Posts Tagged : technology

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.

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.

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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.

 

 

Event Technology Trends 2015

Technology opens up opportunity and creates a more exciting way to display information, form interaction between attendees and gain real return on the output of your event. 2015 has already seen some of the most innovative event technologies come to the forefront and event planners and agencies everywhere, are putting their creativity to use in an increasingly digital age. If you want to stay ahead of the curve then read on to find out the technology trends that are making waves in the events industry this year.

 

EVENT PLANNING & ANALYTICS

Superior event management systems now mean that everything from an exhibition, to a conference, to a pop-up shop are easily trackable, sleeker and more sustainable. Our division Poken, which started out as an interactive NFC networking experience, has grown over the years into a full-service event management platform; driven by the needs of event organisers for a system that reduces paper waste, gives measurable ROI and adds an element of fun and spontaneity to event communications.

In-depth analytics have also become a key requirement of any exhibition or event and in recent years, event organisers have gone from not being able to obtain much analytical data during an event to being able to gather in-depth data on every aspect of the show – often in realtime. This creates a much more superior event ecosystem, where management is a ‘one stop shop’ that can be integrated with live activity occurring at the show – a trend that will only become more refined over the next year.

 

DRONES

Until recently, if you wanted to get footage of your event, you were limited to on-the-ground tripods and static filming. Now finally, there’s a new option that can majorly broaden your event filming horizon: drones. 

Drones have become much more popular recently, although they’ve quickly gained infamy due to the lack of fixed rules and regulations surrounding them that have been leading to some questionable usage from the general public. These rules should come into place soon, assuring that everyone’s on the same page as to how to safely and legally use their drones.

Despite this, drones are the perfect tool for providing you with the means to create sweeping aerial footage or take beautiful photography of your event with stabilised HD cameras, able to show off an event from all angles. From a PR perspective this is fantastic, and in theory, the potential applications for drones at an event are endless.

 

iBEACON

In 2013, Apple introduced ‘iBeacon’, a new piece of innovative software designed primarily for use within a retail environment. Most Apple products (and more recently, certain Android models) can emit a continuous low-powered transmitter that alerts any nearby ‘iBeacons’ to its presence. These beacons can then send notifications straight to your mobile, which when paired with realtime offers, deals, coupons or discount codes, can make for an enticing retail experience!

The iBeacon technology has many potential uses during a live event environment, where similarly to retail, exhibitors and sponsors need to grab attention quickly and retain it enough to draw in their audience. The application potential for iBeacon in the event technology space is vast, with options ranging from a more seamless registration process, to gamification, to meeting appointment systems and the tracking of attendee interests. The only thing to watch out for is to make sure attendees aren’t spammed too much or too often – you don’t want to put them off! Used with caution iBeacons have already proved themselves to be a strong way to give your event a personalised experience and drive crowds to your stand.

 

DIGITAL SETS

It used to be that sets at events were mostly static, with a few metres in the middle saved for moving visuals – which is okay, but not necessarily the most impressive of options.  Many of our clients are now looking for more than just a static set, in the form of a visual spectacle created from a wall of seamless high-end indoor LED screens, powered by a system such as Watchout, to master everything from visuals, to sound and lighting. What the organiser (and attendees) gain from this is a highly immersive, visually appealing and memorable spectacle that will boost the talking point and takeaways of your event.

 

Given that the content fed to the LED screens can be completely customisable and interchanging, a big benefit of digital sets is customisability. You can create impressive graphics that sweep from one side of the wall to the other, or use visuals and colour schemes to change the atmosphere of the event as and when you choose. You could even broadcast a live-feed of your social media applications for the audience to watch as they wait for their key speaker. The options are endless but one thing remains consistent: all of it can be done in high enough quality that even when showcasing images, your audience will feel like they could reach out and touch what’s being broadcast as if it were a real life asset.  Check out these photos from Peugeot’s 2014 event to see for yourself:


Peugeot-Screen4 Peugeot-Screen3

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These are just some of the options for utilising new, exciting tech to wow your attendees, and help your event stand out from the crowd. If you want to be kept in the loop of all things new and exciting sign up to receive our monthly tech update newsletter here.

 

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