On Wednesday 11 November I attended Event Tech Live, held at the Old Truman Brewery in London; Europe’s only free-to-attend show dedicated to event technology and event marketing.
Event Tech Live was an opportunity for me to learn about new products, services and meet with suppliers, peers and clients alike. I was also invited to be a panellist on the main stage to discuss how to creatively use technology at events. The agenda and presentations offered something for everyone: RFID, NFC, social media, big data, event ticketing, event registration, apps and more. Parallel sessions meant that at every moment there was something to capture your imagination.
Suppliers showcased event apps, social walls, interactive touch sensitive screens, live event printing, mobile Wi-Fi, iBeacons and mobile gaming. It was great to be able to talk with so many of the leading event tech companies to understand some of the impressive work they have been involved in.
Having worked in the events sector for over ten years, naturally I’m interested in the trends and developments shaping the events industry. Unsurprisingly I selected to attend Julius Solaris Q&A session to understand the forces shaping the industry and the latest technology that has really impressed Julian.
The panel session I was involved in discussed how event professionals can use technology creatively to produce spectacular events and engage audiences. It showcased examples of implementing technology to successfully enhance live communication and events. I talked through my personal stance on how to achieve this by having the client insight and understanding of the key objectives of the meeting.
What do you want the audience to think, feel, learn and do as a result of the experience? What are the challenges facing the organisation and the individuals and how is the live event going to change their behaviour or challenge their perceptions? What are the audience’s passions, what are their hates? Really understanding the audience is the critical and fundamental factor. Once you have identified all of this information you can then explore how technology can enhance the outcomes.
Ultimately technology isn’t a panacea. It’s not going to solve all your meeting or event problems – although from my experience some clients do have this expectation. The technology shouldn’t distract from the face-to-face conversations, it should facilitate the conversations and provide improved interactivity. When used correctly it is a bridge, allowing the organisers, speakers or committee to connect with the audience whether that be in the room or virtual.
Technology should fall in to three categories, enablement, engagement and enhancement. How can technology enable the audience to understand or learn, how can it captivate or engage the audience and how can it enhance the experience and content.
Technology can help us address difficult subject matters, allowing companies to deal with very sensitive and difficult situations, and providing immediate feedback. Technology can also allow companies to discuss and examine information more collaboratively rather than just telling an audience the way it is.
Most importantly the successful use of technology should enhance the fundamentals by being adaptive and responsive to the audience. Providing insight to pre, peri and post event messaging and what has resonated with the audience and what requires further clarification. This is ultimately moving meetings away from a speech to a conversation.
I went to Event Tech Live with an open mind and a desire to see new and exciting products first hand. Whilst, for an event geek like myself, this was a hugely enjoyable part of the show, I will attend next year due to the conversations and interactions that were enabled by the show and the format.