The top 10 tech trends shaping the events industry in 2018
In the events industry, new technology innovations continue to spring up, helping us to better communicate and connect with our audiences. From A.I powered chatbots acting as concierge systems for hotel guests, to facial recognition technology keeping us safe at events, we are seeing more and more emphasis being placed on how technology can support the attendee throughout the event cycle.
Below are Banks Sadler’s Top 10 Event Tech Trends and how they will shape the events industry in 2018.
As we start to fully leverage A.I. within the events industry, we are able to see the beginnings of a truly transformed events world. Experiences will be hyper-personalised for every individual, anticipating their needs and adapting in real time to help maximise the value attendees’ gain from being at an event. Whether it is customer service, tailored travel itineraries, networking technology or personalised assistants, the industry is slowly and surely beginning to tap into A.I. technology. If the industry can start to invest and innovate in this area as rapidly as other sectors are, then we are sure to see an incredibly exciting future for the events industry and the delegate experience.
Facial recognition has been one of the most hotly discussed and most widely debated tech trends of 2017. Whether it’s being used for unlocking your iPhone X, airport security or financial authentication, facial recognition technology is increasingly becoming a large part of our everyday lives. In the events industry, it is really still only in its infancy and we are likely to see huge advancements in this powerful technology in a short space of time as it becomes more widely used for online check-in, event security and audience emotion analysis.
Emerging as the immersive experience of choice, Mixed Reality has the potential to revolutionise engagement across the event space, creating more collaborative and data-driven experiences. The event design process as a whole could also be far more experiential, as planners start having the ability to design the event space, visualising room set up and production treatments within the physical area. Having the ability to see how the room could be used and to annotate notes for future event planning would be a very valuable and time-saving process.
MORE INSIGHTFUL DATA AND ANALYTICS
As we move to a more ‘connected’ world surrounded by an abundance of data, there hasn’t been a more important time than now for companies to harness their data and ensure its part of their event marketing strategy. Event budgets continue to be squeezed and clients are expecting a quantifiable return on their investment. Therefore the use of technology systems able to gather real-time information on the attendee from basic info to their more complex emotional behaviours is becoming more prevalent. Attendees are also now expecting greater personalisation when they attend events; both in the marketing communication and the live experience and organisers need to be able to support this requirement through better data gathering strategies.
With GDPR looming on the horizon, the subject of data security is becoming more prevalent with both regulation and society demanding that agencies take evermore responsibility. With so much activity now driven through digital channels, there is a growing wealth of user data which, if left unsecured, can lead to a real risk to both individuals and organisations. Whilst much of this seems to be slightly restrictive, once the industry has developed best practice and working solutions that can protect the audience, then we can begin the exciting journey of how we can use this agreed data to deliver truly engaging, meaningful and secure experiences for our clients.
GROWTH OF THE INTERNET OF THINGS
Whilst the events industry is still slow to adopt, there is still plenty of potential for event organisers to deliver more personalised moments through the Internet of Things. IoT allows organisers to be able to gather valuable data on their attendee including emotion, content preferences and location, whether that’s through mechanisms such as wearable technology or IoT enabled hotel rooms. This can provide data on attendee preferences at an event, allowing organisers to adapt and improve in real-time and ultimately provide a better delegate experience.
Businesses are still struggling with the amount of work that needs to be done internally to get their data to a point where it can be beneficial to them. 2018 will be the year that forces event marketers to realise that automation needs to be a fully-fledged part of their growth strategy. Many processes throughout the events cycle can be automated, from registrations to ticketing to event comms. If we use automation systems to focus on these tasks, it alleviates organisers to have a heavier focus on the more ‘human’ aspects of roles. Automation won’t mean a loss of jobs, but a discovery of new roles, reskilling and a radical but exciting restructuring of the workforce.
With lots of laborious and repetitive tasks involved in the events cycle, the use of robots can start to alleviate these jobs efficiently and accurately, leaving event staff to focus on the tasks that require the more human touch. As robots perform tasks and interact with attendees, they are also able to collect a vast amount of data throughout the process; recognising what music a guest would like playing in their hotel room on arrival, whether they usually have a pre-dinner G&T, or their dietary preferences. As we move into an era where its commonplace for people to use smart speaker devices, this puts robotics companies in a great position to experiment with this technology as the average human becomes far more accustomed to interaction with non-human devices.
THE ‘SMART CITY’ IS HERE
For event organisers, especially of the large-scale congresses/expos, the Smart City will soon become a decision-making factor. If a city can offer a smoother transport infrastructure, intelligent hotels for a more personalised delegate experience or smarter parking solutions, then this will always give an edge over other cities in the mix. For events, when using smart venues, the ability to use large spaces design to be configured to the needs of the audience, a more robust approach to catering and food management, as well as contactless payment and safer travel will always be of great appeal to the organiser; driving savings and an enhanced delegate experience.
THE RISE OF ONLINE BOOKING SPACE
Technological innovations, new meeting demands and increasing cost-consciousness are driving continued efforts around electronic sourcing for all meeting types. While it is clear that the demand for an online strategic sourcing solution is very apparent, there is still some way to go. However, to be a truly valuable tool, it will require the buy-in and participation of all major hotel chains, supported by a robust internal process designed to meet the procurement agenda of organisations. Once the inventory becomes available we believe there will be another industry leap forward.
Banks Sadler is an award-winning event management and venue sourcing agency with offices in London, Windsor, York, Düsseldorf, Paris and New York. They have been delivering meetings management and creative event consulting services to the world’s leading brands for 35 years, and each year deliver a wide range of solutions ranging from conferences, incentive programmes, gala dinners and investigator meetings through to strategic meetings management programmes, experiential activations and product launches. Their services can be used as a single service or a completely integrated solution.