The impact of millennials and digital technology has revolutionized the events industry in the last five years. The new focus of events now is to evolve beyond its preoccupation to integrate digital trends into the events space.
The approach to integrate new technologies will engage attendees in a multidisciplinary way, conjuring unique event experiences that have only existed in imaginations until now.
The emergence of digital technology within the events space has changed the way the event industry designs elements of the live event experience. It has transformed every aspect of the experience, from planning and production to execution. For industry experts, this means adapting to the new state of evolution while pioneering strategies and concepts.
This is no easy task, but the proliferation of new tech tools such as social media and additional realities; virtual and augmented has canvassed the event industry. This means new opportunities and challenges within the events space.
To fully understand how these technological changes are impacting the events space, here are three digital trends disrupting the events industry.
1. The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is the idea of connecting everyday tools to the Internet. This improves network connectivity (crucial for event management), while also creating a more efficient and data-driven network. The IoT landscape assists in all important aspects of the events industry, from presentation performance all the way down to potential attendees.
Using IoT for events bridges communication gaps to improve attendee engagement. iBeacon and RFID are two examples of IoT event technologies that assists attendee management. Both technologies allow leading event companies the ability to streamline attendee data, enabling them to keep a numerical track of guests, assisting them with location information, check-in assistance, and event schedule updates.
Such IoT event technologies minimizes the manual processes required to fill out physical sign-in sheets and information flyers, saving time and money for event organizers and sponsors alike.
2. Shared Event Experiences
Audiovisual technology still remains a trendsetter within the events industry. The new trends in AV technology lie in the utilization of mixed reality (AR and VR) and live streaming. These two shared event experiences eliminate the barriers to entry for once-exclusive events, allowing non-physical attendees to engage with the event experience.
The adoption of live streaming through social networks such as Facebook Live and Instagram Stories affords guests the ability to tune into a live event despite geographical limitations.
Less than five years ago, runway shows were tailored to the invited guests. They were exclusive affairs for those who worked within the industry. Access was granted according to names on a guest list.
The advent of live streaming eliminated such barriers. Now, Fashion Week is an instantaneous and accessible experience, reaching audiences across the world. In 2015, while roughly 125,000 people attended the September shows, over 2.5 million live-streamed the event.
Advancements in virtual and augmented reality capabilities have established new concepts in how events are experienced. Sporting events such as the Rio Olympics has employed VR and AR to enable remote spectators to experience a deeper level of immersion than previously possible. Global conferences such as CES and MWC have also utilized VR and AR to enhance the live event experience.
Such technologies make the event experience incredibly democratic. This allows event organizers the ability to create a more personalized live event experience, enabling them to brand themselves to a broader audience in real-time.
3. Event Interactivity
Another digital trend that events are tapping into is the sharing economy. On-demand services like Uber and Airbnb are empowering event organizers to use crowd-powered services to bolster event participation and engagement. Digital tools such as RFID cards and touch-screen displays increases engagement by providing hands-on experiences to specific, exclusive content.
The rise of artificial intelligence, as seen by Siri, Cortana, and Alexa, adds a boost to events, creating opportunities for personalization.
Event managers and organizers are employing a legion of AI assistants to serve as personal concierge, brand ambassadors, and even virtual event assistants. They are employed to help in all aspects of event management, from registration to budgeting. This enables event organizers to target different demographics according to their needs.
Delivering on more personalized interactions means better engagement from event participants, improving the attendee experience.
Digital technology is at the forefront of industry changes. The digitization of the events industry means changes, but more importantly, it means more opportunities. A deeper immersion experience leads to a deeper level of engagement. This leads to plenty of opportunities for brands to differentiate themselves from the competition, increasing their branding and improving the overall live event experience.