Brian Ludwig, senior vice president of sales at Cvent, gives some pointers on the tech to watch in the coming years and beyond.
Technology is evolving at an exponential rate, and so much can happen in a short timeframe. Two years ago, at Cvent CONNECT, we were so proud just to have session attendance tracking. Now, that technology is expected at most multi-day conferences as it’s a critical piece in understanding attendee engagement.
In the coming years, from an attendee perspective, I think what we will see change the most at events is how we experience and absorb content, and how we engage with an event onsite.
I think augmented reality within mobile event apps will become the norm. We are so tied to our mobile devices that the execution and integration of smart and useful augmented content through those devices seems like a logical next step, like AR wayfinding to help attendees get to their sessions more quickly and efficiently.
As AI services’ predictability and capability grows stronger, organisations are able to take that valuable data and create customised attendee agendas that are more meaningful for their event attendees.
An AI match-making engine can be used to make relevant recommendations onsite, perhaps via chatbot, such as people to meet, conference sessions to attend, and products that would best suit the interests of the attendee. The result? Happier and deeply engaged attendees who feel like they are truly getting the most out of the event.
For an event attendee and organiser, biometrics can enhance the overall safety and security onsite because biometrics like fingerprints and facial recognition offer a much more secure way to confirm identities. Speed and efficiency are also keys factors that attract event organisers to this technology.
Additionally, biometrics, more specifically facial feedback, can provide event organisers with real-time feedback on how attendees are emotionally responding to their event – or a specific session. The real-time aspect will give event organisers the ability to act quickly on attendee feedback during the event, rather than waiting to address it later via post event surveys.
From an event organiser’s perspective, it’s going to be all about creative pre-event marketing, engaging and immersive content onsite, and integrated analysis of event impact/ROI. Pre-event marketing will get smarter and more targeted and personalised. Content delivery onsite will need to keep pace with attendee expectations – which are at an all-time high.
This could perhaps mean suggested personalised agendas, or new more interactive session formats, or unique space, furniture, lighting, aroma, etc. to foster content absorption and creative thinking. One of the top reasons people don’t attend events is because they can’t justify the time away from work or family.
Event organisers are competing for time and taking four days off for a conference is a lot to ask of attendees. More than ever in the coming years, organisers will need to dazzle with fresh content and experiences that have the horsepower to draw in their audience.
Even though technology is moving at a fast pace, events are here to stay. Their impact is real and it’s driving business outcomes. Measuring and proving event impact is both an art and a science that will continue to evolve in the coming years.
Ultimately, the ‘I was there’ moment is what people crave – they want tangible experiences. In the next two to three years, technology will play an even more pivotal role in amplifying and enhancing those experiences.