Event future now

Personalised apps, auto-refresh barcodes and mixed reality are buzzwords for modern events. Three event tech specialists point out even more top trends that should have organisers’ full attention

Will Kataria

Mixed reality: Virtual and augmented reality will be combined to create mixed reality experiences that allow attendees to interact and engage with an event in a more personalised way. For example, conference attendees can use their phone cameras to find their next session via a 3D map of the venue. Mixed reality also offers a unique opportunity for attendees to participate in motion-capture installations or allow exhibitors to showcase their products. It can even be used to enhance networking opportunities through interest matching.

Facial recognition and feedback: Facial recognition is already being used at events to more quickly (and securely) register and check-in attendees. Next year, Tokyo will be the first Olympic host to introduce facial recognition at its venues. Facial feedback offers a different use case for the same facial recognition technology. It allows organisers to capture attendee emotions in real-time. Imagine being able to monitor if attendees are bored, confused, happy or annoyed, and being able to intervene quickly.

Voice interfaces: It is predicted that half of all Internet searches by 2020 will be initiated via voice. This technology has so many use cases for events. Voice command devices can streamline event registration, help attendees find their way around exhibition halls, or learn more about the conference agenda or specific session. By automating these types of interactions, attendees receive timely, efficient support while organisers are able to reduce onsite staff and overall cost.

Chatbots: Chatbots that use artificial intelligence are the concierge of the future for live events. At South by SouthWest (SXSW) this year, a chatbot named Abby acted as a personal concierge for attendees and fielded 56,000 unique questions via Facebook Messenger and the SXSW mobile app, saving countless man-hours.

Wearables: The overall adoption of wearable technology has thus far been mixed. Smart watches have been hugely popular; smart glasses, not so much. However, this doesn’t mean we should rule out the glasses technology. Smart glasses offer the ability to customise the event experience by providing delegates with personalised information about the event space, an upcoming session, or suggest which stand to visit – reducing the overwhelming feeling of a large tradeshow floor.

Barbie Lam

Virtual events: Holographic projection is the new revolution in live event production, providing photo-realistic immersive experiences. It is most widely used in conferences and talks where companies are able to “beam” people as live holograms all over the world, capable of interacting with their audience in real-time. Holographic technology also provides a platform for virtual stars to connect with audiences in a live event setting. The possibilities are endless, such as making it possible for virtual Japanese idol Hatsune Miku to tour around the world and perform live through holographic projection.

Location-based VR experiences: Location-based virtual reality (VR) experiences leverage the technology and provide users a fully immersive experience with a headset, haptic vests and a custom-designed space for the user to walk freely within their VR environment. This is unlike traditional VR, which is usually a solo experience in a limited space. The continuing advancement of VR allows creators to produce better and more tailored experiences. For example, agencies can bring a brand’s story to life through gamification.

Augmented reality: Earlier this year at Mobile World Congress, our global innovation practice, Genuine X, helped raise awareness and drive a positive brand perception of Ericsson as a leading player in ICT, specifically in 5G. They did this by creating a brand presence through immersive technology, like augmented reality (AR). Complex technical information is normally challenging to explain particularly in a busy tradeshow environment, but AR allowed us to let attendees experience it in an interactive and intuitive way. We created a dynamic AR carousel that prompted magical animations when the iPad is pointed at an object on the display, informing customers about Ericsson’s growing industrial applications of 5G.

Attendee apps: Event apps put attendees in the driver’s seat, empowering them to take control of their own experience and stay connected to all that an event has to offer. Using their own device, attendees can ask questions in real time, connect with other attendees and provide feedback while brands benefit from the opportunity to capture data and nurture a relationship with attendees long after the event is over.

Mobile-first approach: Asia-Pacific led the globe for transactions conducted on mobile devices in 2018, with sustained double-digit growth forecast for m-commerce between now and 2021. With more users than ever before shopping, connecting and discovering things to do on their devices, companies that optimise their ticketing checkout flow for mobile are gaining favour with consumers looking for a fast, secure and seamless purchase experience.

Auto-refresh barcodes: Auto-refresh barcodes are an exciting innovation which may prove to be a giant leap forward in tackling the issue of counterfeit tickets. These dynamic barcodes refresh every few seconds, eliminating the risk of duplication and offering a safe and verifiable way to transfer tickets.

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