Technology has revolutionised every aspect of our lives, so it makes sense that it would impact the way we experience events too. For attendees, the latest tech can enhance their overall experience; it can drive engagement and change what could be a humdrum conference into a memorable and worthwhile event. For organisers, technology improves every stage of the event, be it in planning, execution or in post-event analysis.
So, regardless of venue or whether you’re holding a conference, forum, training exercise or exhibition, technology can transform the event. Here’s how:
From passive to engaged
In the past, events could often be long, dreary affairs that left attendees’ minds wandering. However, as Brian Solis, principal at Altimeter Group, notes, the things that were once signals of disengagement are now encouraging tell-tale signs. He explains: “There was a time we'd ask you to turn your phones off. There was a time when we wouldn't provide Wi-Fi. Now, I'm actually better off if I just see your foreheads lift up. It means you're sharing the experience."
Invariably, technology has shifted the audience’s role from being passive to actively engaged. By including a mobile app, the event shifts from being a lecture and into a conversation. It opens up the dialogue between the presenter and their audience, and invites them to participate with the event as it happens. Event technologies that allow audiences to interact with the presentation’s content through the likes of live polls and in-built messaging systems prove particularly effective.
Improved event security – both digitally and physically – means that organisers know exactly who is meant to be where and when. While digital tools open up a range of new cyber security issues, ever-improving cyber security measures and tools mean that audience data has never been safer.
Data is the golden child of technology and it works on a number of levels. Firstly, the data gained through the event gives insight back to the organisers about the overall experience, and – most importantly – how it can be improved. With advanced technologies, these improvements can be made in real time – helping organisations to immediately act on information.
Conversely, it also gives organisers a chance to personalise the experience for attendees. For instance, individual or group messaging can notify attendees about presentations or activities that are about to start. The more an organiser knows about its audience, the better the event will be. And as INC. noted, it isn’t inconceivable to picture a future where events are made up of smaller, segmented events that are tailored to individual taste.
Perhaps the most significant tech to come onto the event scene is the mobile app, because quite simply, it is unrivalled when it comes to gathering data and audience insights in real-time. Our own event app, Chime, helps audiences to connect with both the speaker and each other using instant messaging systems, polls, custom-built tour guides and even games that act as an icebreaker when networking.
Technology has sent seismic waves across the industry and ultimately, improved it for the better. What the future holds for events is unclear but it is exciting – get in touch today to learn more.