Posts Tagged : events

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 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

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

What Does ‘The Internet of Things’ Signal For the Future of Events?

The Internet of Things is a fascinating concept that, whilst not new, has been gaining momentum with the advancement of technology in recent years. The internet we use could almost be considered the internet of people. It allows us, humanity, to connect to one another globally via individual IP addresses. The Internet of Things, as the name suggests, has the same function, but connects objects to the internet, allowing them to transfer data via a network in order to talk to one another.

A basic example of how this is poised to work as a chain reaction in the future can be given using your morning routine: your smart watch or fitness tracker senses that you are waking up, sending a signal to your lamp and radio so that they start up, while your curtains begin to open and your bed adjusts itself to room temperature. In turn, your heating starts up in the bathroom and a fresh pot of coffee starts brewing before you’ve even opened your eyes. Sounds pretty enticing doesn’t it?

There are predictions that in the near future, a single person could have a network of 5,000 interconnected ‘things’ working for them at any given time. On a larger scale, every inanimate object might one day have its own IP address. This, of course, has huge implications in both our daily lives and for businesses.

But what does it mean for events?

First and foremost, it means more data. In reality, we only manage to record a fraction of potential data with the limited capabilities available to us right now. But with all manner of objects connected to the internet with the main aim of producing and using data, the amount that can be obtained and processed increases exponentially. There is already sophisticated event technology such as Poken, RFID solutions and interactive data capture hardware and software which can tell you enhanced insights about your event attendees and their journey around your event. But with the Internet of Things in full play, you could gain instant data on how many people pass through a booth, how many people sit on a chair, how many people touched a button, what they ate for lunch, who they spoke to, how many brochures they picked up or read. Essentially, attendee behavioural patterns become less of a mystery and more instantly quantifiable, creating a lead generation goldmine.

poken-event

 

The IoT also has huge benefits for your attendees in that they can be connected to everything and everyone at your event at all times. Registration could be automatic, as an RFID device would know when the attendee is approaching and would do the work for them. Networking would be as simple as touching NFC devices together to exchange digital business cards (this is already happening now!) There could be an up-to-the-minute app on the attendee’s phone, with everything from the current temperature to an individually customised schedule with notifications telling them when something they’ve expressed interest in is about to start, where it’s happening on the map, if it’s delayed, how many seats are still available…

Importantly for Event Managers, the Internet of Things could help you to stay in tune with every aspect of your event setup. Lighting, heating, air quality, and product stock levels can be kept in check by the objects in question – you wouldn’t have to lift a finger. If a food kiosk began to run low on stock, it would send an automatic notification to the relevant people who could fill it. A tweet complaining about the air conditioning could be picked up by the unit itself and readjusted to suit the attendee’s needs. Ambient lighting could be changed automatically depending on the surroundings. Not only will this help events to become more sustainable but it will also save time, manpower and money.

If the Internet of Things signals anything for the future of events, it’s higher efficiency. More efficient data production and recording, more efficient monitoring of attendees and more efficient spending. In an age where this type of technology is just starting to become ubiquitous, it’s a good idea to get ahead of the game and implement it into your event to make it more attractive to your ‘digital age’ attendees, who arrive expecting to see at least some facets of technological advancements at the events they attend. The Internet of Things is a fantastic example of this, and with connected objects appearing all the time, it’s a great time to start doing it – to take advantage of the novelty factor while it’s still there.


 

If you want to experiment with the Internet of Things and incorporate something truly up to the minute and on trend into your event, chat to our team today.