The latest technology trends can improve your events and help you better prove your return on investment (ROI). In the age of the digital transformation, new forms of event tech seem to be popping up nearly every day. How can event professionals keep up?
We asked our event experts what emerging technology they’re most excited about and why. Take a look at what our experts had to say, and how these tech trends may take your next event to ‘wow’ status.
1. Exciting New Ways to Connect on Virtual Platforms
Virtual platforms will need to continually evolve and offer enhanced production capabilities to support hybrid events and integrate with live experiences. This will require highly interactive and collaborative features to support audience engagement and community building as well as the investment of sponsors/exhibitors. It then must maximize the availability of live and on-demand content with online and off-line communications to reinforce messaging and keep the audience connected to the event and the brand.
2. Better Understanding of Layered Data
Event technology partners, like many others in our industry, are looking at ways to use their products differently to accommodate the shift from live events to virtual events. It has been great to see how so many have been able to tailor their offerings.
What I’ve been most excited about is the data captured through all of the technology platforms. We’re now able to overlay this data with live event data to understand trends and what’s driving behavior.
As we start to shift to hybrid—and eventually live events again—we can use these learnings to personalize engagement strategies for specific audiences, increase sponsorship revenue, tailor content and track ROI. This disruption has allowed us to look at event technology in a new way. I anticipate we will also see new technology hit the market faster due to the pandemic such as facial recognition and technology that supports social distancing. The pandemic has had a significant impact on our industry, but many are taking this time to adjust and tailor solutions to become stronger partners.
3. Connecting Data Without Drowning in It
I see comparative analytics and data viz as the most exciting tools that events need to be utilizing this year. We have seen virtual event platforms, registration sites, event apps, and award solutions expanding over the past few years. The growth in virtual events with robust reporting platforms has made events the mouth of an information funnel larger than ever, taking in endless data about attendees and prospective customers. Teams now need to figure out how to harness the large quantity of data into meaningful insights without drowning in the sheer volume of information. Sifting through that data using dashboards and comparative analysis allows us to hone in on ideal attendees, connect their engagement and behavior data together as one single source of truth, and mine for strategy insights hidden in the mountains of information. The dashboard becomes the heart of both operational efficiency as well as a content and strategy powerhouse.
4. A Seamless, Frictionless Content Experience
Mixed reality and immersive video technology continues to drive high interest and engagement. But what I’m really excited about is hardware and software companies providing on-ramps to create meaningful content. Google and Apple have taken steps toward integrating native augmented reality capabilities in their devices. Social companies like Snapchat have opened up channels to allow users and brands to create their own content on the platform. We no longer have to jump over the hurdle of how to deliver content to our audience. We can create content where they already are—creating a more seamless and frictionless content experience.
5. Putting the Sponsorship Touch Into Virtual & Hybrid Events
I’m excited about the evolution of sponsorship deliverables in the virtual event platform space. These technology platforms allow event organizers to provide some memorable touch points between sponsors and attendees:
- Virtual booth environments allows exposure to white papers, videos, contacts other content in a one-stop virtual shop.
- Virtual office hours and chats allow flexibility in an attendee’s day to reach out to a sponsor and setup some one and one time to collaborate.
- Gamification for sponsored prizes during a virtual event allows a sponsor an opportunity to promote their brand along with giving attendees a memorable experience.
6. Understanding the Basics & the Event’s “Why”
I think the recent changes in events and the world should encourage everyone to get back to basics. We can’t just wait or do what we have always done, we have to change it up. Events no longer look the same, and as partners, we at ITA Group have to change our mindset. How do we accomplish their goals and objectives in a way that is still engaging, safe and impactful? Why is this event important to your company, audience and partners? And then tie EVERYTHING back to the answers to those questions. Connect the dots for your attendees every step of the way and really drive home the meaning and purpose you want them to leave with. Clear communication and engagement will make your event stick.
As a side note, the question is not, ‘How can we do what we have always done, but virtually?’ That’s like saying, ‘How can I make this apple taste like an orange?’ Doable—but it’s going to be wonky and way more work than just saying, ‘Let’s try using an orange this time!’
This isn’t new, we have been encouraging this for a while. But a lot of the time the venue and the bells and whistles put these core values out of the spotlight. But now we can put all our focus into them, and I think that’s going to create an even better foundation for the future of our events (virtual, in person and hybrid). It’s not easy, a lot of our events are good because they are consistent and everyone knows exactly what they will get out of attending, but it’s not impossible to change it up and still make it worthwhile. The other part is being open to the ‘new normal’ and being willing to try something new or different because the world is changing—and we have to work with it. And don’t forget, having a partner to carry some of that burden of change is key too, you shouldn’t have to do this alone, and collectively we can really make something amazing!
- Once you know the core values of your event, plug in tools to bring it to life.
- With intriguing and captivating content and communication, engaging your audience pre-/during-/post-event with thoughtful surveys and touch bases that make them feel valued.
- Use technology that works with your goals and creates an open environment for your audience to drive it all home.
What Excites You About Emerging and Evolving Event Tech?
New advances in event technology stand to transform every element of the industry from snoresville to spectacular. The result will be truly personalized, deeply interactive and intensely meaningful brand experiences for each and every attendee that comes through the doors, creating lasting impact.
But new technology is only the beginning. Implementation, data analysis and reporting are just as important. If you can’t show event ROI to your leaders and stakeholders the future of your event(s) will be in jeopardy. Discover if you’re collecting and sharing all the metrics that matter by downloading our white paper: Prove Your Event ROI With These 8 Overlooked Metrics.