Event technology is nothing new, however if you are going to use it, make sure it’s worthwhile. There are certain events where specialist technology works, boosting your ROI.
I visited Clarion Event’s ICE – Totally Gaming earlier in the month at Excel and saw the positive effect event technology can have if used wisely.
Below we’ve touched on three key areas; quality content, networking and theatrical environment where event technology can be used to boost ROI.
Quality content has always been the key to great events but generating good content is the challenge for event teams. Certain event technologies display content and engage your audience but also create content that can be reused for future webinars, marketing material or events.
There has been a growth in creating and tracing audience interactions to drive better content and ROI. Here are examples of event technologies we’ve seen:
Social Walls – These are physical display walls showing content/conversations in real time through sponsorships, social platforms and discussion boards through an event app.
Social walls are a way of displaying the hot topics throughout an event and are useful for encouraging engagement and allowing people to join in on the conversation. Using this as a content archive can be used to promote future events.
Social walls allow for instant topic and event feedback. This creates an opportunity to evaluate the event success.
Photobooths – Photobooths capture pictures, selfies or video messages from an event that can be emailed to participants or uploaded to social media.
They showcase the visitors as engaged and having fun. The generated content can be re-used during or post-event making it easier to quantify the initial investment.
We’d say that photobooths work best at visual events where visitor participation is key – the likes of Pure London come to mind.
One More Thing - We realise that the HD camera equipment used in photobooths is hardly cutting edge, but as our co-founder Tim South mentions in his latest blog post, smart firms are using this equipment to capture content from their live events, helping them market and build communities around their events.
We all know that the major reason why businesses attend events is to network and create business opportunities. By increasing these opportunities the event, delegates and exhibitors benefit - increasing the likelihood of re-booking for future events.
Event Apps – many events will offer their own dedicated app for attendees to download - ICE was no different. These apps are replacing the traditional show guide with in-built networking tools.
Networking is a necessity for most, but not everyone enjoys it. This technology can make attendees feel more comfortable with the process.
Many use ‘geofencing’ technology so users can pick out relevant networking opportunities in their location. These opportunities can really help determine the success of the event.
I like the use of smartphone cameras to scan the barcodes of visitor badges and capture their contact information – such an easy way of capturing leads and forming a database of contacts.
Social Seating – another way of ensuring networking – ensuring appropriate people are sat next to each other. The platform used draws data from relevant social media sites such as LinkedIn allowing further opportunities to engage with potential clients.
We are seeing a lot of discussion about creating something theatrical at events. Something engaging and different that makes the event stand out from the crowd in this cluttered marketplace. An element of theatre creates conversations and a buzz around the event.
Venue Search – ‘Airbnb’ style search engines such as Headbox and Venuevortex give organisers flexibility and the opportunity to discover creative and inspiring spaces. Practically speaking, smaller scale conferences would benefit more than giant exhibitions at an Excel or Olympia but the ability to motivate attendees through a venue shouldn’t be ignored.
Augmented Reality – This is one that excites us - Augmented Reality (AR) is computer generated content that has been superimposed onto real world surroundings and is new to the event scene.
AR can be activated using smartphone apps to share content more creatively, such as allowing visitors to ‘wear’ an item or take a virtual tour of the product. AR can really help add value to an event.
The use of AR in other industries is becoming widely used thanks to Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Google’s Magic Leap. Surely wider use in events is around the corner?
In our conversations with leading figures in b2b events creating an experience, generating quality content and the need for ROI crop up again and again. Utilising technology to make events stand out is crucial but can’t be done on a whim or just for the sake of it. One thing is for sure though – creating a theatrical and quality experience has a longer lasting impact on the brand, attendees and the overall success of the event.
Let me know if there are any other pieces of event technology that you have seen work well generating content, ensuring networking and leads or creating a unique experience.