Art Guild: What 2017 May Have In Store For Exhibits, Retail and More

by | Nov 1, 2016

Some notable historical anniversaries will take place in 2017 – like the centennial of the Russian October Revolution. Slightly less notable anniversaries include the 200th anniversary of the bicycle, created by Germany’s Karl Drais who died penniless. The 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love whose soundtrack for many was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. And the 60th anniversary of the Frisbee.

But what about new things that will happen in 2017? Here are a few selected predictions.

Conspiracy theorists will rejoice when the last government records regarding JFK’s assassination will be released in October, but what will they uncover?

The rise of virtual personal assistants – software that will get to know its “boss” and his or her activities and preferences so well, it can almost perform the role of a real, live personal assistant. Look for this technology to begin to find its way into retail stores and live events.

Virtual reality will get even bigger than it did in 2016, a year that marked the opening of the world’s first virtual reality cinema in Amsterdam (see photo). One VR highlight in 2017 will be the 360-degree still-camera, forecasted to change the way artists and journalists – and hence all of us – view our world (see photo). These cameras allow a picture taker to freeze and capture everything around them at any moment in time. Like VR movies, “photos” can be shared via a VR headset. Imagine how such images could be used at tradeshows and events – or how they could help home furnishings retailers and manufacturers. Consider the difference for a shopper between looking at a flat photo of kitchen and “being” in it.

There will be more and more tradeshow exhibits and retail environments that are less about selling product and more about educational, entertaining brand-related experiences. Like Dyson’s new U.K. store – 2 floors dedicated primarily to educating customers on Dyson’s product technology in an environment that feels more like an interactive museum than a store (see photo). And Minute Maid’s holiday season pop-up store that doesn’t sell anything, but instead encourages visitors to write a kind letter to their parents as part of the brand’s #DoingGood campaign. Customers get free paper and pen, free wrapping, and a free bottle of Minute Maid juice when they sit down to write a heartfelt letter.

Voice control of devices has been around for years (Siri and Cortana are a couple of examples), but in 2017 advances in AI and speech recognition will make voice control far more widely useful and adopted. Imagine laying on the couch talking to your house, or speaking rather than typing into your computer, giving all our fingers a well-deserved rest. Along with these on-line listening devices will come serious privacy concerns.

Gene therapy – first heralded as a miracle treatment in the 1990s – will come into its own. It treats gene-related diseases by introducing – often via a virus – a correct copy of DNA into cells. Expect a number or therapies for specific diseases to be approved in 2017.

Finally, easier access to Cuban Cigars (think potential premiums and event draws) thanks to Obama’s loosening of restrictions on imports.

Sources include The Economist, Exhibitor, PSFK and Shop