By Callum Gill – Head of Insight and Innovation
There was a theory circulating a decade ago that the tech boom, affecting every aspect of our lives, would sound the death knell for events as we know them. Today we know that all our technological advancement has done is enhance our event delivery and actually propel events back to the top of the communication pyramid. The millennial generation values events like no other medium but only when technology is deployed in meaningful and engaging ways. 2019 promises to be no different so here are three of the best tech trends we’ll see gain traction next year.
The rise of the virtual delegate
When we talked about the death of events through tech, mainly we were expecting a huge surge in virtual and hybridised events. While this has happened to a certain extent, traditional live interaction remains as tech has fallen well short of replicating the full sensory experience live events provide. New technology such as Oculus Connect, and Microsoft HoloLens are finally starting to bridge the gap. 2019 will see the appearance of virtual delegates appearing in live spaces using mixed reality. The key thing will be the increased interactivity this form of remote viewing provides, no longer allowing people to nod off at their desks as they watch a second-rate streaming of the action.
Event ROI has been the holy grail of organisers for decades and tech has allowed us to start drawing meaningful assessments from our events that aren’t based on anecdotal feedback. 2019 will see the maturation of biometric and emotional measurement techniques. The more invasive kind will come through wearables. A few years ago, this was demoed, largely as a gimmick during Cannes Lions opening showreel, titled Feel the Reel. Delegates used wearables to track their emotional response to what they saw. Lego are now applying a similar dermal measurement system to product testing. Companies like Affectiva are applying facial recognition tech to audiences for a less overt way of getting this done. Disney have started to trial this in cinemas and live events won’t be far behind.
AI & Machine Learning
People often confuse AI (Artificial Intelligence) and AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) with the latter being the worrying, doomsday type thinking machine. AI as we can deploy at events is benign, programmable and infinitely useful. We’ll start to see the growth of emotionally intelligent events assistants, there to field repetitive and simple delegate questions, be used as information portals at events and manage complex messaging systems through beacons to personalise everything from mainstage content to breakout session tracks. This in turn, will free up organisers to deal with serious and complex issues and spend time focusing on the creative aspects of events.
As Head of Insight and Innovation, Callum operates across all of drp’s divisions, bringing teams together and identifying the most important trends and developments in communication, marketing, live events, video, digital, design and exhibition. He pulls together sector insights, developments in technology and general business trends, and has a wealth of knowledge within various industries and how they use comms.