A study by EMI & Mosaic found that consumers are more inclined to buy a product or service after attending a related event. Even in a digitally-oriented world, face-to-face interruptions remain a deciding factor. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the event industry has experienced a 44% increase during the past decade, and Forrester has declared events and tradeshows as “the second most effective tactic in a marketer’s mix, after their company website”.
The negative side of events is their complex dynamic nature. In the past years, companies applied technological solutions to help solve pressing issues in the event industry. Nowadays, you can efficiently schedule venues for events, coordinate with different vendors, and manage your base of customers and suppliers with the aid event technology tools.
In this article, you’ll find out what event technology really is, how it can help you, and what technology trends you can expect on the event’s horizon. Hint: drones are not only for delivery.
What Is Event Technology?
The term event technology refers to the digital tools that help event professionals plan, organize, and manage their events and venues. You can use event technology for marketing purposes, event planning and management, event analytics, and more.
Event technology supports the entire event lifecycle, including, but not limited to:
- Website builders
- Social media marketing
- Event check-in and registration
- Attendee networking
- Promotion for sponsors and partners
- Leads management and follow-ups
- Event analytics and ROI
You can find dedicated tools for each of these functions, or you can use one event management software (EMS) that includes all the tools that suit your needs.
The Importance of Event Technology
According to Enterprise Event Marketing, event technology can help increase event attendance by 20%, increase productivity by 27%, and decrease costs by 20-30%. The event industry is rife with complexities. Each event requires careful planning, organization, and management. Each event is unique and needs to cater to certain needs and expectations.
Whether you’re in charge of creating a couple’s dream wedding, a business conference for thought-leaders, or a convention for vampires and werewolves, you’re expected to cater to their needs in a way that meets their expectations. The right technology tools can turn your events into an efficient machine.
Instead of printing attendee lists, manually marking who arrives, and then feeding the info into an Excel, you can scan a code. If your attendance tool is integrated with your newsletter tool, you can set up an email marketing campaign that sends ‘thank you’ emails to those who arrived, with a survey that promises a discount for the next event. You can integrate the survey with a big data tool, for further analysis, and a better understanding of your customers.
Top Event Technology Trends to Know in 2019
Artificial Intelligence for Personalized Event Marketing
Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems can automatically perform tasks that are usually associated with human intelligence, such as planning, learning, problem-solving, and social intelligence. According to a study by Adobe, 15% of surveyed companies have integrated AI into their technological ecosystem, for big data analysis and website personalization.
AI applications in event technology include:
- Chatbots: A chatbot is an AI-powered program that can have an independent conversation with people, through messages or voice commands. When asked a question, the chatbot will formulate a response according to its knowledge base. If it can’t find a known answer, the chatbot will either deflect the question or pass it over to a human operator. As the chatbot gains experience, its knowledge base will expand and it’ll learn how to answer more sophisticated questions.
- Dynamic media: Frontend interfaces contain a variety of elements, such as text, images, audio, and video. The term dynamic media refers to elements that can be changed and modified. You can use dynamic media to personalize the user experience on your website. For example, distribute images and videos from the event to the photographed people, use AI to automate your workflow, or deliver dynamic ads to each prospective customer.
Facial Recognition and Drones for Event Security
The goal, behind most events, is to create a positive experience for the attendees. However, there are many security factors that can turn an event from success to a nightmare. For example, let’s say that your event is outdoors, and someone manages to get past security and into the event.
The intruder then proceeds to get drunk, damage the property, gets into a fight that turns into a riot. Your guests are now injured and decidedly unhappy. Such a breach in your security perimeter can damage your reputation, and incur lawsuits and subsequent financial loses.
A security plan that takes into account the size, scope, location, and type of event, can help you implement the appropriate security procedures. Most of the time, an effective security plan serves to support the efforts of security personnel with technology.
Here are two new technology trends for securing large scale events such as music festivals, concerts, and sports events:
- Facial recognition: A sub-field of biometric software. Facial recognition systems use deep learning algorithms to map faces of individuals, compare digital images of people with their stored faceprint, then confirming the identity of the person in the image. You can use facial recognition to prevent intruders from entering the event’s location, and map the behavior of the attendees to ensure safe engagement during the event.
- Drones: Aka, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Some drones need help from human operators, while others have a high level of autonomous capabilities. You can deploy drones throughout the location of the event. Equipped with cameras, drones can provide you with footage of the event, from a variety of angels. A facial recognition system can then take the images and ensure that you have no unwanted intruders. Sensors and GPS navigation systems help the drones perceive their surroundings on the move, providing you with a dynamic and real-time view of the event.
What's Next? Holistic Event Tech Focused on Consumer Experience
Introducing too many technologies into your event lifecycle might have the opposite of the intended effect. Too many choices often have debilitating impacts on people. Instead of improving your sales pipeline, or personalizing the customer experience, an over-complicated suite of tools can frustrate your employees and alienate your customers.
To avoid unneeded complexities, take careful stock of your work processes, identify the technological needs of your company, and choose the tools that suit you best. It might be drones for large scale events’ security or chatbots for better customer service. If you find that you’re using too many workflows, consider looking for an end-to-end event tech solution that serves as the control room for all of your digital infrastructure.