With the pressure on to boost attendees’ experiences, event tech takes centre stage.
By Boardroom editors
Budgets may be shrinking, but conference attendees’ expectations keep growing. So how can planners capture and engage an audience? According to the most recent IACC “Meeting Room of the Future” report, 90 percent of event planners say their job requires more “experience creation” than it did two to five years ago. And one way to create experiences is event technology. An Enterprise Event Marketing study from 2016 found that event technology can help increase attendance by up to 20 percent while decreasing costs by as much 30 percent. With the increased focus on event tech, here are three trends for event strategists to keep an eye on this year:
- Facial Recognition: Saving time is high on everyone’s list, and one feature that speeds along check-in (while ensuring security) is facial recognition. Danny Stevens, CEO of fielddrive, was asked about the top event trends for 2019 during a session at IBTM World. “The main change,” he said, “will be the way in which event organisers manage event check-in using facial recognition. Already [in 2018] we have noticed that event organisers are interested in this technology and are eager to try it out at many events. It’s secure and it wows attendees from the very beginning of the event.”
Instead of searching for printed tickets or e-receipts on a smartphone, attendees can simply smile at a camera, speeding up the admission process and reducing time spent standing in a queue.
- The Continued Rise of AI: Artificial intelligence (AI) is weaving its way into everything from event apps to social media channels. That should come as little surprise since the AI market is estimated to grow to $190 billion by 2025, according to research firm Markets and Markets.
According to Medium, Facebook chatbots are one of the more popular ways AI has been incorporated into social media. But some developers are going even farther, creating stand-alone chatbots for events or using AI robots to keep audiences entertained — and to hail them a taxi when they’re ready to head home.
- Powerful, Immersive Presentations: “Using live video mapping and drone and camera technology, which feed directly into media servers for immersive presentations, are set to become the next big things in event tech,” according to Andy Johnston, business development director, corporate and events, for PRG UK Ltd. In his session at IBTM World 2018 (aptly titled “What can we expect from the event of the future?”), Johnston explained that 270-degree presentations “turn passive spectators into participants in a speaker’s presentation.”
Attendees are no longer just watching the presentation — they become part of it.
For more on 2019 forecasts, read what trends Convene editors expect to make waves this year.