In the last article of The Future is Visual series, our guest writer, Bogdan Maran from Visual Hive, explores what smart content really is.

Technology has evolved to allow us to use visual information as an effective form of communication and our brains are hardwired to process this information faster and better than any other ‘language’. 

According to Dr Paul Martin Lester: “We are becoming a visually-mediated society. For many, understanding the world is being accomplished, not through words, but by reading images.”

We are overwhelmed by the amount of content we are producing and way past the point of digesting all the visual information put out there. In itself, the huge flow of data becomes an unwitting form of censorship. We can see this happening in every aspect of our lives, from news and medical information to the choice of what to watch tonight. Simple options become hard when we are presented with huge amounts of information. 

Intentional or not, every event is producing visual content that is pushed out with the hope it will be consumed. But the ‘fingers crossed’ method is not really working as we push out a drop in the ocean with the hope it will reach its target. Fighting for the attention span of our audiences is becoming harder and harder. 

The challenge we are facing is creating ‘smart content’ that has the ability to adapt and change form to satisfy individual needs and desires at a specific point in time.

The simple act of producing content is not sufficient anymore. It needs to fulfil a specific need at a specific time, in a specific format, on a specific platform in order for individuals to give back their time to see it, their trust to share it and their personal information. As visual content producers, the resources we need in exchange for our product become more personal, therefore, the content has to be bespoke. 

The challenge we are facing is creating smart content that has the ability to adapt and change form to satisfy individual needs and desires at a specific point in time.

Let’s take facial recognition, for example. It is used increasingly at events, especially around ticketing. But we can very easily use it to let people identify images of themselves, and create personal streams of content for them, rather than sending them a few hundred or thousand images and saying, “just find yourself”. This tool can work both ways. Deployed correctly, it can also give the audience the opportunity to remove images where they appear from the database.

Artificial intelligence will and is playing a major role in helping us create smart content. It can take the simple form of a chatbot to help members of the audience to find the content they want. It also helps add more layers of information on an image, from logo and object recognition to automatic retouching and editing. 

Blockchain technology will be key in the democratisation, tracking and monetisation of content, helping throughout the lifespan of content, from production, copywriting, storage of information and tracking. There are already a series of startups that develop solutions on all the verticals. 

I believe that not one thing will be the answer, but the integration of multiple solutions, that can add value to each other.

Let’s say, for example, that we can link the machine learning from a visual content engine to the data collected from a smart ticketing platform. This will give us the ability to target the content according to the interests of each member of the audience, judging by their activity (stands visited, lectures attended, etc.) Our visual content engine will use different tools to edit the relevant footage and send bitesize chunks of information to test the interest of our individual, and a chatbot will constantly talk to them to understand more of their behaviour. On top of this, we can add layers of data – from the meetings they had to a blockchain tag that will award points or cash for sharing the content, while creating value for the author on the way. 

This is smart content. It is content that learns and adapts, but more importantly adds value to all sides. 

Transparency and collaboration is the key to smart content, as much as it is the key to anything in the event industry and beyond. 

The smart content needs to add value on both sides of the exchange and this is why transparency is crucial: in order for our audience to give us the information we need, they need to trust us. Keep in mind that digital identities are around the corner and, with that, everybody will understand the value of their personal data, and they will share bits of it with brands they trust. 

Ultimately, the events are about experiences, and the best ones are bespoke because we are all unique in our own way. If we use it correctly, technology is here to help us achieve this and collaborations across platforms and verticals is mandatory because it adds value to all. 

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Areas of interest
Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: molly@eventindustrynews.com