We’re half past 2016, which has been an exciting year thus far in technological developments. With the introduction of consumer wearables like the Apple Watch and virtual reality (VR) gaming systems to be introduced to homes, we are definitely getting close to achieving the futuristic world predicted in cult film, Back to the Future. So what exactly does the development of these technology have to do with events? You’ll be surprised what game changers they are for your industry! Check out 4 event technology to look out for this year that are bound to stir up the events industry.
Radio-Frequency IDentification (RFID) wristbands/bracelets
Fashionable RFID bracelets for Coachella / Source
As mentioned above, wearables, like the Apple Watch are quickly becoming everyday products that facilitate day-to-day activities. So why not integrate them into your events as well? While RFID wristbands have been put into use for events such as music festivals and fashion shows since a few years ago, there is still much potential for a wide-scale adoption. These electronic wristbands contain data for guest identification, used wirelessly using radio frequencies, eliminating the need for physical tickets or checking names off the guest list. Before you dismiss this as a gimmicky replacement for tickets, there’s more to the technology! Firstly, the tracking tag installed on each bracelet contains unique information for each attendee, making forgery difficult and in turn, improving event security. Secondly, the use of these tags can also allow you, as the event planner to acquire data on your attendees, such as the attendance, flow of traffic, and time spent at each booth. Lastly, the RFID wristband can also be utilized for cashless payments, which can facilitate queues at booths and minimize waiting time for guests when they want to make purchases. Integrating the RFID wristbands can make for a savvy tool at your event, and make your event planning a breeze.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons
Example of a man receiving signals on his smartphone from BLE beacons transmitting from shops / Source
Imagine walking around a crowded trade show, with staff at every corner calling out to you and beckoning you to enter their booth. Sounds like a nightmare? This is where BLE beacons come in to make the experience less horrifying. BLE utilizes Bluetooth technology that consumes a lot less energy than traditional Bluetooth, but with a tighter network range. Unlike traditional Bluetooth that is used for transmitting larger data like music and video, BLE transmits periodic data signals from small devices called beacons. Now replace the staff in the situation described above with BLE beacons, and imagine a streamlined environment where you are able to receive these calls on your smartphone and decide if it is worth your time. Because these signals communicate directly with any Bluetooth-enabled phone, BLE is accessible to event-goers and eliminates the need to set in place additional hardware that could be difficult for users to learn. BLE also value adds to any event application with the help of transmitting location-based messages. The one-way communication means that personal security will not become an issue, as the beacon will not collect any personal data from the user’s phones. Read more about how you can integrate Apple’s iBeacon into your events here.
Virtual reality (VR)
Event attendees taking part in a virtual race at Red Bull / Source
VR gaming has been on the rise, with the first VR theme park opening its doors in New York this July. The entertainment outlet, named The Void, transports players into an alternate reality with the help of a VR headset and haptic suit worn by the user, complemented by physical props equipped in the venue for a realistic experience. Virtual reality has also been made accessible to consumer homes, via headsets like Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive Pre and Sony’s Playstation VR. The use of VR opens possibilities for different methods of integration at your events. In the case of product launches, VR could offer event attendees a first look at the product, and to experience the product first-hand. It also offers opportunities for interactive and immersive learning, transporting the attendee into a practical situation, instead of sitting through a lecture and taking notes. Virtual reality eliminates the issue of location and distance as well, so anyone can be part of the event anywhere, as long as they possess VR technology. This means speakers can conduct talks from wherever they are, and likewise, attendees from around the globe are able to attend an event from the comfort of their homes, making events completely virtual.
Cloud-based Event Management Software (EMS)
Cloud-based management allows easy accessibility from any device, and allows you to make real-time changes / Source
As announced by Technavio from its market research study, the demands for cloud-based event management software will increase through 2020. EMS is already widely available on the market, offering all-in-one features to help any event organizer streamline their work, from planning, advertising, to managing attendees and attendance. Universities are also starting to use EMS for their events and activities, indicating the accessibility of EMS for amateur adoption. For event management professionals, the integration of these cloud-based solutions means you can save on both cost and time when organizing your events. Cloud-based EMS allow easy accessibility, so you can make real-time changes or adjustments to plans without any miscommunication with personnel involved, as they can receive updates and information immediately. Attendee data can also be collected and monitored on the fly. GEVME is an example of an inclusive cloud-based EMS, offering support for your event from the landing page to event marketing, ticketing, CRM, attendee management and much more! You can find out more about its features here.
As you can imagine, interaction and communication between event companies and attendees are moving away from the physical experience to one that is virtual and wireless. With such rapid developments in technology, you just never know what to expect in the years to come, and how technology can continue to shape and transform the events industry. What technology are you looking forward to this year and how do you think they will change events for both you and your attendees? Share with us in the comments below!