6 Top Event Technology Trends in 2016

by Leah Doyle | March 8, 2016

An event planner not only needs to be organized and great with details, but also needs to be educated on the trends of technology. Conferences are changing quickly to keep up with the best ways to train attendees on current topics. We have compiled a list of the current top trends for technology at conferences in 2016.

1. The Mobile World Evolving

Remember when you went to a conference and came home with a pile of business cards? Those days are long gone. But also are the days when the only mobile device you used at a conference was your phone. Now apps are everywhere and conferences are easier and easier to connect and market by way of the world of mobile. Mobile is not a trend, but a reality. Conferences need to be more than mobile-friendly. They need to be mobile driven. Travel details specifically for your conference should be on TripIt or another travel app. The conference website should be up and active before, during and after your conference. Speakers should be encouraged to use mobile applications in order to communicate with attendees. However, you don’t want your attendees to all be standing around looking at their phones or devices all the time. It’s important to design experiences that pull people away from their phones. The trend that is growing in 2016 focuses on engaging with an attendee on their device but then draw them back to a real experience in front of them at the conference.

2. The Improved User Experience

With all the technology available to every person who attends your conference, it is vital to be able to connect the dots between devices and apps and people. A trend of 2016 is to integrate all the technology so that the conference attendee will have a positive experience. It is important that someone who attends your conference is helped by all the technology and not confused by it. And even more importantly, you will want your attendees to proactively use the conference apps available to actively participate in your conference.

3. Facial Recognition

RFID, Radio Frequency Identification, has been a trend at many conferences. By wearing a bracelet with a computer chip in it, conference planners can track attendees' movements and attendance at different parts of the event. At more and more conferences, facial recognition is now being used. The cost is getting cheaper and the technology is more easily found. Jamie Barlow, vice president of creative technology at Sparks commented, “The idea of facial tracking and mapping is coming into a little bit of a new space. We just built a prototype for an event with very simple facial tracking. It’s really accessible now through standard web cams where you can track facial features, overlay graphics, and create playful visuals. It’s interesting for photo experiences. But then the deeper implications of where this research is going now in terms of understanding and responding and creating really personalized responsive content in terms of emotion is very interesting.”

4.   The Language of Data

Data is a valuable commodity when analyzing conference attendees. By gathering data from event registration, tracking systems and marketing automation systems, event planners can get amore complete picture of attendees’ behaviors and their value to organizations. This can help the event committee anticipate needs and create better experiences. As this kind of data analysis grows, event planners will need to make sure they have some sort of data analyst on their team. Wilson Tang, vice president of digital experience from Freeman XP, commented, “We can gather meaningful insights, and you will finally be able to figure out with hard data what is the return on your event, what can you do to improve it, what can you do to enhance the user experience. In the past I might hire a DJ because I think you like this music, now I can have it tied to your Spotify in registration so the music you like is playing when you walk in. Analytics will be coming to events in a big way.”

5.   Control is Shifting

Streaming live content is getting more and more popular. Last year Meercat, Periscope and Blab have made it easier and easier to share with the world whatever is going on right in front of the streamer. Because of this, control is shifting from the conference marketing team to the attendees themselves as they take the information they receive at the conference, mix it with their own experience and stream it out live, in essence creating their own content. This is not a “bad” development. It just means that event planners need to be even more creative to present even better content. And in all practicality, streaming live from your event is publicity or your event. Brianna Lawson of Naylor Association Solutions wrote of this new trend: “For event speakers, this is both an opportunity and challenge. Attendees now have the ability to broadcast events to a wider audience—spreading the buzz of a great event. They can share these sessions with their Twitter followers, which will then bring more attention to your session at the event and perhaps encourage more engagement and participation in the future. However, the challenge is that it’s a leak that event organizers can’t control.

6.   LED Displays Continue to Light up the Message

Another trend in 2016 is the increased use of LED panels and monitors at conferences. The use of LEDs serves to overcome the ambient light of meeting spaces and “wake up” attendees after hours of learning. LEDs also can change the look of the meeting spaces and add variety to the conference experience. Jim Kelley, vice president of sales and industry relations of the Production Resource Group, comments,” You can make subtle changes to the room without completely resetting the room to trick to the mind into thinking it’s a different experience. If you are doing widescreen LED display, you can change the area where the content is, maybe a little to the left or right. It does enough to the mind that you look at that room a little differently, and you have a much better experience from an attendee perspective.”



http://www.bizbash.com/2016-preview-tech-trends-for-the-coming-year/phoenix/story/31574#.Vpww6PkrLIU http://www.associationadviser.com/index.php/technology-to-interact-at-events/ http://www.bizbash.com/2016-preview-tech-trends-for-the-coming-year/phoenix/story/31574#.Vpww6PkrLIU http://www.associationadviser.com/index.php/technology-to-interact-at-events/

Topics: Blog

Written by Leah Doyle


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