May 24, 2016 - Technology often gets a bad rap for limiting our face-to-face interaction. However, as more and more companies explore its potential to build connections, we see that tech actually has the power to enhance how we communicate with others.
In the technology age, the lines between virtual and physical interactions are becoming ever blurred. While this doesn’t mean you can live your life glued to your smartphone, there are many tools at your disposal that you can use to expand your networks and add to your experiences. Event technology is one of the most important tools for enhancing user experience in this brave new world.
Facilitating Social Interaction and Networking
For those of us who aren't so skilled at networking, walking into a huge event can be massively intimidating. Who do you talk to? Where do you meet people? How do you connect with that guy you've been following on Twitter for the last four years?
Event technology has the answers and solutions to these issues and more. With the abundance of information on seminars, shows, and speakers available at their fingertips, mobile in particular can make attendees much more aware of activities in line with their interests. And where like-minded individuals gather, connection is bound to happen.
The event technology used at Cannes Lions was specifically developed with the goal of improving the event experience while eliminating the often challenging task of networking. Large-scale events can be a difficult place to form concrete connections, but an event app can help you get past the initial, awkward introductions stage.
Through event apps, attendees are able to know a person before they ever meet them. You can set up basic information including interests and work history. This makes it easier for people to form a personal connection when they finally meet. Plus, with innovations like iBeacon technology, attendees can be notified whenever someone with a shared interest enters their proximity. When you establish a personal connection, there's a greater chance you'll want to collaborate and stay in contact.
Fostering Discussion and Participation
Meeting people is step one, but engaging with those people is going to add another level of value to the event experience. Event apps are providing an easier, more intuitive way of making this happen. Whether through real-time polling, Q&As, or discussion boards, these apps can provide a way for you to make your voice heard and get feedback on your ideas.
The iBeacon, a proximity detection technology, has been transforming events by triggering location-specific prompts for interaction. Attendees are actually encouraged by this technology to “Join the Conversation” when they enter a session area. They also have access to other users’ profiles and are able to send messages directly within the app, eliminating the often intimidating task of approaching strangers at an event.
Inspiring the Most Relevant Connections
Beyond simply meeting people and joining the conversation, it’s important to make the right connections that will transcend the event and provide an actionable takeaway. With deeper personalization and the use of in-app recommendations, event technology can help attendees connect with those who are most likely to make that happen.
The SXSW app has a component specifically designed to connect attendees with people of shared interests by analyzing their profile and favourites. The technology, called Attendee Match, compares a user’s interests and schedule with those of like-minded individuals in their network and then provides event suggestions to fill calendar gaps. This ensures that attendees know of the most relevant events where they can make connections engineered for success.
At modern events, attendees split their time between the virtual and physical world almost evenly. While the two spaces can sometimes be in conflict with one another, event technology bridges the gap between the two worlds, creating a stronger social experience that’s helping to redefine the future of networking.
Photos: Eugenio Marongiu / Shutterstock.com, TEDx Martigny / Flickr, Eventbase, Eventbase