What Event Tech to Watch in 2021

Author: Convene Editors       

event tech

The mixed reality technology at Marina Bay Sands’ Hybrid Broadcast Studio is one tech innovation that Yeoh Siew Hoon, founder and editor of Web in Travel (WiT), is interested in using for future hybrid events.

We asked event tech experts this question: What technologies and tech companies do you have your eye on to make a big splash in the business event tech space in 2021? Take a look at what they’re following.

Annett Polaszewski-Plath, CEO, Interprefy

1. Virtual networking technologies

The downside of hosting digital events is that platforms haven’t been able to deliver that personalized, engaging, and exciting experience that face-to-face events bring.

Annett Polaszewski-Plath

Annett Polaszewski-Plath

To make them truly stand out from the crowd, organizers are looking at tools to tackle this issue. Platforms such as Wonder.me are becoming increasingly popular as the events industry gets used to delivering a digital-first experience, allowing organizers to create personalized breakout spaces that function and feel closer to the real thing.

As digital events came to the forefront, the need for technologies that deliver personalized event experiences in the language of the audience’s choice was also a must. From our own point of view, we’ve partnered with several technology companies such as SpotMe, Intrado, ON24 and more throughout 2020 to bring remote interpretation services to companies and events across the world. Microsoft has also invited us to develop an integration into Microsoft Teams, allowing meeting and event organizers to offer a seamless multilingual experience to their audiences.

2. Technologies that connect hybrid audiences

Even though some small events are starting to take place face-to-face in some parts of the world, for the most part, 2021 will likely see a similar level of disruption as 2020. Hybrid events will, I’m sure, become prevalent to cater for both offline and online audiences.

In fact, prior to COVID, events were becoming more of an “experience” than just another plain old conference — a festivalization of business events where attendees would come away feeling not just educated but entertained too. This will be even more important online and in a hybrid set-up to bring both worlds together.

In 2021, adopting technology that provides this best of both worlds will be critical to event organizers — hosting the event in a central location for people on the ground and broadcasting it live for online audiences.

Hybrid events can deliver an experience that feels relevant for all sorts of organizations, not just large enterprises, but it’s important not to forget about the material on offer to attendees, as this is still the No. 1 thing to drive foot traffic — the technology simply allows you to deliver that material.

3. AI-driven web-conferencing technologies

From hyper-targeting audiences for more niche events and creating tailored schedules for attendees to gaining actionable insights from post-event analytics, intelligent AI-led conferencing will change the way we plan and organize events for the better in 2021.

The personalization of events in the new year will be key. Imagine, for instance, a global event that looked and felt like it was organized just for you.

AI allows for the personalization of events to tailor experiences to key individuals and even entire audiences. With AI-powered events, organizers can help attendees discover sessions specifically related to their interests and needs.

AI can also help create a more immersive experience for online events, as seen by Microsoft’s virtual stage technology, while companies such as Krisp offer AI noise-cancelling technology to minimize any unforeseen disruptions while speak- ing. Nvidia have recently offered a sneak peek into smart AI-driven ways of enhancing the virtual meeting experience.

Automated scribing of presentations, screen-resolution improvement, chatbots, background filtering, and even facial recognition — these are the benefits of AI-driven web-conferencing platforms that will drive online event engagement in 2021.


Yeoh Siew Hoon, founder and editor of Web in Travel (WiT)

“I love the mixed reality capabilities that Marina Bay Sands has just introduced. I will definitely be playing with that to see how we can use that to even better tell a story. And I think any other technology that allows us to … communicate and network better at virtual events.”


Liz Lathan, CMP, CEO, Haute Dokimazo

“We have our eyes on Splash for event registration and virtual events, Banzai for AI-driven audience acquisition for events, Zoom meetings for conversation- based events, and we’re really intrigued by SignalWire, SpatialChat, Gatherly, and QiqoChat for unique ways to interact during virtual events. We also think folks like LMG are doing great things for AR, VR, and simulated environments for top-end production.”


Corbin Ball, CSP, CMP, DES, Corbin Ball & Co.

“There has been an explosion of innovation in the virtual/hybrid meeting platform space over the past 10 months. The effects of this will long last the pandemic and I believe will change permanently events and business travel in significant ways. One of the more creative ways of managing this is exVo from Allseated, a virtual expo platform.


Peter Hinssen, PCMA Convening Leaders 2021 speaker and business author

“I think what we’re seeing now is a whole new set of capabilities and platforms and startups and creative potential coming up that we have to look at very seriously, because if we want to go beyond the classic Zoom or Microsoft Teams and still build in experience, there’s a whole set of opportunities there. … StreamYard … is a great example of building in that new type of experience that is really, really cool for a platform. And another one is a wonderful little app, which is called mmhmm, which spices up your Zoom calls and makes them a lot of fun.”


Gilles Bertaux, co-founder and CEO of Livestorm

Everything regarding ROI

  • Voice and video AI analysis to suggest and analyze
  • Audience-segmentation engines
  • Integrations

Collaboration

  • Integrating with auth systems and team records (e.g., Google Auth, Slack, etc).
  • Real-time collaboration live on documents of all types

Streaming

  • Mobile support for streamers
  • Restream on multiple platforms
  • Increase participant capacity while reducing latency