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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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