How Technology Is Evolving the Event Industry
By Eileen Page, Manager, Digital Solutions, InVision Communications
At a time when we’re all working to make our corporate events more immersive, technology is changing the events industry for the better.
An immersive corporate event engages attendees with all five of their senses. They’re not passively hearing or seeing a presentation; they’re active from the moment they register until the event concludes. They participate in hands-on demos, submitting and absorbing crowdsourced content, and answering polls or sending questions that influence sessions. Even in more conventional presenter-led sessions, attendees have opportunities to dive deeper into what interests them and access content that’s not being shown on the slides.
Using Technology in Events
The most essential part of an immersive event is equipping the attendee with interactive tools, which can be both analog and digital, that allow them to play an active role in shaping their own experiences.
New technologies let us create even more immersive experiences. Polling and question submissions facilitate audience participation and interaction. Second screen apps and AR content give access to a deeper level of content. Networking tools allow participants to meet like-minded attendees, which facilitates better face-to-face interactions.
Brands also benefit directly from event management technology. Online social and collaboration technologies, for example, keep us in touch with the audience year-round, extending the event beyond the few days of on-site time so that it can have the greatest impact. All of these technologies also allow us to gather data on attendees — how they prefer to be communicated to, what types of content they gravitate toward — so that we can make real-time adjustments and implement longer-term improvements to events and communications.
Putting Technology to Work
If you want to use new technology in the events industry effectively, it can’t be a hammer looking for a nail. Instead, you have to find a solution that fits the specific audience and event. The following will help you harness technology to make your events more immersive:
1. Match the tech to the audience.
Is the audience tech-savvy and eager to push the envelope? This was a consideration at one event where we could have used QR codes to facilitate a citywide scavenger hunt. But our hip Millennial audience would be turned off by this unexciting technology, so we brought in beacons — a relatively new technology at the time — to push out clues when participants got near the correct locations.
Other audiences may have more functional needs, so using tried-and-true technologies like QR codes will save money and serve them better. Let the audience and the objective determine the technology, not a desire to show off with something flashy.
2. Reinforce the overall message.
Technology should connect to and reinforce the overall event message. At InVision, we did this for a data management company Veritas through a custom VR game called “Data Wars.” Attendees played to defend the good data from the bad data. People lined up to play it more than once, so it was a fun yet purposeful way to reinforce a foundational message of not just the conference but the company overall. It was so successful, in fact, that Veritas is looking into repurposing the game for local offices and corporate briefing centers.
3. Enhance the live interaction.
Technology can help you blend physical and digital experiences in creative ways that add dimension to live interactions. For example, we used the event app for several healthcare clients to move attendees through physical environments like a doctor’s office, launching supplemental content — like audio files of patient testimonials — to immerse them in the mindset of the customers and patients they serve. We’ve also created custom Escape the Room experiences using a blend of event app and custom plug-ins for quizzing and training.
Because we practice what we preach at InVision, our own annual company meeting uses technology in events to enhance the experience. We take those opportunities to demo current technologies and get all employees comfortable with them. Recent meetings have included next-gen second screen technology, AR-app triggered content, and app-facilitated scavenger hunts, team-building activities, and competitions. This firsthand experience with immersive event technology boosts our teams’ creative thinking for client campaigns.
When an event immerses participants in the experience, the rest of the world falls away. Attendees are engrossed in the moment, connecting with the content on an emotional level. Get in touch with us to find out how InVision can leverage new technology in the event industry to create memorable, multisensory experiences at your events. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!