6 Big Technology Trends Affecting Events in 2016

It’s there’s one thing that goes hand-in-hand with events it’s technology. Perhaps in the past, this meant registration technology, screen technology or electronic badge scanners. Technology which clearly flagged itself as such. But there’s change in the air. The lines are blurring. Technology is finding itself threaded throughout events seamlessly. “Technology budgets” are suddenly just “event budgets”. Brands are ready to lean in and embrace new and emerging forms of technology that will create more moments, more feedback and more brand truths, layered throughout an event experience. Brands who are bidding on events that are smarter, more cost-effective and led by technology only when it makes sense, never just for novelty.


Here are some of the emerging technology trends we see affecting events in the best possible way in 2016:

  1. Blurring of physical and virtual worlds

Like video games, events are individual worlds that a visitor enters on purpose, with a mission to come away with something specific. This may be information, research, costs or new marketing concepts. Whatever the purpose, the brand’s priority is to fulfill it and hopefully in a creative way.

Enter virtual and augmented reality.

Virtual reality uses immersive multimedia in order to create a complete world or viewing experience that the user can interact with for example, a headset which makes you feel as though you’re standing on a beach in Dubai. Augmented reality is the blending of real and virtual worlds using applications where something virtual appears to enter the real world. For example, standing infront of a mirror in a shop and seeing a watch appear on your wrist.

The easiest way to think of the distinction between the two forms is that virtual reality feels like the only world and in augmented reality, it is possible to distinguish between the real and the virtual world. Mixed reality comprises both and is what many technology-savvy brand and event managers are now using to create a fully multi-dimensional event experience where the visitor dips in and out of reality.

This is not only more memorable, allowing the visitor to clearly retain the information they are seeking, but also gives them more knowledge of the brand or product on offer.

There are a few contenders on the virtual and augmented market. Those to be aware of in 2016 include Facebook’s Oculus Rift, the Microsoft HoloLens and the Samsung Gear VR.

  1. Personalisation, backed by technology

The completely connected consumer is a big trend for event organisers and brands looking to engage a highly digital audience. Almost all devices used by individuals can be meshed together, to provide a true insight into a visitor’s needs, interests and aims at any event or exhibition. Perhaps a social media profile which doubles up as an event portal log-in, a mobile device which monitors event-app actions or advertising mediums which track customer sentiment, response and feedback. All such devices can be brought together to output the data that will back which idea or design might suit that individual visitor best.

These digital sensors from our daily lives will benefit those savvy enough to create an increasingly personalised experience which puts the visitor first throughout every aspect of the event.  Technology specialists predict that by 2020, 25 billion devices will be generating data. With daily patterns predicted, it will become almost impossible to not use this data in order to focus on the event visitor as an individual entity, whose personal and professional needs must be catered to in order to provide a valuable experience.

  1. The digital switch-off

This year has seen us more highly-connected than ever. Social media, remote working tools and mobile means that it is rare to find a moment of ‘switch-off’ where we aren’t some way hidden behind a connected device.  This has led to an uprising of a divergent alternative: the digital detox.

A digital detox refers to a retreat from all connected devices – mobile phones, computers and streaming services and is regarded as an opportunity to connect to the ‘real’ world as opposed to the digital. The reason behind this is digital fatigue – as technology has become a bigger part of our lives, many users are seeking a solace where they are no longer defined by who or what they communicate with.

The benefit? According to studies, more happiness and contentment in our lives, more meaningful relationships with others and more productivity at work and at home. In terms of events, this could be used as a way to help attendees return to the experience an event once was – an all-immersive environment where the visitor is fully present in their surroundings. Without the distraction of technology, visitors are not only more likely to enjoy their experience but brands are also able to envelope them fully into their own branded worlds.

To gain access to the other technology trends affecting events, as well as ideas into how you can execute the technology within your own events, download the full whitepaper for free http://4d-design.co.uk/


Written by Suzanne Malhotra