Now that we are officially two decades into the 21st-century, technology trends are taking over the events industry. These technologies are making life easier for event planners, and attendee experiences are being elevated as well.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many planners to transition their live event into a virtual or hybrid event. Many emerging event technologies have made these moves possible and it is likely that they will remain long after this health crisis is over.
Here are some of the top event technology trends of 2020 and what they might mean for your next event:
Top 8 Event Technology Trends to Watch in 2020
1. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
AR and VR are not new technologies but they have found a growing audience in the virtual event space. And now that most of us are social distancing in our homes, these technologies are providing a useful outlet.
Use the information you have collected on your target audience/attendees and create an experience that speaks directly to their interests and needs. This technology can be used to increase branding, engagement, and overall attendee/exhibitor experience.
2. Facial Recognition
Facial recognition technology is a software tool that tracks and logs a person’s facial features. While this tech trend is far from perfect, it can go a long way toward improving your event.
In particular, facial recognition can do two things: streamline check-in, and provide contactless entry to your event.
If an attendee opts into facial recognition, they will no longer have to stand in a registration line and wait while people search a list for a name or other relevant information. All they have to do is step up to be scanned and just like that, they’re in.
Once COVID-19 has been contained, it is likely that in-person events will have to practice social distancing measures as much as possible. Facial recognition allows for a contactless registration, meaning this technology is only going to grow in popularity in the months and years ahead.
While it may be a cool feature, there are some risks and pushbacks associated with it. Aside from the racial bias found in the current iterations of this technology, people, in general, are becoming increasingly concerned about their privacy and may be turned off by this option.
If using facial recognition, it is a good idea to enhance your cybersecurity so that any personal data being pulled from attendees is not easily accessible to identity thieves.
3. Live Streaming
Why limit your event to a physical, local, audience when live streaming can be used to reach a global one?
Event organizers have been using live streaming to deliver quality hybrid events for some time now, but with stay at home orders in place across much of North America, it has become even more significant.
Through the use of event platforms and social media, you can deliver content to people who may have been unable to attend in-person while increasing brand awareness and messaging. The more people talk about your live stream, the more curious people will be and the more likely they are to purchase tickets for any future event you plan.
Streaming can be used in a traditional event venue as well as it provides accessibility for event-goers who may have difficulty attending live events. If you are operating a large event, in a sprawling venue, consider setting up screens and streaming important talks, demos, or presentations. Doing so allows more people to connect with your event content and helps them get the most out of their experience.
4. Enhanced Attendee Experience
A positive attendee experience is one of the hallmarks of a successful event. And while this can be easy to do in person, when it comes to virtual events, you will have to use event technologies to create the experience you want your audience to have.
There are few things people love more than hearing their own name, so, use your event app or platform to create personalized communications. Personalized emails, text messages, and push notifications are all great options. At registration, ask a few questions about the particular interests of your guests and then use that to alert them to sessions that may be of particular interest. If possible, develop a “build your own agenda” option, allowing attendees to select and plan which sessions they’d most like to participate in.
Use an event ticketing or registration platform to make ticket purchasing and registration easy. Remove as many barriers as possible so potential attendees can book their tickets, their travel, and their accommodations all from one place.
5. Live Translation
Like so many items on this list, translator apps are not a new technology but their continued development has led to improvements that make them increasingly useful and relevant.
A communication gap can hamper an attendee’s experience. Similarly, failure to offer your events in a number of languages could really limit your audience pool, particularly for digital events.
Whether you use translation software or a remote translation app, you will improve accessibility and allow all attendees to feel connected to and engaged with what you are presenting.
Find ways to provide easy access to this technology whether it is through a headset, a mobile device, or an online chat.
6. Personalized Experiences with AI
Artificial intelligence can analyze data collected from event attendees and turn it into personalized recommendations. This level of personalization is good for everyone involved.
For starters, it allows the attendee to enjoy the event more thoroughly as they are unlikely to miss out on the sessions they’d most enjoy. But then, you cannot forget how AI can improve the experience for event planners as well as event sponsors.
The information that can be gleaned from this type of data can help planners with their event management as it provides a clearer picture of attendee behavior allowing for adjustments to be made mid-event that will streamline and improve the overall experience.
This data can also be of use to event sponsors. Event sponsorship is a way for businesses to get their brand in front of a qualified audience. The more information you gather, and the more personalized the experience, the more the sponsor can understand their target demographic and the more value they will gain from their participation.
Consider collecting geolocation data and using AI to analyze the social media profiles of event attendees. This can help organizers streamline their future event marketing efforts by providing additional information about attendee interests and expectations.
You can find some of these capabilities in event apps that have available AI plugins.
7. Increased Gamification
Gamification is one way to facilitate audience engagement and encourage active participation and networking.
Competition, reward, and short-term gratification are incredible motivators. Host online quizzes between sessions or facilitate a scavenger hunt around the physical or virtual exhibition hall.
Include a live leaderboard so individuals or teams can see how they rank against other attendees. Get your event sponsors to provide some fun prize packages to make it interesting.
8. Adoption of Project Management Tools
The event industry is fast-moving and pretty intense. A successful event planner needs to be able to keep lots of balls in the air while adjusting on the fly if necessary. Because of this, more and more event planners are using project management tools and event technology to save them both time and money.
An event platform like Accelevents, for example, integrates with social media, CRM, and email marketing platforms to make event promotion and marketing a breeze. Built-in data and analytics help you understand your event’s performance from one simple and easy-to-understand dashboard.
Event branding can be a complicated and labor-intensive process so look for a platform that makes it easy for you to build a fully functional event webpage, establish an event agenda, and set up an easy registration/ticket purchase process.
Project management tools designed for the events industry can automate some of your administrative tasks, freeing you up to focus on more important and pressing details.
So far, 2020 has presented real challenges to even the most experienced event organizer. Postponements and cancellations have given way to hybrid and virtual events, facilitating an even greater need for event technology. The good news is that the use and development of event tech have been on the rise for some time, and, because its adoption is unlikely to slow down anytime soon, the available options are only going to get better and more accessible.
These 8 event tech trends can go a long way to improving the event planning process, sponsorship value propositions, and overall attendee experience. Do not fall behind the pack! Keep your eye on these trends to stay relevant and ahead of the competition!