Blitz|GES hosted its annual Connection seminar and showcase at London’s Science Museum on Thursday 27 April. Over 250 corporate event managers and organisers made their way to the Blitz|GES 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:
1. Event Reality is changing
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. “They are constructing new worlds and creating new feelings… it’s unlocking empathy in ways that traditional formats cannot.”
2. AI is a game-changer
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.”
3. Poken revolutionises the visitor experience
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,” said Doutriaux.
Poken allows participants to interact with, and collect digital information with a touch, to create more fulfilling event experiences.
4. Projection lights up events
With brightness now topping 30,000 lumens, projectors can add spectacular visuals to an event, said Hartmut Kulessa of Panasonic. They are capable of 3D mapping and making people part of the experience now, too. “Projection can create really engaging events that capture imaginations,” he said.
5. Tech can bring people closer
In a whistlestop tour of GES’ latest Trend Tracker, David Saef flagged up 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 event organisers, exhibitors and visitors closer together.
6. Wearables are starting to gauge people’s reactions
GES’ TrendTracker reveals more fascinating developments in wearable technology—like 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. As David Saef put it: “We can literally take the pulse of the audience.”
7. We can all learn by looking around
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.
8. Innovation doesn’t have to cost the earth
It is easy to assume that cutting-edge technology like that on display at Blitz|GES Connection is expensive—but Stéphane Doutriaux estimated that it can typically be implemented at an event for about as much as the cost of a catered coffee break. Whichever way technology is deployed, it is important to find metrics that quantify return on investment, the panelists suggested.
Missed out on the Blitz|GES Connection? Not to worry—download your very own Technology Trend Tracker to discover more about the key trends mentioned on the day.