Blitz hosted its annual Connection seminar and showcase at London’s Science Museum on Thursday 27 April for an afternoon packed with event technology innovation and inspiration.
Over 250 corporate event managers and organisers made their way to the Blitz Connection for the chance to network and engage with some of the latest technology trends in live events.
Here are some of our top takeaways from a packed afternoon of event technology innovation and inspiration:
New technology compliments the face-to-face experience
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are increasingly complementing face-to-face experiences at events, said Wired’s Tom Upchurch in a round-up of tech trends.
This strategy has come to life as part of the 2017 Super Bowl LIVE Fan Festival, where GES and partner IDEAS quite literally “launched” Future Flight , an out-of-this-world virtual reality experience, including a tower-drop ride that takes guests on an excursion through space to Mars. Guests don VR goggles for the 2-minute ride, which concludes with a 64-foot vertical drop that transports riders back to Earth, landing on the 50-yard-line of Houston’s NRG Stadium.
“They are constructing new worlds and creating new feelings… it’s unlocking empathy in ways that traditional formats cannot.”
Artificial Intelligence could similarly transform the way organisers engage with event guests, Tom Upchurch suggested, pointing to examples like face-tracking technology. “AI can deliver personalisation on a massive scale… it can help get closer to customers and properly talk to them.”
Visitor engagement technology is revolutionizing the visitor experience
With integrated registration and engagement technology events can evolve from Poken, the visitor engagement and intelligence platform acquired by GES in March, was introduced at Blitz|GES Connection by founder Stéphane Doutriaux. Poken empowers attendees to actively engage with their peers, interact with sponsors or exhibitors and collect digital content direct to their own event portal.
“Most people forget 80 to 90% of what they did at an event—Poken helps them remember it,” Stéphane Doutriaux
Poken allows participants to interact with, and collect digital information with a touch, to create more fulfilling event experiences.
Enhancements in projection lighting technology is making visitors part of the experience
With brightness now topping 30,000 lumens, projectors can add spectacular visuals to an event. They are capable of 3D mapping and making people part of the experience.
“Projection can create really engaging events that capture imaginations,” Hartmut Kulessa
Audiences love Ron Arad’s Curtain Call is an incredible floor-to-ceiling curtain made from silicone rods suspended from a ring, creating a giant canvas for film, live performance and audience interaction.
University of Florida wanted to do something spectacular to kick off a basketball game. Using projection and pixel mapping they create a one-of-a-kind pregame on-court projection show that brought the crowd to their feet and left fans busily chattering about it on social media.
Technology can bring organisers, exhibitors and visitors closer together
Emerging opportunities for event organisers and exhibitors, including social platforms like SnapChat, personalised networking applications like CrystalKnows, and livestreaming. What they have in common is the ability to draw the three groups of events organisers, exhibitors and visitors closer together.
Wearables are starting to gauge people’s reactions. XOX wristbands that indicate an audience’s emotional responses to events. They open up the possibility of adapting things like keynote speeches in real time to give listeners more of what they want or like.
“We can literally take the pulse of the audience.” David Saef
With so many enticing and trendy technologies coming to market (virtual reality… we’re looking at you), marketers are finally looking past the glitz of the goggles and toward strategic technologies. Interactives that engage, but also record data. Technologies that tie directly to design, while helping foster the inherent reason attendees want to engage in a live setting.
Experience new event technology in person
Speakers at a Connection panel session suggested that all organisers could pick up tips about smart events by getting out and about.
“Take the time to go to other events—sometimes you think you’ve got it made [on technology] but when you go out you might see something even better,” said Reed Business Information’s Stephanie Kluth. “Get to see and feel technology at first-hand, and meet other people facing the same challenges as you,” added Gleanin’s Tamar Beck.