Over the next 20 years, everything we know about the meetings and live-events industry will continue to change. How so? For starters, new technology and Big Data will continue to reshape the way events are produced and managed — and how audiences are attracted to and engaging with these events.
These days, technology drives every sector of the meetings industry with to its fast-paced ability to help planners complete each task, especially outside of the conference room. With new trends, and mind-boggling innovations constantly morphing the industry, it’s no wonder that there has been a huge evolution.
Next week, the Golden State will be swept away by Destination California -- Northstar Meetings Group's premier hosted-buyer event for planners and incentive professionals looking to book business in the sunny destination. Attendees will meet with California's top hotels, CVBs, DMCs and venues, as well as hear from industry experts on a number of pertinent topics. One session, presented by event designer and creative director Joe English, will explore the evolution of live events over the next two decades.
The following information regarding new tech trends in the meetings industry is contributed by English. Attendees can expect him to expand on the information at next week's welcome reception in the City of Angels.
New Event Tech Trends to Keep an Eye On
Experts suggest we're likely to see facial recognition spill over from personal tech into the event industry. The ramifications of this are extraordinary but the processing time continues to be fine-tuned. Still, it’s something we meeting professionals should be watching. Ultimately, facial recognition is expected to aid in:
- Check-in and registration;
- Ensuring greater safety by using the technology to spot people on security lists; and
- Improving an event's social media reach by using facial recognition to tag people in photos from your event.
AI is becoming the norm behind the attendee experience. Even if you haven’t started using it at your events, your attendees are using it at home and work. You can start using AI voice to drive engagement:
- Look into ways for your voice tech to perform actions, moving participants away from asking questions to asking voice assistants to perform commands, from “where is my next session” to “sign me up for the session on X"; and
- Creating “if, then” scenarios that are helpful to attendees. E.g. if someone asks where vendor X is on the exhibit floor, an AI assistant could then ask if they’d like to schedule some one-on-one time with that vendor.
“Over the past five years competitive video gaming, also known as 'esports', have really burst onto the scene," English, who is dubbed an expert in the esports field, says. While traditional athletics need special venues (like football fields or race tracks), esports can be held in more traditional venues such as hotels and convention centers, and there are new esports arenas being built around the country.
English continues, "The sheer popularity of these games and the competition among younger people almost guarantees that many people in our industry will be asked to host or get involved with an esports competition in the next few years. There aren’t currently enough people with esports experience in our industry, so this is an opportunity for those with that specialized knowledge, and something everyone else needs to learn about going forward.”
Branded Event Apps
Event-management apps have created a one-stop-shopping experience for planners and attendees alike. Their use provides limitless opportunities for interacting with consumers and engaged parties via their smartphones. As mobile apps connect with attendees and engage them on a variety of levels throughout an event -- from reserving one-on-one appointments to personalizing agendas, surveying attendees, and beyond -- event planners today have unlimited options for connecting to attendees via these applications.
How will Live Meetings and Events Change?
“One of the central themes in the future of events is ensuring that live meetings do more than can be accomplished through communication technologies like video conferencing or distance learning," English notes. "With that said, venues will need to be equipped to handle more social interaction, networking and experiences, rather than to accommodate the more passive learning styles of the past.”
Those attending Destination California can expect to explore this and many other subjects further. For more information regarding the event, including English's presentation on event tech and the evolution of live programs, click here.
Joe English is an event designer and creative director with nearly 30 years experience in events and high-tech marketing. He worked on the client side of event marketing for the first 25 years of his career before transitioning to consulting for the past five years.
English has worked with top consumer and technology brands to produce hundreds of events around the world. He spent 15 years at Intel Corp. working on events that included the Intel Extreme Masters esports championship series, the Consumer Electronics Show and the Intel Developer Forums. He has directed consumer sponsorship activations at events such as the Sundance Film Festival, China F1 Circuit race and Ironman Triathlon world championships. He started his company Event Futurist to help event professionals incorporate thinking about the future into the design and planning of events.