Similarly, we will see more in augmented reality, however its benefits seem to be again around pre-event engagement, entertainment and gamification.
The Internet of Things
The concept of the Internet of Things is simply that more of the day-to-day devices and appliances around us are communicating via the Internet or network and sharing data with a variety of hosts.
In events, the IofT is already being used to collect a lot of powerful macro data. The more we understand about our attendees, the more we can personalize the experiences. We use IofT for things like ibeacons and RFID tagging to automate registration, geotracking, and pushing automatic notifications
The data collected can help make better decisions and provide information from everything from security to intelligent lighting to pushing relevant messaging and content to attendees. We will see a lot more IofT as more and more devices are Wi-Fi enabled and connected to the network.
On the topic of the collection of data, is Big Data. We use this term a lot, and in events it is becoming big business. With the power of the Internet, mobile apps, wearables, and the Internet of Things, we are gathering data at incredible rates. All of this is allowing us to segment market based on interests, age, nationalities, beliefs, buying habits and more and improve our products for our customers. These services in turn can be sold to our exhibitors and sponsors.
What Technology is on the Cusp of Mainstream?
Wearables can be anything from dongles, to RFID (radio frequency identification) technology in badges and bracelets, and smart watches like Apple Watch, Samsung Gear and Fitbit. According to the company IDC’s and their latest forecast, the wearables market is expected to grow by 8.2% throughout 2018, escalating to double-digit growth in 2019 and beyond – smartwatches are leading the way in wearable technology.
We are going to see wearables become much more mainstream in a number of ways including:
Secure transactions - By registering guests’ payment credentials in advance, event organizers can offer easy payments via wearables at food concessions, stores and other venues, while ensuring sensitive data remains secure.
Wayfinding - Used with beacons, smartwatches can help guests navigate through an event with ease.
Secure access - Wearables can also be programmed to act as electronic door locks for more secure access to sessions rooms, meeting spaces and hotel rooms.
Attendance tracking - Event organizers can gain precise info not only on the number of people attending sessions and activities at an event, but who is in the room.
Traffic flow - Combining wearables’ location data with mapping reveals how traffic moves and where people congregate.
Sponsor messaging - through RFID and push data, we can transmit information to attendees as they go past an area and trigger behaviours.
Gamification - Gamification provides incentives for desired activities such as networking or visiting sponsors.
Sign-ups - Instead of requiring guests to queue for an activity, organizers can enable sign-ups via the wearable and automatically notify the guest when their turn is approaching.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Facial Recognition at Events - For a number of reasons, from ease of access to security to social media, we will see facial recognition become a regular part of events. High-security events like UN Security forums and airports are already using this technology, so why not within events.
Voice Activated Assistants - Will we see events, venues and hotels incorporate tools like Google Home or Alexa into their infrastructure? This again is an alternate way to provide information and collect feedback.
Live translation - The world seems to be getting smaller and we have many more people from many different countries able to participate in events. Live translation provides a tool for attendees with different language backgrounds to easily interact.
We should expect to see cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin become more main stream, so we will have to get our heads around accepting alternate forms of payment.