Sean Spencer, head of venues and facilities at IET Venues comments…
The impact of digital production within events – from app gamification, to RFID technology and digital branding is becoming more influential by the day. How we operated events 12 months ago is different to how we manage them today; this is largely being achieved by the use of increasingly sophisticated levels of technology and has seen greater audience engagement and participation.
One of the biggest challenges venues face with digital is the continuous development and evolution of streaming products and the ways we consume media. Because of this, content at events has to be on-demand and available at the touch of a button – this has contributed to an increase in data usage and streaming from cloud-based forms, whether from satellite, Skype, polling systems, websites or streaming content.
Venues moving to mobile streaming need a strong IT and network in place, this will not only see a reduction in hardware clutter and content formatting it can optimise preparation and delivery of events.
Whether a client is investing in digital or not, delegates are interested in creating their own agenda and having personalised content suitable to them and their business – this is where gamified experiences are evolving. In the simplest form they engage the customer to make the most of their experience and also drive the concept for events to be paperless – a direction many are looking to take.
Sophisticated gamification and mobile event apps encourage guests to search the local area or conference venue for exclusive in-session content – perhaps as importantly they inspire guests to be physically and mentally active which can help maintain momentum, especially during the latter days of a conference.
It’s important to justify the delegate fees, by providing delegates, especially international ones, with a more wholesome event experience, one that encourages guests to explore an exhibition floor or city centre to find information will greatly pay off and result in a more wholesome experience. The introduction of event apps such as Grip, EventMobi and sli.do, all create greater access and instant communication for delegates; gamifying apps and programmes takes an event to the next level and ensures great value for money.
Events applying sophisticated educational and purchasing tools are also encouraging guests to find the best content for them. Large events and festivals in particular have been using RFID ticketing and purchasing for a while and it’s beginning to make its way into the industry mainstream. By transforming how delegates receive and share their content, RFID allows organisers to personalise tickets and create tiered price points for packages which offer access to certain areas of an exhibition, or exclusive paid-for only information so that everyone attending, whether for an afternoon, exhibition-only or a full three day event, will be able to make the most of their time.
Multimedia applications are far more accessible, and because of their delivery are being implemented more often which will drive down their cost and make them more affordable, user friendly and imaginative.
Utilising wireless connectivity such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi during a speaker session can propel content from different locations in a building while allowing guests to ingest and distribute it in HD and share socially to create greater interaction and collaboration. This combination of traditional and digital product systems should be scalable to allow for the next ‘best thing’, while the use of automated tools is now considered standard; it’s what we do and how we use these social digital tools that make the future of the industry an exciting one.