Technology trends

IBC Time Tunnel
Event Technology Trends for 2018

Technology is undoubtedly the fastest moving industry in the world. However you try to evolve, update and innovate, it can be difficult to stay ahead of the game.

It is key to our business to maintain the drive, desire and know-how to stay on the cutting-edge of event technology and on the cusp of the latest trends, so you don’t have to. And as we come to the end of an incredible year – filled with Smart AV implementing new and creative LED displays for world-famous events, including Dubai Airshow, MWC and more, as well as installing a brand new showroom, it’s time to look ahead and let you know what’s hot for event technology in 2018.

1. LED in place of projection

The myth that projection is more effective than LED has perpetuated across the event tech industry. As industry leaders, we can confirm that LED will be a key trend in 2018 and will continue to lead the way in place of traditional projection for more and more brands.

For those new to LED, it may not be obvious why LED will top the charts in 2018.

To break it down: First of all, LED has the edge on lighting. It is less affected by the existing lighting than a projector because it emits its own light and manages its own brightness. This means it can function as a high-quality display for outdoor events, fashion shows and sporting events without concern about the visibility.

What’s more, LED comes in a range of pixel pitches, from as little as 2mm, so you always achieve a high-quality HD finish. LED walls are also easy to set up and transport – with individual panels and modules that slot together easily and can be taken from show to show. This has endless benefits for displays at outdoor events, temporary showcases and exhibitions.   

Disney

2. Creative LED

In last year’s article, we predicted a rise in the use of creative LED. We were right! An increasing number of designers and builders throughout 2017 started see their vision become a reality using three-in-one creative LED, and the concept has quite literally transformed and shaped LED innovation.  

Smart AV were one of the earliest investors in 3.9mm creative LED – enabling designers to create curved, flat and edge LED designs in one early on. But throughout 2017 the company started to invest in the next level of high-resolution creative LED at a 2.6mm pixel pitch.

As we move into the new year, Smart AV now has over 325 SQM of 2mm creative LED – enabling clients the flexibility to create any shape they want, from the smallest structures to the biggest. Whatever the shape and design, the high-resolution display enables perfect HD with just 15 SQM of 2.6mm and 4K display with 60 SQM.

Creative LED

3. LED for impact

LED will become the go-to display for a range of brands and spaces in 2018 – thanks to its unforgettable impact and flexibility. As a medium, LED has been proven to offer a robust and high-quality solution for a range of different events, spaces and shows. Throughout 2017 we saw a huge shift in the level of investment in LED – with high-end stores and brands embracing the opportunity to create flexible and changeable displays as permanent LED fixtures. And this is set to increase.

These permanent installations include their own Content Management System to allow users to update graphics and content at the press of the button, which enables brands to display the latest products, campaign or messaging without having to refit the store.

LED is increasingly becoming the number one choice for big and impactful outdoor shows around the world, and has been gaining a key presence accompanying flying displays at some of the world’s biggest airshows, such as the Dubai Airshow and Paris Airshow.

GQ Men of the Year Awards

4. Functional virtual reality

Virtual reality (VR) is set to become more and more accessible, and even a functional tool, for brands in 2018. While VR has been considered essential hardware for gamers for a number of years, it hasn’t really “caught on” as a tool for brands. That is set to change in 2018.

Some brands are already ahead of the game in adopting virtual reality for this use. In 2017 and even earlier, we started to see some brands begin see its potential as a functional and informational platform. Makers is just one example of a brand of a B2B brand who is already doing this. At Parkek, Makers wanted to clients to really experience their carparks in a new and exciting way – so they chose virtual reality as the medium. The VR experience attracted attention to the stand, enabled the brand to stand out and gave customers a meaningful VR experience.

Read more here > https://smart-av.com/portfolio/samsung-gear-virtual-reality/  

Full service virtual reality concepts

5. Experience marketing

The event technology focus for 2018 will be “experience”. Customers today want to do more than just see content, they want to be a part of it. Smart AV have been investing in exciting new technology that allows brands to create immersive experiences that become unforgettable moments for customers, and using LED to reimagine out-of-this-world physical incarnations.  

At IBC 2017, Smart AV worked in partnership with the IBC Future Zone and Google to create the show-stopping IBC Time Tunnel – an experiential design rendered entirely with LED screens. The tunnel was built to represent the show’s multi-sensory theme, an example of how a creative concept can become a reality by using the latest technology. The tunnel’s screens were also used to present the show’s most memorable moments – giving visitors a chance to feel nostalgic from a new perspective.

These types of floor-to-ceiling displays are a chance for innovators and ambitious brands to present a magnificent virtual world in their own physical space.

And tunnels are just the start! With the right idea – experiential LED designs can be game-changing.  

IBC Time Tunnel

6. Livestreaming and social media integration

You’ve probably already noticed that most events in 2017 included some form of social media engagement – whether it be a fully-equipped Twitter wall or an event hashtag. While this might not be a new phenomenon at events, live social media integration is becoming a necessity.

This trend reflects the projected shift in 2018 to a greater emphasis on time-sensitive content – satisfying the desire to be part of events at the time they happen. Not only this, but live streaming can help not only with live experiences, but also with brand awareness. Moreover, live streaming and social media walls are primarily crowdsourced. So you can curate generated content and display your successes to potential customers, while accessing the views, experiences and stories of your customers.

When it comes to measuring the success of events, social media interaction and live streaming is the event marketer’s answer. Using this tool, marketers can analyse feedback and interaction to form an understanding of who their event customer is, as well as help to create a better experience in the future.

Social media and event technology

What’s exciting you for 2018?

As we head into the new year, what are your event goals for 2018? Brands that embrace innovation and the latest technology are leading the way when it comes to creativity, but that doesn’t mean you have to get left behind.

Smart AV are experts in event technology with a unique LED showroom that offers clients the chance to view their content in every pixel pitch and the specialist knowledge to bring all of the latest innovations directly to your brand. Whatever stage you are at, Smart AV can help you turn your dream creation into a reality. Contact the team today for a quote or a discussion with an expert technician.

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.

 

 

Event predictions for 2016

The start of a new year is a great time to look at what trends, features and new technologies will shape the year ahead. After all, if you’d said at the end of 2014 that we’d be reading messages on our iWatches and creating brand messaging in emojis while listening to Justin Bieber we may not have believed you.

So in the true spirit of a fresh new year, here are some of the event trends we expect to see being seeded through the world of pop-ups, events, exhibitions and conferences during the year ahead.

 

Enhanced event experiences

Events and exhibitions in particular, have always been an incredible feat, where large and often intricate structures are put together for the sole purpose of a day or two. This makes their message often more impactful than a permanent structure can hope to be, but this year we see the two merging. Events and exhibitions, which so often take their cues from the fast-moving world of retail and pop-up displays have become more innovative and more dynamic, whereas temporary structures have begun to invest more heavily in experience over design. Temporary events and exhibitions are doing more to embrace digital and social aspects, spending more on experience and making the environment feel intuitive, in order to mimic the attendee’s everyday life. Advanced technology such as high-resolution 2.5mm LED displays were once only suitable for permanent structures where they could be kept away from customers and built into more durable casings. Now, these types of solutions are available within event and exhibition environments creating a new option for designers and brands wishing to showcase content. In return, pop-ups and permanent structures are bringing in more aspects that draw the customer and the brand together, encouraging social sharing for discounts, mobile payment devices that can be taken onto the shop floor and interactive screen technology displays.

 

Purpose driven events

The big focus on the consumer cohort, ‘the Millennials’ which seemed to take over in 2015 will be set to continue in 2016 and as this group enters the industry and positions of buying power, we’ll see this affect the entire conception of events. As industry professionals, they’ll bring in new advancements, an enhanced knowledge of event technology and a heavy focus on purpose-driven events. What do we mean by this? Events that were once solely focused to sell, sell, sell will now swing back to more ‘people’ focused experiences. This means creating positive legacies from events, where the brand is able to ‘give back’ or create repercussions from their activity on the show floor. This may be as simple as partnering with a Not For Profit or worthwhile cause or giving up an event presence in order to spend on an experience or social project.

 

True engagement

Gone are the days where an event can be quantified by the number of attendees who sign up for a ticket. The progression in technology and big data means that brands and consumers now demand a higher level of data to prove return on interest. In 2016, when eyeballs and attention will be even more stretched across the on and offline worlds, creating true engagement and a way to measure it will be more important than ever. For audio visual suppliers, this means enhancing the technology that is able to provide data capture as well as monitoring number of views or time that the audience is engaged. For designers and partners, this means measuring everything from the number of tweets, through to conversations held on the stand, touchpoint check-ins and data viewed post-event. For brands, it means finding comprehensive ways to take the data captured, digest this and use it to improve the offering event-by-event.

 

Back to basics

In 2015 events seemed to be a platform for brands to show that they were bigger, better and more expressive than those next to them. In 2016, we predict a return to basics, where events simplify the connection between audience and brand in order to really communicate their most innate of brand values. Stripped back design, more intuitive technology and simple ways to communicate and create real face-to-face value will all help brands to embrace the event platform in the year ahead and make it their own.

 

The rise of event technology

If there’s one trend we have noticed over the past 12 months it’s the rise of event technology as a real contender to ensuring event success. Event planners are becoming more tech-savvy than ever and audio visual suppliers are going all out to provide event technology masterclasses and other learning opportunities, designed to enable planners to make the most of what’s on offer. The benefit of sophisticated event technology becoming more mainstream, is that the solutions become more affordable and better developed by the manufacturers who provide them. Over the years this has led to solutions such as bespoke content, which once stacked up into the tens of thousands, now becoming available for only a few hundred pounds. Not only does this rise in technology give the brands a continual vehicle through which to innovate their offering, but it also allows the customers using them to touch, test and takeaway the true message the brand is offering.

 

What event trends do you see becoming more important throughout the year ahead? Tweet us at @incredible_pg to let us know