One thing you can say about technology is that it doesn’t stand still. Which is a good thing in the event industry where engaging audiences with shrinking attention spans means staying on technology’s cutting edge with new, innovative ways to connect and impress.
Are you riding the event technology wave? Check out the following trends, resources and tools-to-use:
A New Reality
Immersive experiences via virtual reality (VR) are the next big thing to hit the event industry. Never mind … it’s already here! FMAV (formerly FrischkornMEDIACO) is using VR to trump 2-D and 3-D floor-planning tools by helping planners pre-visualize their events, and make decisions, simply by popping on a VR headset to view concept renderings. The goggles bring the renderings to life, surrounding planners with a 360 view of all the elements, from staging and lighting to table set up and décor. VR is also helping speakers refine presentations with the opportunity to pre-experience them from the perspective of the audience. On board for the future: Applying VR technology to enable remote attendees to experience a live event as if they were there. FMAV uses several VR goggles including the very accessible Google cardboard that slips over a smartphone for immersive viewing.
Light In Motion
Projection capabilities are light years ahead of the static and video-style displays of a few years ago. Today, it’s all about the interaction. Po-Mo Interactive, a Winnipeg-based firm, specializes in motion, gesture and touch-screen technology partnered with patented interactive projection software that allows audiences to physically engage in a marketing, educational or entertaining experience. The talented collective of designers, animators, software and hardware developers brings images to life on floors, walls, buildings and pretty much any 3-D object. In addition to custom installations, Po-Mo offers a DIY site stocked with interactive special effects and game templates for affordable downloading. Or you can upload graphics to create your own. To display, all you need is a computer with a web camera to project onto floors and walls.
While beribboned, tissue-touting-goodie-filled-bags are still the mainstream go-to, digital gift takeaways are gaining favour. While not as tactile, virtual swag bags are easier on the environment (paperless) and budget (no printing and giftwrap costs, never mind the labour and time to stuff bags). The big pay off is for sponsors: Adding to the bag’s online content provides greater marketing opportunities to directly connect guests with brand promotions plus track offer redemptions. For its 2015 marathon, organizers of the Canada Army Run used Active Network’s Virtual Event Bags, filling the online “bag” platform’s mobile-connected micro-website with nearly 40 sponsor offerings including apparel and health-wellness services offers. Tracking results showed a visit rate of 86.3% with an average three views per visitor.
Let’s App That!
Need an event technology platform that’s seamlessly integrated to enhance engagement at your event? There’s a mobile app for that. Need critical event information to be available, even offline? There’s an app for that, too. Want to encourage guest feedback with real-time polls and surveys? Well, you get the picture … The speed at which smart phones and other mobile devices have changed the way guests engage at events is incredible. Toronto-based EventMobi is a leading mobile event technology developer. Its ever-growing suite of technology gives planners tools to custom-create their own branded event apps. As an end-to-end platform, the user-friendly content management system drives everything from pre-event marketing and registration to on-site networking and event games to post-event reporting analysis. Their newest product, EventMobi Live Display, is integrated with the event app for real-time digital signage that projects social media posts, session schedules, event game leaderboards and sponsor content.
Beam ’em Up Scottie!
Holograms, once only seen as on-screen Hollywood magic, are set to become regular occurrences on event stages. Think a sci-fi-like entrance for the CEO, or beaming in a celebrity guest (live and deceased) or lecturer. ARHT Media is breaking ground with patented “holoporting”— augmented reality holographic technology — that creates digital human holograms called HumaGrams. HumaGrams are live (or pre-recorded) with two-way interactivity for real-time presentations and questions and answers with the audience. With offices in Toronto and Los Angeles, the technology opens up a world of possibilities, from concerts and keynotes to product presentations and retail displays. Over the holidays, Torontonians enjoyed a sample of HumaGram marketing with “Vincent” in the window of men’s retailer Harry Rosen’s flagship store offering passersby gift-giving suggestions and inviting them in to shop.
Games People Play
Gamification is today’s buzzword; creating interactive experiences that bring people together through video game play, social networking, learning and competitive interaction. One of the fastest-growing engagement tools for events and teambuilding, there are several gamification platforms available including Vancouver’s MapDash, a customizable mobile-phone scavenger hunt app based on geolocation technology. Customize the app with event branding and content designed around photo challenges and trivia questions that encourage players to discover locations, from the tradeshow floor to city-wide explorations. Playable in teams or as individuals, real-time leaderboards and live photo and social media streams connect attendees with each other, products, brands, messaging and more.
Tweets, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and more are now mainstream communication channels for business and events with ROI measurements aligning with how many social media visits, shares, likes and comments garnered. There are many ways to get the online crowd chattering about an event, but one of the most novel we’ve seen is the social vending machine from wonderMakr. The Toronto-based firm recently launched a portable version of the machines that award guests with a prize in exchange for a tweet to a set Twitter handle or #hashtag. Custom graphics wrap the compact touch-screen dispenser that holds up to 275 items and displays branded messaging, videos and social wall. The company specializes in creating social media platforms through digital technology including interactive games, projection mapping, gesture feedback and augmented reality.
There’s no arguing that online registration is easier, faster and more efficient than having attendees phone in, mail or stand in line to RSVP. Online is a must today. In choosing a system, however, planners need to explore that it delivers potential requirements for hosting an event in Canada, including meeting the privacy policies of our government and organizations, as well as bilingual registration forms, Canadian currency and tax charges and more. Vancouver-based ePly Services’ online event registration systems do. The company just launched the system’s latest version with an easy build for customized mobile-friendly invites and registration forms, integrated event-check ins, payments and data management. EPly offers additional integrated features such as automatic generation of barcoded etickets for on-site scanning and custom name badges emailed to attendees to help eliminate the pick up wait at the event.