Event technology trends to watch

Keep your eyes on these trends that can shape the way you deliver your next event

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.

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.

– Cvent Asia’s Will Kataria, Jack Morton Worldwide’s Barbie Lam and Eventbrite’s Joshua McNicol contributed to this article