Over the past 20 years, we have seen technology revolutionise the world of events management. When we began working with IBM in the mid-1990s, people had no idea how technology and data would impact their lives. No one had heard of an iPhone and event attendees were handed ring binders containing the information they needed.
In recent years, technology has fundamentally changed events for both planners and attendees. This year, as wearable technology and artificial intelligence (AI) continue to develop rapidly, we will see this technology being incorporated into more events.
This is our round-up of the top five tech trends you should be using this year.
1. NFC event apps
Smart badges and wristbands are being replaced by NFC-enabled apps, which use technology that is already available on smartphones and smart watches for contactless payments.
Attendees can use the app to make purchases, automatically upload photos and videos to social media and interact with sponsors and peers by sharing data, such as contacts.
For organisers, an NFC event app not only allows you to plan, track attendees and analyse the data, it speeds up the registration and check-in process and encourages more engagement from delegates. You can also make cash advances for hospitality, which VIP delegates can effortlessly activate through their phone or smart watch.
iBeacon connects our phones and smart watches to the physical space around us. For events, iBeacon can track an attendee’s location, which triggers a location-based action, such as automatically checking them in on social media or sending a push notification about something happening where they are.
You can also use iBeacon to add augmented reality elements to your event to improve engagement from attendees.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Chatbots improved dramatically last year, and are now in widespread use for customer service. At events, this technology can be deployed to answer routine questions quickly. This saves on staff costs for organisers and ensures attendees always get accurate, up-to-the-minute answers.
As well as customer service, AI is able to process large volumes of data about attendees, such as their habits and behaviours. This enables organisers to personalise the experience for each individual attendee, recommending which sessions they should attend, which stands to visit and who to connect with.
The trend in wearable technology, and particularly smart watches, provides a unique opportunity for events organisers to reach their audience.
In conjunction with an NFC-enabled event app, iBeacon and AI, organisers can send personalised push notifications to attendees, including reminders of their scheduled events, last-minute changes to the timetable, and personalised recommendations.
5. Facial recognition
Still in its early stages, facial recognition technology offers an exciting opportunity for future events. It can significantly speed up the check-in process, reducing queues and overhead costs for events organisers, and improve security.
Crucially for events organisers, facial recognition technology is able to read people’s moods, which will provide true, in-the-moment feedback that can be used to improve the user experience.
Celadin has been at the forefront of technology in the events space for 20 years and we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what technology can do for events management.