Technology has the ability to transform events and enhance user experience. Using the right technology not only benefits the brand but also creates increased engagement for the user, giving companies opportunities to build communities and brand advocates who continue to talk about the brand long after the event has concluded.
While silent disco has been around for quite some time, the hearables trend is only just beginning. Experts predict that hearables will become immensely popular like smartphones, elevating customer experience and will transform how attendees engage with content real-time like language translation, crisp audio and other benefits. Hearables will encourage brands to rethink event footprints, as walls and sound barriers become irrelevant. From Alexa to audio apps like Calm – ‘ear space’ is the next big thing.
These small devices use Bluetooth to transmit information to nearby mobile devices and are commonly placed around stores to gather information about the customers, including their movements and current position.
Brands can use beacons to create a seamless registration and automated check-in, proximity marketing to enhance engagement and navigate through the event. By using beacons, brands can understand participant behavior; what works and what doesn’t; how much time participants spent at each touch point, and the duration of their stay. This data will keep helping brands create better experiences for their attendees.
While blockchain has always been associated with cryptocurrency, off late, the technology has made its way into the communications space. Companies have begun to use blockchain to make audiences engage with brands by leaving some feedback or tagging other people.
In the experiential events space, blockchain can be used to safeguard crucial customer data from misuse. We are living in the post GDPR age, where data privacy is paramount. An industry blockchain can also extend post-event to offer attendees and brands a way to interact throughout the year and deliver on the promise of a 365-days-a-year connected community. From venue sourcing to sponsorship and incentivizing attendees, blockchain will enhance the experience for both; brands and participants.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
The multiple layers of digital environment produced by AR and VR, along with a strong narrative, offer attendees an immersive experience. The senses and emotions they experience as they learn more about the product/service and engage with the brand help them and help create a call to action. For VR, the strongest potential lies in the smartphone; It’s a mobile-first world these days so it should come as no surprise at all to find that for many, the entry point for VR is their mobile phone. The range of VR options for mobile users is huge, starting with Snapchat’s VR Lite option, all the way up to Samsung’s Gear VR.
Immersive technologies have a unique ability to drive a deeper connection with audiences creating powerful and memorable experiences. Whilst we will see artificial intelligence, facial recognition, personalization and many more tech trends making an impact on the event scene, it’s the VR, AR and MR integrations that will win the hearts and minds of attendees and fans.
Machine learning is often used to digest and analyze huge volumes of information, which humans cannot quickly and effectively process by themselves. The result is many real-world applications that we already experience every day. In events, machine learning can assist in the selection of panel experts and speakers, select venues, audience segmentation, prediction of preferences and sentiment of attendees, and curate content to suit participants. Many facets of this are incorporated in opinion mining or sentiment analysis using algorithms which can then translate into effective and accurate decision making.
After much global anticipation and excitement, some countries have already rolled out 5G technology. From a marketing perspective, this will be beneficial for both consumers and brands especially in terms of events. Faster connectivity means less to zero load wait, which is good news for both groups; it will enable companies to curate better content which will be accessible to users within a few minutes. For companies, since page loading or streaming can be unrestrained, video content can be utilized more and can even appear crisper. This may also encourage more content for VR and AR. According to a report by Ericsson, the adoption of 5G globally is expected to reach 1.5 billion by 2024.
Many of the technologies mentioned are already in use not only in marketing but also in other disciplines. This doesn’t mean that they’ve already reached their full potential. For as long as there’s a gap that needs to be solved, marketers will continuously push these technologies to evolve.