There are a lot of emerging technologies – Artificial intelligence, Augmented & Virtual reality, facial recognition, chatbots, cryptocurrencies – that are bound to have a profound impact on the future of events. Here are some of the ways these technologies will change how we book, organize and attend events in the very near future:
AI and Machine learning are going to impact event planning and organization in more ways than one. A major trend is a personalization. Event organizers can leverage big data from multiple sources like registration, social media, website analysis, user data etc. to design multiple marketing and promotion campaigns and target each niche with the right message. This can drive the event awareness, attendance as well as post-event objectives like sales.
Another way AI (specifically natural language processing or NLP) is changing the face of the events industry is via chatbots. Chatbots are AI-powered bots that can interact with your participants and help them at various stages of the event. These bots can answer their questions, help them navigate the venue, keep them engaged during the sessions and be like a personal ambassador for your event for each participant. And with advances in chatbot technologies, you can set up such a bot fast and with a low budget.
Another way is through predictive deep learning algorithms. A system can be built which reads footfall and registration data at an event, and predicts what logistical requirements are needed at the venue in terms of food, drinks and crowd control, as the event progresses in real time. You can also use data to predict post-event whom to contact as a prospective client.
Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality
Virtual reality is a three-dimensional computer-generated environment. With augmented reality, viewers interact with the computer-generated environment as they move within the real world. Both these technologies will change the way your participants interact with you, others and the venue.
For example, if most of your potential attendees are spread all over the world, you can experiment with some of the activities in your event being virtual which anyone can attend remotely. A VR is a lot more immersive than just doing this via video conferencing available today.
You can use AR to gamify your event venue. People can move about and be able to interact with various elements. For example, using face recognition and AR you can have virtual business cards hovering around each participant. This way your attendees can know who is who and be able to do effectively network. AR/VR can also be used very extensively to showcase products at your event.
Imagine everyone at a keynote event being able to touch and play with a holographic AR version of your product. This will make the message and the experience of the audience more powerful. One example of AR/VR being used successfully by an event was by Budweiser during 2016 SXSW. The attendees could wear a VR headset and get a full tour of the Budweiser brewing plant, engaging all five of their senses. During the 2017 Microsoft Build Conference, the Microsoft team demoed a product using the AR tool HoloLens which allowed the attendees to experience the wide-range capabilities of this technology.
Internet Of Things
The venues and items at the venue will be smart. This means they will be constantly collecting data and analyzing all the activities of the participants in real time to get feedback. The walls at the entry can have face recognition to instantly know who is attending and streamline the process of entry and exit. We can also have intelligent systems making minute adjustments in lighting, background music – even scent – through connected sensors during various stages of the event.
You will also have smart hosts such as robots and drones which will perform many tasks that a host does and make you feel at home through personalized service.
The most obvious use of Blockchain technology in the event industry is linking cryptocurrencies payment to ticket sales. The payments can be made online via bitcoin. Or payment can be automatically deducted from the attendee’s crypto wallet during the event whenever they do a paid activity. This will create a much more seamless experience. Blockchain will also help to reduce fraud in ticket sales identity, ensuring that only the eligible people attend the event. The sheer potential of cryptocurrency payments is realized when you see how easy it is to transact. You can just enter the event without waiting in line at the entry to buy a ticket – the geolocation or smart face recognition will automatically know you have entered and purchase your ticket via a cryptocurrency transaction.
The biggest take away is that technology is constantly changing, and as a company, you must leverage these innovations to make your events stand out and be a great experience for your attendees.