The event industry continues to experience new technology trends with every passing year. Keeping up with new features and products, however, can be a daunting task for event planners and organizers. Continue reading for a primer on a handful of the most exciting trends to keep an eye on during 2019.
Augmented reality has been popularized on smartphones (e.g. Pokemon Go) and other consumer products. The technology creates a digital overlay on top of the real world — in other words, someone can look through their smartphone and see digital renderings of objects and effects that can be interacted with through the screen. The technology is extremely effective at events for things like turn-by-turn directions, dynamic information about exhibitors and much more.
Unlike augmented reality, interactive VR transports attendees to a new place. A headset is common, but a truly multi-sensory experience includes additional items like gloves to completely engage each user in a new setting. The use cases for events range from virtually transporting attendees to the event itself or enabling attendees to experience a product demonstration unlike ever before.
Projection mapping, also called spatial augmented reality, projects something onto a three-dimensional object instead of a traditional screen. The projection can transform the object, whether it be projecting something across an entire building, new city development plans on a table or something else. The technology has been primarily used in the entertainment industry and advertising but is becoming more mainstream in the event industry in 2019.
Mobile event apps have been around for years, yet the technology is extremely fluid and enables event hosts to embrace many of the features on this list. Other features in mobile apps continue to evolve, too, such as gamification and creating a true year-round experience for attendees. Mobile apps should be viewed as a foundational technology choice for any event or meeting.
Proximity sensors like RFID and beacon technology enable attendees to receive valuable information in real-time based on their location at the event facility. RFID technology is a chip embedding into a card or other object and is often used in badges to expedite entry to an event or manage things like cashless payments of merchandise and refreshments.
Beacon technology, on the other hand, uses Bluetooth to communicate with attendees — for example, to send alerts with valuable information to people as they approach a particular exhibitor booth or product demonstration area.
Chatbotsemove some of the workload from event staff by performing basic customer service tasks and answering common questions attendees ask at events. Imagine using a robot to answer questions about purchasing event tickets, connecting to WiFi and travel information related to parking and directions. The vast majority of attendee questions can be addressed by creating frequently asked questions for the bot to answer while your staff spends their time and energy elsewhere.
Drones are everywhere in 2019, used by movie producers, hobbyists, and others to film anything imaginable at new and exciting angles. For event hosts, drones are effective for showing sweeping views of the event destination and facility to get everyone excited before the big day arrives. They can also film the event unfolding (even via a live stream) with overhead shots of a crowded exhibit hall or keynote speakers.
Most people associate blockchain technology with bitcoin and other alternative payment networks. The technology is also relevant in the event industry as individual privacy becomes more relevant with every passing year. Consider leveraging blockchain technology for registration and other components where attendee information could be compromised such as attendee tracking.
The ability to live stream your event opens up attendance to those who can’t make the physical destination. Reports indicate many people who attend remotely in a given year attend the event in person the following year.
Live streaming also enables many events to take place entirely online without the costs of traditional conferences and meetings. Don’t forget to use the live stream content after the event ends for social media, marketing next year’s happenings or creating a full archive of your event.
Check people into your event by using technology to recognize each attendee’s face. Facial recognition can save event staff plenty of time normally wasted handing out badges or searching through paperwork at a registration booth. The technology can also be used for increased security measures to ensure your attendees are safe (e.g. matching IDs to a criminal record database) or gauging attendee emotions to make event changes in real-time.