From the smallest startup to the largest corporation, any company can provide the powerful experience of a live event. It's a way to connect with your audience, and with 55 percent of event professionals saying attendance has risen over the past couple years, it's clear that the live event phenomenon isn't going anywhere.
Live events can be a critical component in brand success. But with so many companies getting in the game, it's more important than ever to craft a memorable experience for attendees. Indeed, 44 percent of event marketers say that technologies that provide both analytics and a better attendee experience are something their industry needs. Fortunately, these tech solutions may now be at hand. Here are eight different technologies that can help turn your event into a resounding success:
You can ask Siri what the weather is for the day, and at your next event, you can ask another AI personality what the Wi-Fi password is for the main hall. Brands like American Express and Patron have already implemented chatbots at their events, and Eventbrite cites the technology as a great way to manage a crowd. Chatbots are all the rage among event planners today because they make their lives so much easier. When your customer service team is slammed -- right after tickets go on sale, for example, or as your event gets underway -- chatbots can help you scale your response. They can also free up time for your team members by automating some of their more routine tasks.
Radio frequency identification, or RFID, is a fast-growing event trend worth looking into for your brand. In 2014, Lollapalooza became the first major music festival to implement the technology via RFID bracelets, allowing concertgoers to make cashless payments through a vendor's point-of-sale system. At Lollapalooza's 2015 festival, over 55,000 people used the RFID system, and other major festivals such as Austin City Limits released their own version of RFID following Lollapalooza's success.
3. Virtual Reality
We live in a visual world, so it's not surprising that brands are beginning to take advantage of the immersive visual experience that virtual reality can offer. Virtual reality does what a slideshow or a pamphlet cannot by fully enveloping audiences in a brand's next venture or prototype. Take United Airlines, which used VR to unveil its Polaris business class cabin and lounge at events and conferences across the country.
4. Live Streaming
With its growing popularity, live streaming can vastly expand your event's attendance, bringing the experience to your customers wherever they might be. This technology allows your audience to experience your event remotely when time or distance gets in the way. Apps like Periscope, Instagram, or Facebook Live can be used to create hype before an event by providing a live update for attendees, while companies like EventStreams can bring high production quality to your streaming efforts.
5. Facial Recognition
The iPhone X puts facial recognition in the palm of a user's hand, and event planners can use that same technology to chart the masses. Facial recognition can work as a security measure at large-scale gatherings, and events such as the 2015 Download Festival in the U.K. have already put it to the test. Strategically placed cameras scanned the festival's roughly 90,000 attendees, and the technology was linked to a database of custody images across Europe, searching for known criminals. While this may seem like an invasion of privacy, an official for the Download Festival stated that the photos captured at the event would be destroyed within a week of its conclusion. A police spokesperson praised the system for helping to "ensure that those who have come to the festival to enjoy the music can do so without becoming a victim of crime."
Putting a brand's logo on a napkin, pen, or notepad is an event mainstay, but what about personalizing something for those in the audience? Look at SXSW, which uses its SXSW Go app to provide personalized recommendations to each of its over 6,000 attendees based on GPS location as well as previously attended or favorited events. Or consider a mobile portrait studio, such as the one Converse recently created in various Los Angeles and New York City neighborhoods with its partner ALT TERRAIN. Converse used the studios to bring real people into its future poster ads, but you could display such posters during your event, not to mention giving participants their own copies of the photos to take home with them. It's worth looking into your own product or service offerings to determine how they can be tailored to create a personalized experience.
Beacons have been tested at a variety of events over the past couple of years, and the consensus has been wildly positive. Up to 80 percent of festivalgoers are now requesting that beacon technology be used at those types of events, and other markets are taking heed. In 2014, Levi's Stadium in San Francisco rolled out the technology, which can (via an app) alert attendees to the start of the halftime show, direct them to their seats, and -- perhaps most importantly -- tell them where to find the shortest line for a $12 beer and $8 brat
8. Social Media Walls
With any event, the first step is to get people talking, and the second step is to keep the conversation going. With a social media wall, you can see in real time what people are saying about your event and invite others to join in through a unique event hashtag. Plenty of companies are offering social media wall technology, such as Walls.io and Snapcastr, and it's worth researching which one will work the best for you and your brand.
Once you've determined which technologies fit best with your brand's audience and your event's goals, you'll be able to leverage event tech to craft an experience that attendees will never forget.