2014 was a big year for event tech. From real-time positioning to location-based interactions or gamification, organizers upped their game and went bigger and better to differentiate their brand and deliver an unforgettable experience. More than ever, the proliferation of mobile combined with an increased willingness to go paperless means that organizers are embracing technology for their conferences, trade shows, festivals and sports, and that they value how technology is changing events. We predict the acceleration of event tech in myriad exciting ways.
1. Extending the lifespan of events
Apps have become a must-have tool for helping organizers to engage and connect with their attendees. So why limit your app to the time of your event? Organizers are increasingly deploying multi-event apps to accommodate events throughout the year and using mobile as a go-to channel for year-round engagement.
We teamed up with Techweek to consolidate their five events into one official app. The New York Film Festival took it a step further by converting their festival app into an ongoing resource for fans to follow ongoing events and brand updates. The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience incorporated a festival “vault” into their app to celebrate 15 years of festivals and to offer music fans a best-of collection of performances. Mobile is becoming an essential strategy for extending the event lifecycle and helping attendees connect year-round.
2. Location-based interactions
iBeacon technology was introduced in late 2013 and was initially viewed as the next big retail marketing tactic. This past year, iBeacons gained traction for events thanks to implementations by some big brands in conferences, trade shows and festivals. Unlike its use in advertising, beacons integrated with an event’s official app are geared to improving an attendee’s journey and streamlining specific activities such as registration, participation, networking, and navigation. As users familiarize themselves with beacon-enabled alerts, and brands recognize ways to use them to improve the attendee experience, we see these hyper-local interactions making an even bigger impact this year and beyond.
3. Integrations with emerging technology
As we look ahead to 2015, a number of highly-anticipated products serve as potential enhancements to the premium event app. With Apple Watch slated to be released in early 2015, the potential for event use cases are predicted to provide a deeper, more cohesive experience. At the LeWeb Conference in Paris in December 2014, Eventbase was first to pilot the use of Smart Watches as an attendee’s badge, allowing users to receive alerts on their wrist and show their watch to gain entry into events. Assuming the next generation of these devices catch on, the potential impact of these devices is enormous.
With the recent introduction of Apple Pay, mobile payments at events are also going to be an exciting area of exploration in 2015.
4. Gamification as a form of engagement
Organizers are becoming more strategic when incorporating games and trivia into their technology, and are learning what works to drive attendee interaction. An example of how to do it right: Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Connections 2014 Conference successfully boosted engagement and provided a way for brands and sponsors to reach their audiences through their “Passport to Prizes” game. The event struck a balance between leveraging technology with providing value, and were rewarded with remarkable participation rates.
5. Event intelligence through big data
Despite the reams of data made available to event organizers and marketers, wrangling volumes of metrics and reporting is an ongoing challenge. Event management software and mobile app platforms alike have been making progress with advanced analytics that enable insight into event performance. Improved audience engagement, gamification and beacon technology within mobile event apps are unlocking behavioural data that will help organizers to make intelligent decisions.
Live Nation UK’s Wireless Festival was recognized for its use of real-time positioning to gain insight into festival crowds and footfall traffic. Eventbase integrated with technologies that provided crowd density heat maps, which help organizers analyze fan behavior and plan for next year. 2015’s events are shaping up to be better optimized, more tailored experiences.
What event technology trends are on your radar?