Smartphone apps, wearables and virtual reality are being used left right and centre at business meetings and events, with innovation a priority for event organisers looking to position their businesses as forward-thinking and cutting-edge. Tech is great at fostering excitement, interaction, and most importantly engagement, which can be used to gauge the overall success of an event.
But there are ways event and meeting planners could be using tech even better, to maximise interaction and ensure that an event is a truly memorable experience for everyone involved.
Event technologies are excellent ways to increase the engagement of attendees.
Could we be using tech more strategically to foster engagement?
Attendee engagement is becoming more and more crucial at corporate events. As more tools enter the marketplace that can gauge how involved delegates are, the more insight event organisers have into how engaged they are, and how successful the event was. Event technologies such as apps, virtual reality, augmented reality and wearables, are excellent ways to create experiences that will excite and delight attendees. Showcasing the latest innovative tools lends some 'wow' factor to the experience, connect delegates to each other and to sponsors, and through gamification can really immerse attendees in what's happening around them.
However, it can be easy to fall into the trap of using tech simply to be cutting-edge, rather than as a means to achieve objectives. This is where the help of an experienced events agency comes into play. We can help you select the right tech that will best enhance the experience for the people attending your meeting or event.
Technologies like event apps are excellent ways to increase engagement at meetings and events.
It's vital to consider why you're using technology in the first place. A Professional Convention Management Association study revealed 84 per cent of respondents see improving attendee experience as the main goal of using technology at events. So, if you're going to use a smartphone app, for example, it needs to be used strategically. Let's take a closer look at some of the tech you can use to create an immersive experience for event-goers.
For example, rather than just using an app as a registration tool, or a platform to broadcast schedules prior to the event, its full array of features should be used right from the get-go to encourage users to interact with it throughout, and even after, the event. An app should be used from the very inception of the creative process, to directly engage attendees with immersive content and opportunities to respond to it way before registration. This drives the audience into a more meaningful experience, answers their queries and feeds their brains.
An app should be used from the very inception of the creative process.
However, event production teams can now use apps strategically to encourage delegates to interact with content in the lead-up to it, as well as using it throughout the event itself to encourage interaction and participation:"When the industry first started engaging with apps, there wasn't much functionality beyond the delegate registration profile and attendees being able to contact one another," cievents' Creative Director Joshua Mason-Browne explains.
"We can push data through news feeds. If there's an awards component to an event, we can start the nomination process through the app, and then the announcements can also come through there. We can gamify that too by rewarding people with a leaderboard. It's all about capturing people's attention," Joshua points out.
Event tech can be used more strategically to bring attendees closer together and create a memorable experience.
There are so many ways you can deliver content to attendees these days, and there's a lot to learn from the B2C space about using tech at events, according to cievents' Producer Christian Marchand:
"The business space needs to catch up - it's seen as a really conservative space," he acknowledges.
Wearables are one form of technology used a lot in the consumer space to create a more seamless experience for attendees. At the Lollapalooza music festival in the United States, RFID technology embedded into wearable wristbands connects to festival-goers' credit cards, allowing them to purchase food and drink without standing in line.
Live data helps event teams to improve the delegate experience immediately.
While this is becoming the norm in the customer-focused event space, doing the same in the B2B space is revolutionary. But it can - and should - be done. RFID and beacon technology allow us to gather data from the registration process about what delegates want to eat and drink. They can then pre-order their meals and snacks, avoiding standing in line and leaving more time for interaction with other attendees.
Live data generated by wristbands embedded with RFID or beacon technology also helps events teams to improve the delegate experience immediately, by alerting us to potential instances of overcrowding or bottlenecks.
Augmented reality (AR) is a relatively new technology that can also get a lot more use at business events. Spurred on by the Snapchat phenomenon and platforms like Instagram stories, AR has fundamentally changed the way we interact with the environment we're in. Integrating AR into your business event makes it possible to showcase products and ideas in new and exciting ways.
For example, with AR we can now program a 3D model of a product without actually having to bring the actual product into the space. Departing from the conventional lecture format, delegates can really engage with the product on an interactive level.
Aided by the popularity of social platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram stories, AR has fundamentally changed how attendees interact at meetings and events.
Engagement as a metric for event success
And of course, by improving attendee engagement, tech sets your event up for success. Engagement can be an excellent metric for how successful your event was, something that in the past event planners have not been able to demonstrate easily.
When technology is used to deliver information in a really engaging way - whether that's a video, a hologram, or an interactive space - people come away retaining that information, as Joshua explains:
"Getting people to do something fun involving AR is going to get them to learn about something a lot faster than if they were listening to someone for an hour and a half, because we're gamifying the process and taking it to the next level."
"It's educational, it hits the mark and people come away from it enlightened. You end up with a workforce who are educated and informed."
When you use technology at your event to truly immerse and engage people, it assists them in retaining valuable information and increases the overall success of the event.
However, just because you're using something innovative, it doesn't mean you'll automatically increase engagement. Any form of technology you use needs to be expertly aligned with both your strategic objectives and the delegate journey. Only then will your tech inspire and engage. If you're spending $10,000 on an app platform, you want to maximise the way you're using it so you get the most benefit out of the technology.
As Christian points out, "it all comes down to choosing the right technology on the right platform for the right outcome."
A strategic events agency can help you identify the technology that will be most useful in achieving and showcasing the strategic objectives of your event.
Breathe more life into your events
Many believed that the introduction of innovative technology would kill the events industry. However, it's proved quite the opposite. With more and more tech becoming available to the events industry, it's been possible to craft more tangible, human interactions. It's encouraged producers to get more creative, to enhance the experience for those attending events and to engage today's tech savvy delegates.
Using event tech doesn't take life out of events, it breathes life back into them.
Want to find out more about how to use technology strategically to enhance engagement at your next event? Talk to the team at cievents about how we can help.