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Upon EFI’s creation in 1996, Florida became the first state in the USA to place the principal responsibility for economic development, international trade, research, and marketing in the hands of a business-government partnership. Motivating the move was the belief that, with hands-on participation by Florida businesses, Florida could develop into a sophisticated economy driven by diverse industries and international business. States across the nation have gone on to adopt this ground-breaking successful model. 

With the goal of advancing the economic development in Florida, EFI maintains a network of 6 domestic trade offices and 18 international offices across 13 countries, offering important trade and investment opportunities to provide new state-level market opportunities. As a public-private partnership of business and government leaders, EFI is changing the landscape of economic development in Florida, working to expand and diversify the state’s economy through private sector job creation, supporting more than 60,000 Florida exporting businesses through various activities and events. 

The Challenge

As the state of Florida’s principal organization for economic development, EFI regularly participates and plans in-person events with small to medium-sized organizations, with the goal of expanding trade by hosting their first international expo in 2021 as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to all in-person events being shuttered in 2020, EFI needed to find alternative ways to facilitate trade for Florida companies that could showcase their products and services to a global audience. 

With a very seasoned team of managers and directors averaging 15-20 years of experience driving successful in-person events, virtual event technology and execution was out of their current expertise. 

The Solution

EFI gathered colleagues from their local and international trade and development teams and started their due diligence with researching the best virtual platforms. 

“In our research, Nextech AR fit the criteria for what we were looking for in terms of putting on a virtual event of this scale.” 

Alejandra Henao, Director, International Trade and Development at Enterprise Florida 

Starting with a list of key requirements, EFI created a ‘wish list’ of services on how they envisioned their event, then expanded their efforts with a request for additional information through an inhouse selection panel before floating the project out to a bid, which Nextech won. 

Key vendor requirements delivered by Nextech: 

  1. Offering various booth sizes for small to medium sized manufacturers or service providers, with not all of them having the time or resources to develop a wide range of assets.  

  2. Hosting 3 webinars with production quality, devoted to foreign direct investment, innovation, and infrastructure.  

  3. Gathering speaker requirements together with their agendas, schedules, sound and screen needs. 

  4. Facilitating gamification offerings with a point system to increase customer engagement, rewarding participants where if they frequented the most – votes, views or downloads would provide the points.

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  5. Showcasing new products with additional information for download and a source library to house on demand recordings post event to extend the show’s reach for an additional  month. 

  6. Technical support during and after the show with exhibitor training videos to troubleshoot, navigate the platform and optimize customer uptime. 

  7. Enhanced communications through Q&A sessions, live chat box and robust calendar systems where business meetings and exhibitor activities could be requested, scheduled, and managed. 

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As our introduction into a virtual trade show, Nextech’s customer service, support, and expertise were essential in making this trade show a success. This experience will give us confidence to embrace digital events in the future. 

Alejandra Henao, Director, International Trade and Development at Enterprise Florida 

The Outcome 

5589 global registrations with the 178 exhibitors estimating $23 million in sales and growing, has made EFI’s first digital experience a huge success. 

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The on-demand capabilities offered 278 videos for visitors and non-visitors who could not attend due to time or time-zone challenges. 

Moving forward EFI will keep doing virtual events in the hybrid format even as restrictions ease in order to engage and maximize a wider audience to drive commerce and development in the state of Florida forward. 

About Nextech AR Solutions 

Nextech AR Solutions is a technology company that puts Augmented Reality (AR) at the center of everything we do. As an AR solutions provider, we take existing, proven, and successful business models like ecommerce, Advertising, Virtual Events, Digital Experiences, Digital Learning and augment these solutions with AR technology to deliver an elevated reality with a better return on investment across multiple time zones, languages, and devices. As a pioneer in immersive technology, Nextech AR is fundamentally changing the way we live work, play, shop and learn in the new digital economy through our integrated and innovative solutions. Nextech AR is beyond digital, offering a comprehensive range of personal experiences – from dazzling 3D models, human holograms and 360 portals - striving to create infinite possibilities for the masses through robust branded programs that deliver an unforgettable branded internal or external event, learning portal or product showroom. 

Check out our 3D and Augmented Reality offerings for virtual and hybrid events below! 

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Ready to expand your reach with a virtual event? Check out our platform fit with all the essentials and exciting Augmented Reality features here! 


Written by Nextech3D.ai