Posts Tagged : experiential

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

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