That High Tech Wow Factor
Thursday, July 27, 2017
by: ILEA HQ
Clients are constantly looking for the "Wow!" factor, and more and more event planners are using technology to deliver just that. Everything from virtual reality (VR) to gamification is being utilized to shake attendees out of their sometimes passive mindset, drive home the desired messaging and create a more active and collaborative level of participation.
VR can certainly provide a unique experience at events. For instance, it can be used as an alternative to a slide show or video display, adding excitement to viewing presentations. Additionally, tours of a host city's sights and attractions can be achieved with VR, and attendees never have to leave the venue. VR technology has become much easier to implement thanks to such hardware as Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear.
A more specific example comes from the world of beer. Instead of shipping its oversized equipment to Philadelphia for display at the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America earlier this spring, ProBrew used VR to help show attendees see its machinery in use. Foundry 45 developed the virtual-reality app that effectively placed the viewer in the midst of the brewing process.
Gamification has also proven to be an effective method at delivering content. Earlier this year, CEI Asia quoted Vincent Yap, regional marketing director for the MCI Group, who said, "Leaderboards placed in prominent congress areas create excitement and competition among participants, especially when they see their names move up the board. Consider a prize for the top three leaders at the end of the competition."
With today's increasingly tech-savvy attendees, planners must use emerging technologies more regularly or risk seeing an erosion in engagement and possibly even attendance. To this end, meeting apps for smart phones are fast becoming a must-have. So, too, is digital event registration. Launched last summer, Sprintr offers portable, customizable digital registration kiosks on-site.
Another event technology trend that has the power to transform is live streaming, which is beneficial for people who cannot attend in person. Consider the Instagram Live option, which includes videos that disappear as soon as the broadcast ends and are not available to replay. This encourages immediate views and creates a sense of urgency for remote attendees, especially those who have a fear of "missing out."
But adoption of such new and emerging technologies remains slow. A recent Meeting Professionals International study shows that nearly 60 percent of planners say they appreciate event management technology tools. However, over 70 percent say they devote less than a quarter of their time using such tools. According to the research, planners are discouraged from using new technologies due to negative past experiences, a lack of access to dependable WiFi and a fear that something will go wrong they can't fix.
Planners who educate themselves in all matters tech, though, will be the most likely to overcome roadblocks to adoption.