When it comes to staging an event, technology is proving a major boon for organizers, exhibitors and attendees alike. Not only does it allow for an improved immersive experience for those attending, it also allows organisers to monitor their traffic, streamline the staging and promote activities in real time.

Here are the five top trends for events in 2017…

RFID

Just as RFID technology is revolutionising retail and manufacturing it’s also reaping major rewards for events, and usage is only set to increase in 2017. Used for ticketing, tracking and to connect people attending the event, these information-packed chips can be built into tags or wristbands.

The added bonus of RFID ticketing and attendance check-in is it’s as simple as sourcing the tags and setting up a tablet and secure kiosk at the entry to your event.

Meanwhile RFID also has the potential to provide a wealth of data, such as identifying most used admission points and real time attendance to hone future events. RFID can be further linked to social media accounts like Facebook or twitter allowing attendees to interact with RFID points at the venue and each other, and post updates to their friends.

Kiosks

From the check-in to individual exhibits tablet and iPad kiosks are a staple at any event, with On Spot Social noting the prevalence of these mobile devices lends itself to marketing capability.

“Tablets and iPads can provide a wide variety of entertaining, fun and meaningful, in-booth activities,” they state.

These can range from interactive games, immersive apps and guided augmented reality tours to simple visuals, registering contact details and product ordering.

The benefits include affordability and ease of set-up, with only software, the device and secure standsrequired to interact with clientele.

IBeacons

Meanwhile coupling kiosks and mobile devices with iBeacons has almost limitless potential to engage your audience throughout a trade show.

OnSpot Social notes: “By implementing iBeacon technology, you can do this by setting up a number of iPad kiosks where attendees can input their information. You can send push notifications to attendees’ mobile phones as they approach your booth. These notifications will post options to forward a response by email, scan a code or print on site. This will allow a direct connection to get in touch with you”.

In 2014 CeBIT Hannover began utilising beacon technology at their flagship event, using it to register attendee’s details in the careers section. When participants then approached relevant booths, they were provided with notifications of job vacancies, apprenticeships and traineeships directly on their smartphone.

Now, after the initial launch of the iBeacon at WWDC in 2013, beacons are a widely used tool at events, offering easy registration, smart networking, heat mapping of attendee movements, lead marketing and more, according to event2mobile.

Virtual reality

While beacons, tablets and RFID are being readily rolled out across events, virtual and augmented reality (AR/VR) have only just begun their infiltration of the exhibition world, according to Forbes. They note AR/VR offers exhibitors the opportunity to showcase their wares or services in an immersive way, but without the cost and inconvenience of transporting equipment.

Ted Spies of Gateway Exhibit Services told Forbes: “AR/VR will saturate the event marketing and trade show space. Rather than paying large sums of money to transport and stage a piece of equipment or a structure, forward thinking companies are already investing that budget into developing AR/VR applications and experiences that are immersive, effective, reusable and cost effective. This trend will only accelerate in the coming years.”

Live streaming

Whether your event is sold out, you’re looking to generate further interest or you’re an exhibitor hoping to showcase your expertise and authority to an audience that’s not in attendance, live streaming is another tool on the rise for events, and it’s only set to increase with last year’s launch of Facebook Live.

Web Analytics World explains live streaming has numerous benefits for event organisers and exhibitors alike.

These include:

  • Creating a wider audience
  • Giving your event urgency
  • Promoting online interaction
  • Opening up possible new streams of revenue
  • Having your event stand out from the crowd.

Meanwhile livestream.com states: “67% of live video viewers are more likely to buy a ticket to a concert or event after watching a live video of that event or a similar one”.

The final word

No longer are tradeshows and events just about opening your doors, offering information and allowing the attendees access to individual booths. Increasingly clientele seek an immersive, interlinked experience where technology furnishes them with the tools to pick and choose what they want to see, find it readily and even source it externally online.

That makes cutting edge technology a must for any organiser, in the knowledge it could make or break your event and even take it beyond the confines of your location and to the wider world.

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About the Author

This article was written by Rebecca Kennedy, a new contributor on The Asian Entrepreneur. Please provide us feedback at [email protected]

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