Exhibitions

Event Technology Movements to be Aware of in 2017
Event Technology Movements to be Aware of in 2017

Event Technology Movements to be Aware of in 2017

This time last year, we as well as many other event professionals, marketers and tech geniuses forecasted the rise of event technology in 2016. Sure enough, the past 12 months saw a growing importance of using technology to plan events and maximise attendee experience. The rate of technology innovation in events is accelerating at a rate whereby it’s now challenging to isolate just one new trend or technology shaping the future, as they combine with each other to create dynamic and multifaceted event experiences. Here we share some of the exciting event technology trends and products to watch out for in 2017 – and that your agency or brand team should be aware of.

Live Streaming Services

As social media channels gain market share through event coverage, and events gain attention through social media, the two will continue to work together this year. 2016 saw the use of live streaming events on social channels such as Facebook, Periscope and Meerkat, and next year, further developments and alterations will be made, as well as event planners increasing their Wi-Fi bandwidth in order to accommodate the growing demand for live streaming from attendees. With drones becoming more popular and widely accessible, they can work hand in hand with live streaming technology to capture footage of events and ensure a fuller and aesthetically exciting coverage. Live streaming your event is an opportunity to promote your event, and in real time let others know what they are out on. This will ultimately lead to growth and stronger ticket sales in the future.

Data Analytics Tools

With the development of data management systems and consequent improvement of data integration and analysis, 2017 is sure to see new metrics that can measure event success, which can help predict the success of, and improve impending events. Artificial intelligence tools (see below) with their ability to sort through data, will be catalysts to this trend.

Software Integrations

Online platforms that combine the various services offered by event platforms are currently in the making and will be used by event planners more in 2017. Because events are diverse and have different needs, it has been difficult to put together a tool which can cater to all the needs of every event. As a result, event professionals use different software for different purposes, such as booking venues, planning logistics etc.

2017 will see an influx of meetings software to cater to a wide range of demands, and there will be the use of newer cloud-based technology companies that can integrate with other systems.

Attendee Engagement

One of the most important event technology trends of 2017 will be tools that ensure and improve attendee engagement. The more an attendee is engaged in an experience, the greater impact is left on them and the higher the possibility of them returning to the next event or recommending it to others. It is now possible, and increasingly important, to increase the quality of events by giving your audience a voice and making their experience as immersive and interactive as possible. A multitude of technologies and themes have been developed that can turn passive audience members into active participants, such as gamification activity, networking tools, photosharing apps, easy mobile surveys, live polling tools, social Q&A’s and more. There are also, (and will be a further development of) tools that can monitor and analyse attendee sentiment in real time, thus proving the effect of increased engagement.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual and Augmented Reality is another way to increase attendee engagement, but due to its sheer genius and ground-breaking potential, deserves a paragraph of its own. With wearable technology already being tested such as Microsoft’s Hololens, there is a predicted growth for the consumer market in 2017 and this will be of tremendous value in the events industry, with particular use in tradeshows. Expect realistic virtual site inspections, virtual attendance- I.e. the NBA which is currently making plans to distribute games in VR, gamification- such as Pokemon Go developers who plan to integrate the game with events, VR and AR booths, and many more possibilities.

Cashless Events

As we are now more accustomed to online payments, 2017 will see developers find more ways to process payments online, whether it’s for purchasing tickets or merchandise, bidding for silent auction items and so on. There is already a growth in online payment technology and apps, and it is said that by 2017, many events will be completely cashless.

Identification technology

In 2017, expect to continue to see the disappearance of passwords, and a rise of fingerprint and facial recognition technology in events. These technologies can be used at the entrance for detecting guests who would normally display their ID, and along with biometrics, they can also be used to monitor the sentiment of attendees, measure their engagement and demographics. These technologies have been developed to detect gender, approximate age, ethnicity, mood and more.

Social Media Influence

The fashion, fitness, food, lifestyle and travel industries are known to collaborate social media influencers’ following to target the right audiences for their brands. 2017 will see event professionals adopting this trend, working with social media influencers to promote events, raise awareness and attract attendees. One example so far has been Caprice Burret who has over 64k followers and spoke at LSE’s Accelerate this year, retweeting everyone who mentioned her. As a result, the conference’s hashtag started trending on Twitter, something which may have been difficult to achieve alone.

Artificial Intelligence

Already with apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Now, there are heavy investments going into Artificial intelligence. This could help to remember attendees’ preferences and lead to a higher level of personalisation.

Which technology developments do you see leading the way for events in 2017? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter – tweet us @incredible_pg

event technology solutions
Six Questions To Find the Perfect Event Technology Solution

Event technology is part of what makes events, conferences and exhibitions tick. From registration to content display and interactive elements, finding the perfect event technology solution puts you on the right track to a great event. With the event technology solutions and deployment so integral to success, it’s crucial to ask the right questions that lead to the appropriate solutions. A good audio visual supplier and event technology provider is there to help you make the most of what’s on offer and find innovative ways to use the latest technology to fuel every area of your event. As a starting point, here are six questions that will help guide you towards event technology that fulfills your goals for the perfect event technology infusion.

1. Who are your visitors?

Different audiences will have a different response to the types of technology on offer. Rather than categorising by age or gender, it’s important to look at the personas and interests of your audience as a whole. Those attending Mobile World Congress, for example, are much more likely to be fluent in terms such as virtual reality and will take to new technology with ease. Those at a medical congress or association meeting may not. Whether your audience are technology-focused or not, you can still find ways to infuse and enhance their experience through great pieces of technology and custom-developed software. The focus on how they use it and why will just be slightly different. Perhaps you need extra stand staff on hand to provide demonstrations, or a quick introduction video before the main feature. Understanding your audience and how they react and respond to technology will help you to choose the solutions that engage, rather than alienate your audience. If in doubt, think about your attendee’s every day life. Do they use technology? Are they a native mobile user? Did they grow up alongside social media? The profile you build will allow your audio visual supplier to tailor their event technology solutions to your event.

2. How much time do your visitors have?

One of the most underrated points of event technology comes down to how much time your visitors have to explore your event or stand. Video content that needs 20 minutes of a visitor’s time or an experience with a two-hour queue is not going to work if your visitors only have a 15-minute slot. If your visitors are limited on time or have a huge number of stands to get round try to condense the experience into minutes rather than hours. Interactive technology is a great way to this, as are totem screens which allows visitors to watch, learn or engage in seconds.

3. What is the best way to utilise your event budget?

We are finding more and more event budgets becoming ubiquitous, with less emphasis placed on ‘technology’, ‘registration’, ‘engagement’ and so on, as the different areas collide. One way audio visual partners can help their clients to make the most of their event technology is by looking at technology which transgresses more than one area. For example, an interactive videowall which allows visitors to register interest in specific areas will save the need for a separate lead capture tool. Similarly, the iPhones needed to run a mobile event app for 50 sales staff, are often cheaper when hired from the AV partner already working on your stand than they would be to buy or rent separately.

4. What are your pain points?

We believe that technology should do more than just look good within a stand. It should also work harder to solve some of the pain points that agencies are given within their initial event brief. Perhaps this is attracting more visitors to the stand through the use of realtime social media feeds or live content, or using virtual reality to really help visitors ‘get’ what the brand does and how it does it. There are many forms of audio visual event technology which can help provide solutions to customer problems which just can’t be rectified through design or static features alone. Asking yourself (and your event technology partner) what can be done to fix the things keeping you up at night. Then make the technology you use work a little harder to fix it.

5. What is the event’s legacy?

Part of what makes the events and exhibitions industry more sustainable, is ensuring that the event leaves a legacy behind that extends long after the event ends. Event technology solutions can often help provide this. One example is an NFC touch-solution which both provides a platform for a full event management system before, during and after the event as well as increasing interactivity and allowing for lead capture. Not only increasing interactivity during the event, but also providing a personalised follow-up post event, all within one solution. Learning how to extend the event legacy pre and post-event is a great way to make budgets last longer and gain a return on the investment made.

 6. Is the experience socially-connected?

Social media has become an event staple, used to bring visitors into the experience and make them feel part of the journey. Event technology can facilitate social media, allowing visitors to become socially-connected through an interactive Q&A system, live tweet wall, check-in system or live streaming. More recently, event planners and organisers are beginning to recognise the importance of social customer service. Increasingly, event participants are turning to Twitter and other social channels in order to ask questions and report issues.

 

If you need help finding the perfect event technology solution then speak to our team – we’d love to help or book you in for an ‘Event Tech Masterclass’ to bring your team up to speed.

 

 

The importance of partnerships in event marketing

Event marketing is a constantly evolving ecosystem and no one knows this better than event planners and the design agencies they work with. In such a competitive market, either on-stand at a tradeshow or wrapped up in a conference, brands are striving to stand out with their event marketing in order to make a mark on the minds of their customers.

The battle to be different has just one common denominator: the importance of working with reliable cross-channel partners. From audio visual suppliers, through to digital agencies, caterers, staffing and the event venues and organisers themselves, the partners a brand chooses can often have a huge impact on success.

 

The pressures

With events becoming an omni-channel experience, catering to event attendees across digital, offline and face-to-face as well as through multi-devices and channels can be difficult. Event marketing has grown and evolved inline with other marketing practices and in an ‘always on’ world, event planners are under more pressure than ever to deliver. Events need to have an integrated online and offline experience, often taking into consideration platforms such as social media, email and blogging. Attendees also expect to be able to access event content through video, imagery, podcasts, written posts or whichever channel suits their personal preference. Learning each discipline in enough detail to be able to execute it successfully in the lead up to an event as well as within a live environment is a job for more than one person. But finding the right suppliers and ensuring that they can work together when the lines between digital and social media, design and content are so thin, can be an arduous task.

 

Integrated budgets

Integrated budgets is one of the approaches that event planners, and the wider industry, are now using in order to smooth the workload and make cross-channel partners work together more seamlessly. Event marketing now encompasses more than just email or registration software. Instead, it is a living, breathing organism which needs to retain fluidity so that it can adapt to insights and data that help it to evolve in line with its visitor’s needs. Having a single budget for content, another for communication and yet another for staffing can cause problems. Finding a content partner who can produce video, which then needs to be shared by a social media partner and broadcasted by an audio visual supplier, creates budget crossover in every area. Defining an ‘event marketing’ budget which can then be broken down into tens, or even hundreds, of supplier areas is often the way to ensure that the pragmatics don’t hold back success.

 

Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration

As well as sharing budgets across disciplines, collaboration is essential to the success of cross-channel partnerships. With brands and event planners often employing more than one event supplier within the same area to contribute towards their event, smooth relationships and open communication is key to success. This is aided by a trend within events, where many suppliers are now becoming experts in one area rather than master of all. This doesn’t mean that they cannot branch out, after all an audio visual supplier will always be able to offer iPads and laptops alongside their more advanced visual screens and videowalls, but it does mean that some suppliers will highlight their expertise in a single area, over everything else. This type of approach will allow for more successful relationships between agencies, brands and suppliers as well as clearer expectations on the roles and responsibilities of each supplier contributing to overall event success.

 

Multi-event partnerships

As many agencies and brands will know, tendering to work on a brand’s event marketing can be longwinded and time consuming for all those involved. More importantly, by the time the tendering process is complete and an agency selected, the brand may have pivoted or changed direction completely, therefore rendering plans redundant. To avoid this, some brands are now working towards a multi-event partnership, where the same suppliers and agencies are employed for a rolling contract. The benefit of this is that the event marketing legacy lives on far beyond the event itself. Agencies and suppliers incentivised by a single year contract will often be working to fulfill that event’s aims and to make it the best possible experience. Those who are contracted to work on the event campaign for two, or even five, years are in a better position to look at the long-term strategy of a brand’s event marketing and ensure that every event is a cog in a long term plan for success.

 

The events world has always been an exciting place to be, but in the foreseeable future, event marketing is about to become even more poignant. Events which are more complex and more integrated require advanced skillsets and multiple suppliers, all willing to work towards a single goal. As long as suppliers and agencies can adapt accordingly and future-proof both skillsets and a flexible approach to multi-partner working, the impact on the event industry as a whole will be unparalleled.

An event marketer’s guide to Virtual Reality

The events world is exploring the virtual and as a result, mixed reality technology has become a highly requested tool both within events and the wider world, to bring a virtual experience into a physical space. So what do you need to know about virtual reality in order to successfully embrace it at your next event?

What is ‘virtual reality’?

Virtual reality is the manifestation of a computer-generated simulation by specialist electronic equipment. For example, a visitor at a travel event may adopt a headset on a stand, in order to take them to a hotel room in Dubai to have a look around. Alternatively, they might put on a headset, or pair of googles and take a ‘train ride’ through a City. The difference between this and older methods of visualisation is that with VR, the visitor is fully immersed in an environment through the sense of sight. Remember those visual stimulator rides where you would get in to a big black box and watch a screen as if you were on a speedboat? While they were effective up to a point, virtual reality takes this to another level, where the only scene you can see is the one being portrayed to you, with no other visual to detract from the illusion.

The history of VR

The term ‘virtual reality’ first began to spike interest around the 1990s, when there were books and films that depicted signs of VR, as well as virtual reality games in arcades and shopping centers. Shoot forward to the early 2010s, when Oculus Rift began their Kickstarter campaign and it was clear that this was a technology that wasn’t going to go away. Further proved by Mark Zuckerburg’s announcement of a $2bn investment in Oculus Rift, which putvirtual reality firmly on the list for emerging technologies that others, such as Samsung and Apple, must soon explore.

Virtual reality and events

VR is certainly a big buzzword in events, but one that is yet to reach full potential. The difficultly in the past has been creating content that is able to show-off the technology in the best possible way. The VR experience needs to be high quality, or risk being rendered useless. The entire concept revolves around making a person feel that they are in a specific environment and more importantly, for the brain to register the scene as a reality. If there is a time-lag when you turn your head, or a stuck scene, the reality is broken. This means that without enough budget to create a properly tried, tested and well-designed piece of software, you might as well not bother. In live event environments especially, nothing is forgiven. Saying that, it is now much more affordable to create a VR experience – with most bespoke pieces of content creation starting at around £4K or £5K and moving upwards depending on length, complexity and resolution.

Modern headsets are becoming more sophisticated than original versions, with many able to react to human movement at lightening speed, adapting the view accordingly. The screens themselves also offer a high-quality image that could be mistaken for a real-life scene

When choosing which form of technology to employ it’s important to think about it’s use within your event environment – rather than a testing one. For example, VR devices such as the Samsung Gear are powered by a phone which in an event environment may be difficult to keep charged.

Lastly, virtual reality should always be considered in light of your wider strategy and brand aims. Technology for technologies sake will not enhance your visitor’s experience, but a well-thought out piece of technology that creates a memorable experience will. Focus on the brief and message and employ the technology to facilitate that. And if VR is the right vehicle, then well your visitors are in for a treat.

How brands are using dynamic content to connect with their audience

Dynamic content goes against every aspect that an exhibition stand once represented. Whereas exhibition stands were once static spaces where visitors were drawn in and given a single piece of content or concept to engage with, dynamic content now ensures that exhibition stands are personalised hubs, where every experience can be different.

This is key in an environment where visitors are often shouted at, rather than engaged and where a personalised piece of content can often cut through the noise of stands that contain blanket marketing messaging.

This caters fully to a millennial audience who studies have shown overwhelmingly believe that businesses both need a reset, as well as a re-focus on people, rather than profit. Dynamic content allows brands to put themselves on the same level as visitors during an event, exhibition or conference with a carefully crafted message or presentation that shows that they are listening.

Four examples of dynamic content being used by brands on an event floor

Traditional content needs testing and preloading, to ensure it can be shown across a screen videowall or LED during a live event environment but with the rise of certain high-level media servers content can now be updated and adapted in realtime. In an environment such as an award ceremony this creates huge scope for what is broadcast around the world, or even within the event itself. On an exhibition stand, it allows for content that can be much more fluid and adapted depending on events occurring on the showfloor, the time of day or even the weather conditions outside.

burberry

  1. Dynamic broadcast platforms

Smart Digital, the broadcast arm of IPG, creates digital media solutions for events and exhibitions. The Smart Digital Event TV platform allows organisers and exhibitors to broadcast key messaging, videos and showreels across the showfloor, YouTube channels and surrounding hotels, billboards and outdoor screens. In this type of environment, static pre-recorded content is often obsolete. Visitors who have often paid to attend an exhibition want to see content that is relevant to their experience while there. Dynamic Event TV broadcasts ensure that the messaging they see across a network of screens relates directly to the hall they are in, the day of the show and any news and updates that have been released in that moment.

Live dynamic broadcasts also allow exhibitors to have their key messages heard and provide them with a platform for releasing show news and products – something which exhibitions are renowned for. Furthermore, dynamic content allows those not attending to get a taste of what the show is really like – as it happens.

 airport

  1. Personalised presentations

Using a high-quality LED or seamless videowall display screen undoubtedly attracts eyeballs during a show. But once those eyes are looking over, a second step is needed to capture and retain attention. This is where personalised presentations, led by dynamic content processors, are a great way to keep visitors on the stand and interested for longer periods of time. Dynamic content changes can often be managed by the stand staff themselves; using iPads, tablets or other handheld-devices in order to flip content and make it more relevant to the audience who are there in that moment.

 vizril

  1. Unique interactive experiences

Sometimes it is the smallest details which can cause the biggest ripple. For example, an interactive kiosk which welcomes a visitor by name, to a show. Or perhaps a uniquely branded coffee cup which when placed on a table, creates a display of content which has been created specifically for that visitor, based on their interests and previous purchasing history. Interactive event technology facilitates an experience which is personal and more rewarding for the visitor. Rather than bombarding them with every piece of company information, it allows the visitor to choose their own experience and to craft it out of the content they are interested in. According to studies, leads that are nurtured with personalised content produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities.

reception

Exhibitions are no longer static spaces and environments must be built which put the interest of the visitor at the forefront. Personalised, dynamic content which changes visitor-to-visitor, by interest, age or any other demographic you can imagine, will help you to create a longer-lasting more meaningful connection with your audience. For help using event technology to create dynamic content at your event, speak to our audio visual specialist Smart AV at info@smart-av.com