The Coolest Event Tech of 2017

July 24, 2017

David Lane

David Lane is the new Marketing Content Writer for the GES EMEA region where he manages the GES EMEA blog and authors content for all marketing materials.

This is an exciting year for the events industry, with mind-blowing technology making its way into the events sphere and enhancing people’s experiences. What we might have thought of as an event or exhibition ten years ago has completely transformed. We’ve officially embraced the intelligent age, with refrigerators that know what milk we like in our coffee and thermostats that warm our living rooms 15 minutes before we arrive home.

At events, attendees expect the same level of preference-based, automated experiences they’re having at home. Gone are the days when delegates register for an event and “wait and see” what they’ll do on-site.

With so many enticing and trendy technologies coming to market (virtual reality 2.0… we’re looking at you), marketers are finally looking past the “glitz” of the goggles. The focus is moving toward strategic and interactive technologies that engage, record data and gather insights.

Here’s a brief overview of some of the most exciting tech trends hitting the events industry.

1. Robotics

We knew this would be a reality someday – well, now is the time. Robots are smart, practical and create modern-marvel style interactions for attendees. They could also drive down staffing costs, although we do admit that nothing can ever beat face-to-face interactions with real people, robots are just so cool. Take Makr Shakr, the robotic bartender that plucks down beers and shakes up a limitless menu of cocktails. Or Sprinkles’ 24-hour Cupcake ATM with its mesmerizing robotic arm.

2. Virtual Sponsorships

Marketers are restricted by the amount of sponsorable space in an event because of the physical limitations. But imagine digital overlays in venues and as attendees, equipped with sponsor-provided HoloLens-style devices, walk through, they can see billboards, banners and talking heads.

3. Artificial Intelligence

Are we for real? Yes. AI is even more mind blowing than robotics and it’s infiltrating the world of events. From voice recognition programs like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa, to unmanned vehicles, preference recognition and cybersecurity – we’re leveraging artificial intelligence in our everyday lives. We can expect to use artificial intelligence to enhance the attendee, organizer and sponsor experience in events for predictive analysis and more.

4. Experience Polling

Real-time event analysis can improve the attendee experience almost instantly via live, actionable data. For instance, asking attendees, “How do you feel?” and if they respond that they’re cold, bringing in a hot beverage stand on the fly. Or, “What do you feel like eating today?” and booking a food truck serving up that option for the following day’s lunch. Now that’s awesome.

5. Visceral Social Media

Your consumer and your B-to-B audiences are on Snapchat. This easy-to-use platform is all moment- and meme-based, and a refreshing contribution to the business-as-usual conference space. Think Snapchats with keynote speakers before they go on stage, shout-outs from musical performers, unscripted backstage moments and geo-filters to give your next show or event some augmented social flair.

6. Endless Touch Screens

Check out MultiTaction screens, 55-inch endless, seamless touch screens. Most touch screens are 2-touch or 6-touch or 32-touch (on the high end) but these are endless, and you can link them together. Combine two dozen of them and create a workable wall that any number of people can interact with at the same time. The best part – all of the interaction is recordable.

7. VR 2.0

The sedentary experience of virtual reality activations featuring a heavy headset and gussied up gaming chair are coming to an end. The latest and best VR experiences allow consumers and attendees to get up and walk around. Like what Merrell did at Sundance Film Festival with an industry-first hiking experience that had consumers moving around in a virtual commercial.

8. Multi-Sensory Engagement

The key in 2017 is to leverage all the senses to make attendees believe they’re somewhere else, and then drive that emotional connection to the experience. Look no further than FlyOver Canada, a virtual flight ride attraction that showcases some of Canada’s most awe-inspiring scenery from coast to coast. The state-of-the-art, multi-sensory experience combines motion seating, spectacular media and special effects, including wind, scents and mist, to provide a true flying experience for guests.

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