11 Jun 2020

The ‘New Normal’ of Events: The 4 Technologies Shaping the Future

People conected

There’s no escaping that the events industry has taken one of the hardest hits during Covid-19.

Large-scale events have been canceled in their thousands. And one of the most difficult obstacles, is that it’s near impossible to reorganize an event if you don’t have a timescale to work to. 

The world is changing fast and in unexpected ways. Industries are having to adapt quickly to stay afloat. And so will the events industry. 

We’re going to look at the four main technologies that are shaping the future of events.

1. The Internet of Things (iOT)

Okay, so the IoT isn’t new, but it’s growing at an astonishing rate - and connected buildings and smart cities are leading the charge. This has huge implications for large-scale event planners, particularly in the wake of Covid-19.

If the flow of guests needs to be more heavily managed, which it no doubt will be, features like invisible touchpoints can alert guests when they need to make their way to their seats. 

Likewise, intelligent atmosphere controls that adapt according to occupancy, comfort level, or the time of day will be able to heighten the event experience.

And for a personalized experience, events can have interactive signposts that give personalized directions depending on your ticket type. 

It’s all just around the corner. And being sped up by the arrival of the pandemic. 

2. Robotics

Service robots are on the rise. Just look at Amazon’s fleet of delivery drones, poised and ready for flight! 

But when it comes to events, we’re already seeing robots manning bars and ticket booths and providing entertainment. 

Some robots are able to communicate autonomously with humans. They can hold conversations on different topics, with speech, interactive animations, and demonstrations. 

With potential budget restrictions after the pandemic restrictions have lifted, robots can take the easy tasks off employees’ hands, leaving them to focus on more important things. 

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is such a broad subject that it’s difficult to pin down to one particular area - after all, it’s already creeping into all the technology and apps we use day-to-day.

Imagine that you’re developing a relatively small event with a limited budget. The idea of creating a dedicated app for an event like this may not make much sense. On the other hand, a chatbot could be the perfect solution for engaging with attendees with much lower cost and complexity. 

A few years from now, event planners will struggle to remember a time when AI-driving machines couldn’t handle facial recognition, ticket checks, and VIP lists, or when we weren’t collecting detailed information on how attendees or delegates behave at every point during their visit.

4. Augmented Reality (AR)

We’re all familiar with the idea of completely virtual worlds and the idea of virtual reality as a whole. A seriously exciting step that’s just taking off in the events world is augmented reality - the blending of the real and the virtual.

That might involve Google Glass-style visors that enrich the customer experience, holograms that overlay the ‘real’ environment and interact with visitors, or even opportunities to playback and simulate key moments in a sports match. 

There are three main types of AR that can be used at events:

Device-based AR

The simplest way to employ Augmented Reality is through a smartphone. The most obvious example of this type of AR is Pokémon GO, but with the introduction of ARKit and ARCore on iOS and Android devices, we’ll soon see a number of new and enhanced AR applications.

Wearable AR

A wearable AR user will see their immediate real-world environment, but with virtual elements overlaid. Wearable devices are typically the most immersive way to experience AR, as users can freely move their heads and use their hands.

Mirror AR.

As the name suggests, this is a reflective surface upon which additional imagery or information is displayed. In an event setting, mirror AR can help draw a crowd, offering a unique way to demonstrate products or entertain guests.

When it comes to this new wave of technologies, the possibilities really are endless. The key for event planners will be to find ways to incorporate the best of them without becoming gimmicky. 

With the surge of live events on the horizon, making your event stand out is going to be critical. Always start by asking yourself how you can enrich or streamline the experience for your guests and then look for the technology that can help you do it. It’s out there.