners to ensure client visions and needs were met. With a constant exchange of opinions and dialogue, we were able to deliver some truly remarkable booth environments for our Dell client teams and Dell Technologies World attendees. We were successful in exceeding client expectations, hitting high levels of engagement, and delivering truly unique experiences. With the expo floor open throughout the three-day event, the VDA team was on site around the clock to ensure that everything ran smoothly and that each of our clients were satisfied. As we reflect and recover from this year’s conference, VDA is already thinking about what we plan to do next year at Dell Technologies World 2019. Will you be there?