Following a jam-packed IMEX America last month, this month the team were out and about at Event Tech Live based at the Truman Brewery in Shoreditch. Banks Sadler’s Event Technology Manager Tatjana and Production Manager Ali attended to see the latest in event tech. Numbers of exhibitors were encouraging with 65 turning out, with offerings covering user engagement and interactive solutions through to event analytics and virtual reality experiences that aim to provide real event insight and unforgettable experiences.
Alongside the exhibition there was a comprehensive seminar programme designed to inspire and educate, with talks ranging from ‘how IoT will drive the next evolution in events’ to ‘bridging the gap between live and online’ and an excellent session by Scott Wilcox, Chief Innovation Officer of SXSW on ‘curating the event experience with intelligent recommendations & next-generation mobile tools’.
It was evident that the events industry is still very attractive to the start-up community with the ‘Launch Pad’ section showcasing 20 new companies looking to push the boundaries and reinvent the world of events. Each had a short slot to demonstrate their products to a panel, giving them all the opportunity to get their foot into the door of buyers and market leaders. Some of our favourites included dinosaurian robots, new event management software and delegate tracking. There are always new and improved ways to manage, deliver and engage at events and this was clearly evident here.
So what will be new for the year ahead? We asked the Banks Sadler Production and Technology team what they learnt the top trends of 2017 would be…
- Events apps are still going strong but they are now becoming an event standard rather than an upcoming feature.
- The events industry is still primed to capitalise on AR and VR which, whilst mobile events have become somewhat standard, there is still huge potential to leverage the mobile device to provide a far more engaging experience. Augmented reality is great for location-based mixed-reality games for corporate team building. Instead of playing on a 2D map, your delegates can walk around in a ‘real world’ scenario. Virtual Reality is great for one-to-one events and experiences. You can showcase a new car or machine to your delegates or give training virtually. But these immersive tools shouldn’t be used just for the sake of it; each virtual/augmented experience should always have a strong narrative or hook if it is to truly provide a return on the investment.
- Drones, artificial intelligence and robots are definitely the ones to watch! Drones and drone-inspired technology can increase attendee experience (for those who are in different rooms or in a different hub) for online or live streamed events, through interactive and immersive first-person views. Keep an eye out next year for the world’s first professional drone racing event which will be held in London. Robots can increase customer experience in a number of ways. You can programme a robot for promotional or informative purposes to drive engagement.
- Artificial intelligence is getting more and more efficient in different industry sectors and will continue to be used to increase engagement. ‘Bots’ will aid in providing information to event-goers, allowing a seamless booking and sign-in process, and potentially will be used as a customer engagement platform. This is simple and effective, with long-term cost savings.
- Event organisers are always in need of real-time intelligence. Advancements in intelligent-rich dashboards could lead us to be able to plan and manage customer flow around events better, providing unique personalised moments for individuals and tailoring event content for specific brands and themes. We are unarguably in a data-rich world, but asking the right questions of the data will enable us to move delivery of events into a new era.
Event technology continues to drive the industry forward although potentially we are in a lull where new technologies are immature but exciting, and things like mobile apps are becoming the standard. Banks Sadler is constantly searching for and adapting to the latest in technology to deliver the value our customers want, expect and didn’t even know existed.