Events & Conferencing Opinion South Africa

How technology is changing the way events are done

It's a disruptive world we live in and technology has never remained static. When you look at the event industry, the prevailing trends have eroded the engagement barriers between businesses and prospects, a dramatic shift in the way users think about brands and services.
How technology is changing the way events are done

What can brands do to take advantage of these disruptions? How to fit this to your picture, drive positive engagement and perpetuate? The boom of social with mobile technology can make it happen. The digital expectations at events are ever changing and possibilities endless.

Irrespective of the size of the organisation, integrating virtual solutions maximizes ROI. The current scenario impels event organisers to work along the latest technology for their events, exhibitions, and conferences to deliver engagement and experience.

A new technology does not simply add something. It changes everything - Neil Postman, author, Amusing Ourselves To Death.

Digital intervention is changing everything and these tools are conspicuous in the event industry. When it comes to engagement, there is no better solution than tailored mobile event apps. Mobile app companies like Propeller Mobile, EventMobi, and few others have designed custom event apps to offer the ultimate attendee experience, backed with powerful data and analytics to measure audience engagement and insights on the event as a whole.

At EIBTM25 held in Barcelona, Julius Solaris of EventManagers blog presented an infographic. It points out that 21% of event planners consider mobile apps as a top priority investment for 2013. Let's see how current technology drives efficiencies around the events.

Mobile guide

Earlier, event organisers carried printed event guides in heaps and stacks, which is now replaced by mobile apps - greener, paperless solutions. No more will planners need to worry about going with obsolete or out-dated prints, an enduring risk with printed materials. With these digital tools attendees, delegates, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors stay updated with current event happenings.

Bundled features like conference content, event mapping, mobile-based city guides and networking makes mobile apps the complete platform for event management. Also attendees can locate the venue, book tickets, check reservation at restaurants and of course connect with others, sponsors or exhibitors; full-on networking possibilities.

Interactive tools to live experiences

Until lately, attendees ask speakers or delegates for the session slides. Now with the smart technology, slides are shared via mobile platforms. White boards are gaining popularity at corporate events and many companies are developing them already. Attendees can write notes, save content and share via email-collaborating visual.

Interactive tools enable attendees to communicate with exhibitors, other connections real-time on the floor or from anywhere. They are well complimented for bringing hybrid meetings into reality; same time delivers virtual and real-time experience.

Social functions

Social functions are inbuilt with mobile apps to get more out of the event. Attendees can share event sessions, speaker's profiles, venue details and tweet content instantaneously on multiple social outlets directly from the app, rather than switching between event app and social apps.

Hashtags are fashionable and are widely employed these days to narrow qualified prospects who wish to knock at your events. For example, an easy usable hashtag like #2014MWC will fit the 2014 Mobile World Congress. Create maximum awareness and promotions with your unique event hashtag; tweets, collaterals and event registrations should be launched with this hashtag.

Near field communication

NFC technology, the short frequency wireless technology arrived a while back and when you look to its consumption among the industry, it is still in its infancy. But the technology is integrated in different spheres of business, including the event industry. NFC built-in smart phones enable attendees to exchange contact information, make payments, book e-tickets, it's like a mobile wallet to mCommerce.

This can either be performed by tapping two NFC enabled phones or between an NFC phone and an NFC badge. Many events already witnessed attendees with NFC-enabled wristbands, badges for faster interaction and mobile payments. But with NFC in smart phones, wristband and badges will get old soon.

Instant survey, polls

Event organisers are excited about the interactive keypad tools which relieve the multiple difficulties of printed survey materials and long wait for audience responses. These mobile based web tools encourage attendees to participate in voting right on their palms.

Mobile turns out as voting pads which attendees can easily pull from their pockets as a survey begins. Survey tools on mobile devices help event organisers to graph the polling results easier and faster.

Measure, measure and measure

There is no blind side with mobile apps. With the powerful data and analytics, you have everything you need, while the event and post event can help you make live changes and ideas to your future events.

Mobile is now the future of event industry. There is no question about it, embrace and run ahead before it's too late.

About Raisa Elizabeth Mathew

Digital journalist +Raisa Elizabeth Mathew is a 360° engagement-centric content strategist and publishing consultant. Her ideas and passion are user engagement, mobile, social media, reputation and public relations. She designs content strategy for small businesses and several start-ups.
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