The proliferation of digitization means technology is now at the forefront of all industries.
Technology has changed our industry immeasurably and as a healthcare events company we’ve observed how they’ve shaped the direction of both ours and our clients business strategies.
The pandemic accelerated the need for technology driven events and the events industry in particular, was forced to embrace the latest tech during this turbulent time.
Mark Owen – Technical Director
Mark Owen – our Technical Director has been in the events industry a long time and we asked him a few questions to get to understand how technology affects the events industry today.
What can technology help with?
Mark: Technology is so broad, it can help in various areas for both the attendees and organisers. The correct technology will give the delegate an experience they can be involved in rather than just watch and listen to
We’re constantly monitoring how we can use the latest technology for our events whilst remaining true to our values, for example, sustainability
How does technology help event attendees?
Mark: For an attendee, the benefits are limitless. Our role is to ensure the delegate experience is just as engaging whether they are attending virtually or in-person. And that mainly focuses around content and its delivery.
Good collaboration between agencies is key as is experience of events within the healthcare sector.
Immersive technology – the integration of virtual content with the physical environment is constantly evolving and adds a depth of experience well suited to hybrid and in-person experiences alike. It is certainly something to keep an eye on
What kind of tech is available for organisers?
Mark: The production of virtual meetings is now mandatory in almost all events we produce and the use of virtual meeting software is used on a daily basis . The technology available to help us produce the virtual element of any event also helps in the production process. Organisers operate in a truly global environment and while we often work in silos, events are collaborative by nature. The event production process can be complicated, involving multiple people, across many countries but this is no longer an issue as territorial boundaries pose less constraints.
Event organisers are increasingly asking us to provide post event data to ensure the delegate experience can be constantly improved and developed. Using intelligent survey software to understand guests and how they digest information is now a critical tool to achieve this. Using digital engagement tools is much more effective than gathering post event information than the old paper based system. Audience polling is now easier and much more affordable than it used to be thanks to newer technology
How do you choose the most appropriate?
Mark: As we emerge from lockdown we consider it our job to establish the ‘new normal’ leveraging the best of both the physical and virtual worlds.
With the myriad of technology available to us and the increasing expectations from attendees choosing the right technology is challenging. We always consider our clients’ objectives first. Understanding those will drive how we run events and the types of messages we deliver.
Budget is also a key factor when considering technology, ensuring we’re working closely with clients to meet their objectives efficiently and effectively.
Tell us about a technology fail / comeback
Mark: Rather than talk about fails let’s highlight one bit of tech that has had a resurgence and is now invaluable. The QR code, or “quick response” code, a hyped up square barcode introduced in 1994, didn’t really take off back then. But now they are everywhere and great tools for organisers and producers.
Nowadays the events industry in particular is using QR codes to guide delegates around events spaces and exhibitions. Much more sustainable than the old paper based programmes and guides.
What are your top 3 tech trends this year and why?
Mark: There is now a lot of technology available and it’s constantly evolving so choosing the top 3 trends is tough, but if I were to choose, I’d go for:
- Augmented Reality
- Engagement Insights
- sustainability Insights
We can use augmented reality to enhance the experience for attendees by providing them with in-video promotions and 3D virtual plans that they can access on their mobiles, making their whole experience smoother and easier.
Apps driven by AR can increase interaction with attendees and help us to learn how future events can be tailored to be more effective.
New technology allows us to gather data from events that we use to monitor user behaviour at different stages of the event. By taking data and applying it to various insight tools such as Customer Segmentation, Persona Development and Journey Mapping, we can get an in-depth understanding of how events actually performed.
Take a look at our previous article about Measuring events for success to see how we monitor and measure insights.
Event organisers demand, more than ever, that all aspects of the event production process are evaluated and assessed from a sustainability view point. Carbon offset platforms helps us measure and minimise carbon usage at live, hybrid and digital events. Sustainable events are more achievable than ever. It’s our job to provide clients with recommendations to shape decision making in the planning stages
Technology is ever evolving and we’re always monitoring the best and most effective methods to ensure our clients’ events have the impact they were hoping to achieve.
Ultimately, we should be guided by what our delegates want. This piece from ‘Pharamaphorum’ highlights the need for content and technology to work in harmony to achieve this.