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Picture This
To illustrate the data-dense Internet of Everything, Cisco Systems Inc. created an exhibit rich with information transmitted via LED screens, Nexus tablets, Christie MicroTiles, and Quick Response (QR) codes.
Cisco's Story Time
By Charles Pappas with photos by Padgett & Co. Inc.
Client: Cisco Systems Inc., San Jose, CA
Design/Fabrication: Mirror Show Management Inc., Webster, NY
Size: 210-by-95 feet (19,950 square feet)
Estimated Cost: $560,000
Estimated Cost/
Square Foot:
$28
hen Cisco Systems Inc. wanted to promote the Internet of Everything (IoE) – the name it gives to the billions of connections among people, machines, and data – to attendees at its Cisco Live 2013 conference, the company didn't rely on saltine-dry data dumps. Instead, it told a story with a skill Stephen King would have envied.

Working with Mirror Show Management Inc., Cisco crafted a 19,950-square-foot booth split into three main sections, much like a book's beginning, middle, and end. Attendees entered the booth under a massive 120-by-34-foot fabric canopy that served as the opening chapter. Three 10-by-20-foot LED screens embedded in the canopy ran 14 videos, each on different IoE-related topics such as wiring trees to the Internet to report on climate change. A few feet away, the Experience Wall ran a choreographed sequence of images and videos on the IoE. Made of 81 Christie MicroTiles, the 12-by-9-foot monolithic wall dazzled visitors with a 16-minute-long choreographed sequence of imaginative imagery. Above it was a custom 3-D animation of Mondrian-like lines zooming through space.

Mimicking a book's middle section where the story often becomes denser and richer, the booth's center offered much more data. In the 42-seat Solutions Theater, live product presentations ran throughout the day, while in the adjacent Social Lounge, up to 24 visitors tapped into eight Nexus tablets that linked to online info about the IoE. For even more info on topics such as network security, attendees accessed six Quick Response (QR) codes mounted on a nearby wall.

Every good story ends when all the threads tie together. Visitors finished in an area geared toward firsthand experience where they watched demos of Cisco's two-way video TelePresence system and other networking tools that took the idea of the IoE from abstract to actual. With the conference hitting record attendance, Cisco proved that by structuring its booth along the broad outlines of a story, it had ensured itself a happy ending.

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