Interactive user technology is and will always be at the forefront of not only the Events Industry but all industries. Consider how the following industries have dramatically changed over the last few years with advances in technology: Uber changed transportation, Instagram changed shopping, Netflix changed entertainment. These examples of changing technology highlight the user’s desire for convenience, instant gratification, connectivity and an expectation for elevated entertainment. The more often we as a society are exposed to these apps, platforms, and new technologies, the more we begin to expect them to be available to us at all times.
Let’s take a look at what technology is trending and holding strong in the Event Industry, and how these technologies are enhancing the event experience for the attendees, the clients, and planners.
AI – (Artificial Intelligence)
- User-friendly AI assistants such as Alexa and Siri, provide you with helpful information using voice search technology. This technology has become the norm in homes and is becoming more expected by event attendees. Voice and Text search Chatbots driven by AI technology are unique in that they are programmed to learn and adapt based on user-driven questions. We’ve seen AI bot kiosks and apps pop up at a variety of events over the last few years. Say hello to Betty, the helpful event AI Chatbot.  Figure 1 Chatbot apps like Betty provide a cost-effective solution for event organizers to help direct guests and answer basic questions while freeing up staff to engage in more meaningful experiences with their guests.
- Companies are also getting clever in how attendees engage with these bots. Check out the world’s first Selfiebot Photo Booth  Figure 2, that can actually roam throughout the crowd and provide a fun and engaging experience for guests. This is just one more way we’re seeing technology continue to enhance the Events Industry.
Figure 1 (left) & Figure 2 (right)
- This trend is shaking up the events world in a variety of ways! We saw the impressive showcase of these programmable little flying machines at the 2018 Winter Olympics, and now we’re seeing these pop up at awards galas replacing traditional fireworks displays, and even delivering drinks and hors d’oeuvres to guests. This is a trend we’re sure to see a lot more of in the future! The use of drones can also capture unique angles and beautiful long-range photography and videography from your event. The limitations surrounding this trend are still facing controversial scrutiny around privacy and security, so working closely with your planner can make it much easier to navigate the requirements and restrictions! If you’re interested in this technology at your next event, it doesn’t hurt to ask! The sky’s the limit…literally… with this visually interesting and interactive technology. Check out this video below! Figure 3
- Touch Screen Floors & Magnetic Flip Disc – These technologies, while not “cutting edge”, are still captivating audiences with new innovative event activations. Check out Chicago’s recent immersive art experience, wndr Museum, where guests can interact with the touch screen ActiveFloor Figure 4, that shoots bursts of color wherever you step. Or, surprise your guests with an interactive Flip Disc Display  Figure 5, powered by kinetic electromagnetic technology. Instagrammers can’t get enough of this experience and we love brainstorming new ways to incorporate these fun activations into our clients’ events!
RFID – (Radio Frequency Identification Device)
- This technology is fairly commonplace among day to day devices and in the past few years has gained quite a bit of traction in the Event Industry. The same technology used in your metro card is the science behind the trending RFID’s like Smart Wristbands & Smart Badges. Figure 6 They offer streamlined ticketing and registration, multi-day entrance access, and data transfers. These are also a great way to track attendees’ journey during an event and personalize their experience with relevant up to date content.
Custom Event Apps
- This nifty piece of event technology really works double time when incorporated strategically into your event. You can provide a seamless guest experience with a custom event app. These apps often include session information, a live news feed, profile lists of attendees and speakers, venue maps, and personalized schedules. Figure 7 They can also benefit the client and collect important data in real time with surveys and polling, push notifications, and gamification contests. With a platform for advertising directly in the hands of the guest via their phone, think of all the opportunities for branding and sponsorship. This is definitely a win-win interactive event solution!
AR / VR – What’s the Difference?
- AR, (Augmented Reality) – is the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in real time. Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment, augmented reality uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it. Trade shows, exhibitions, conferences, and festivals all rely on customer engagement, entertainment, and education. The video below, Figure 8, shows a fun example of guests interacting with art at an event. AR trends like interactive trade show maps, interactive product displays, and interactive team-building tech hunts are a great way to boost engagement at events!
- VR, (Virtual Reality) – takes the user into a completely artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli in which one’s actions partially determine what happens in the virtual environment. Because of the unique capabilities with VR technology, we are seeing this trend at events and trade shows for educational and informative purposes. This technology has also proved to be a helpful tool for planners, allowing them to create a VR world of a venue to help the client visualize a space and better plan for the guest experience. Just by sharing a link, the client can view layout, lighting elements, and understand the overall feel of the space. Check out the user-friendly Virtual Venue example of VR technology. Figure 9
As new technology emerges on the events scene, stay informed, be open-minded, dream big and take note of the changes that you see at your events. As Event Planners, we are always on the lookout for ways to help our clients achieve increased engagement at their events. Incorporating layers of event technology in your event provides you just that! Whether it’s data-based, educational, interactive, eye-candy, or just a playful curiosity, our team loves to research trends in event technology and we are always excited to share new ways to enhance your events! Give us a call and let’s take your event to the next level with event technology!
Links to Referenced Content:
-  Betty the Chatbot
-  Selfiebot Photo Booth
-  ActiveFloor featured at wndr Museum
-  FlipDisc featured at wndr Museum