James Morgan, founder of Event Tech Lab, reports on some of his event tech highlights from IMEX America.
The IMEX Group has always been at the forefront of trialing new event technologies and providing technology education to their attendees. IMEX America was no exception to the rule. The technology exhibitor area was larger than last year with more on offer.
Part of the IMEX America education piece is getting exhibitors to provide in-depth knowledge on their booths. Cvent was a great example of this. Its new acquisitions – collaborative event design platform
Social Tables and real-time venue booking engine Kapow – were there to educate event professionals. One of my favourite technologies – Sciensio’s chatbots – was also educating attendees on its technology tech exhibitor area. The booth was swarmed. It was apparent that the power of chatbots – the newest approach to the traditional event app – is firmly established among forward-thinking meeting and event planners who want to avoid event app download problems and other frictions associated to traditional approach to information provision at events.
I also visited IMEX’s Tech and Live Zones. First stop was the Tech Bar in the Tech Zone – an interactive area that allowed attendees to get to grips with all sorts of technologies, that help in day-to-day work flows. Education elements included show and tell on productivity apps for presentations, notetaking and more. I learned a lot about how heat maps work, plus lots of other tips on what’s what with new technology gadgets. Also on show in the Tech Zone were two very exciting new technology companies showing off their wares.
First, UK-based Rabbit Technologies, an Internet of Things (IoT) lead capture platform, got my attention. The technology is based on using an unobtrusive but attractive badge reader – the size of an iPad – that sits on a table on an exhibitor booth to read attendees’ details from a small credit card sized attendee badge that is swiped across reader. The IoT card readers do not need to be connected to the internet, but they also act as beacons and can track attendee behaviour around the show floor.
The other software platform that I think is going to be a valuable tool for event marketers is the Canadian-based influencer marketing platform Snöball. Snöball’s main thrust is to use the power of influencer networks to get more sign ups for events. The platform allows organisers to generate unique, branded landing pages for speakers, sponsors and exhibitors with personalised URLs and branded with relevant images and information.
The influencers then use those unique landing pages to inform their networks about their involvement in an event; and the page links to the registration for the event. This amplification method has been proven to work in the wider sense, with Snöball taking a tried and tested methodology and formalising that process. The platform allows organisers to reach new, untapped potential attendees you would not normally have access to.
The most immersive experience I had at the show was when I indulged in some of the technology in the Live Zone. I was wowed by Las Vegas-based technology creator company Amusement, Entertainment and Event Services’ Las Vegas Strip zipline experience. I found myself gritting my teeth while I flew over the Las Vegas strip past all the amazing landmarks like the Paris Hotel’s Eiffel Tower, the Venetian Resort’s canal experience, Treasure Island Resort’s pirate boat as well as the famous Caesar Palace and the amazing Ballagio Resort’s fountain show. Finally, as I walked out of the zone, I stopped to view the projection robot that was flying around the show floor projecting brand logos of the exhibitors and other content to engage attendees.
All in all, the Tech and Live Zone experiences really did engage, including the two small education presentation areas that hosted all sorts of talks on event technology. I’m looking forward to seeing how IMEX Group ups the ante for IMEX Frankfurt in May 2019.