The latest technology trends can improve your event and help you stand out from the crowd. 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. Capturing More Data Means a More Personal Experience
“I see event app and registration platform developments as the most exciting meeting and event tools that are coming to the surface this year. We are on the cusp of registration sites and event apps expanding to include additional data collection features. As they grow from being basic logistic tools to being the mouth of an event information funnel taking in endless actionable data about attendees and prospective clients, the true power of acting on attendee data can start to reverberate in the event industry. Clients can create agendas that are exactly what their target attendees want, keynote addresses can respond on the fly to app questions or feedback, sales and marketing teams can dig into onsite app data to see what expo booth or breakout session topic triggered a conversation or a request for more information or a sale that ended in a closed piece of business. The more data we can capture about the event attendees from the moment they heard of the event, to registration all the way through post event, the better we can create an event that meets and exceeds their needs. In turn, we can sort event data and pick out 'ideal attendees' to pinpoint what marketing tactics were most effective and how we can better attract those types of attendees to future events.”
2. RFID is the Place to Be
What excites me most about event technology is the idea of creating a completely seamless and immersive experience through the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, which can unlock immense value to the attendee, organizer, as well as company (in the case of corporate events). Attendees can scan their band to check into the event, reducing check-in times to mere seconds; they can use their band to indicate interest in a product or service, engage in social activations (an RFID-activated ‘virtual bartender’ is my personal favorite), purchase items or scan into sessions, to name a few things. Organizers can conserve show floor space (removing lines, removing personnel that may be replaced by RFID scanning stations), and unlock new and important metrics about the attendee experience. For example, at a particular social activation, an organizer could compare how long attendees spent in a certain area versus how many of them actually interacted with the activation, or what the most popular area of the show space was based on foot traffic. At the corporate level—and maybe most importantly—RFID bands can help to uncover incredibly meaningful data about how attendees felt about not only the conference itself, but all kinds of small aspects of the conference. These can be useful for conference follow-up, but can even be used in real-time by integrating back to Salesforce or Marketo.”
3. Reality Bites: Looking to Virtual and Augmented Reality
“We all know the basics of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), but I think we’ve just begun to tap into how we utilize this tech in the event space. First, we were tethered to a VR system, wearing headgear, and using hand controls. Now, we cut the wires and are exploring 'free-roam' play which opens up tremendous opportunities. We take an already cool experience and elevate it by making an attendee feel like they are actually in a virtual environment. Pushing the boundaries even further, we take the concept and capabilities of VR and combine it with physical elements to create a completely new environmental experience in real-time—which now brings in the AR component. Mixed, or hybrid reality, adds a whole new dimension to how we can incorporate event technology to our events and opens a multitude of possibilities for us. The real challenge is, and this is what excites me most about this tech—finding ways to use these tools to help define a brand, show a client’s culture, values and/or solve objectives, to create a truly memorable yet purposeful experience.”
4. Evolving Technologies Excite
“It isn’t just brand new, but evolving technologies that are driving the way experiences are being delivered. The growing adoption of cloud and API technology is making integrations much easier, which aid in expanding an organization’s reach to capture valuable event attendee data. This ‘real’ or ‘near time’ data, coupled with marketing automation capabilities, is pushing the envelope on how organizations are able to track ROI. At the same time, niche technology providers are becoming more mature. These providers are working through the market to identify complimentary technologies to partner with. This in turn creates a higher value add, additional options for clients and drives a more seamless attendee and administrative experiences, from sourcing through execution and back-end analytics.”
5. 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.”
6. Personalized Experiences Improved by Artificial Intelligence
“I love how technology is allowing us to create a more personalized experience for attendees within events. AI will allow us to understand our participants and tailor their event experience to meet their needs and surprise and delight them with experiences that are tailored specific to them. I'm also excited to see how facial recognition will impact our experiences onsite. Not only will this impact how we manage our attendees and the interaction we have with them from event check-in to monitoring interactions at the event, but also helps with safety and security at our events.”
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 impacts that will reverberate throughout 2018 and beyond.
But new technology is only the beginning. Implementing it is just as important. Along with the implementing new and evolving technology, your event must be memorable, create emotional ties and engage with attendees. You’ll find everything you need keep attendees coming back for more in our ebook, Growing Your Brand Through Immersive Experiences.