Are we connecting? How event agencies are using new tech

Share this

The live events and brand engagement world is an exciting place to be right now. Our industry is evolving in incredible ways and powering this change is new technology. But are we using it properly? That was the big question at the inaugural ExMLive Forum.

4th July 2016
By /

Hosted by AR Experiential and part of London Technology Week, the ExMLive Forum provided some great insight into brand engagement and how to connect the physical and digital through live events. A key message we got from the event was the importance of using the right technology in the right place.

Are brand agencies making the most of new tech?

Discussion at the Forum pinpointed two major issues that event agencies have with new technology. Firstly, at the moment, it’s used for novel experiences and, as with such experiences, the novelty soon wears thin. Secondly, there is a disconnect between how technology is used at events and the brands that it is promoting.

With regard to the first point, there was almost universal agreement that technology needs to be used to communicate and to encourage a better understanding of the key message of an event. Regarding the second point, technology needs content to be effective. To get the most out of the technology in use, it needs to be used with content that engages, informs and inspires. Taking this evolution a step forward, it’s clear to us that it’s essential that event agencies are able to help clients identify the technology that best suits their needs.

Virtual ticketing – the future of event attendance? 

Another new technology that sparked a lot discussion was virtual ticketing for events. Whether using live streaming or virtual attendance software, virtual ticketing is about transporting attendees to events and enabling them to interact with other participants on site. Virtual ticketing was very much presented as the future of event attendance with regard to conferences, exhibitions, etc. The technology is certainly exciting and has a role to play, but we’re not sure about how big this role will be. These kinds of events are about bringing people together and the benefits of human interaction, and digital representation, no matter how sophisticated, just isn’t the same.

We need to talk about wifi. Sooner rather than later

The quality of wifi at events was a major talking point. With an increasing reliance on technology to enhance live experiences or events, from enabling interactivity to providing entertainment, the need for wifi and the demands on it have grown exponentially, and existing infrastructures haven’t been up to the job.

It was interesting to hear about what our industry thinks the solutions are to this problem. The main takeaway for us was the need to put infrastructure technology at the beginning of the planning process. This includes the design and use of temporary infrastructure to support the needs of events and live experiences, and the need to have frank and open discussions with venues, suppliers and other third parties about infrastructure.

Why we have to use the right tech in the right place

Overall, it was an excellent half day and it was fascinating to see and hear how virtual and augmented reality technology is being used to support and enhance brand events and live experiences for the b2b and b2c sectors. Looking ahead, it is clear that how we use this technology is hugely important – whether it’s virtual or augmented reality, or a mixture of both; just like any element of an event, it’s imperative that everyone knows why it’s there. Its use has to be relevant – it has to enhance a story: it has to engage, inform and inspire.