Those who work in technology industries know that trade shows and events are just another part of doing business. Those who work in events know that technology is a game-changer. There are badge scanners, tablet kiosks and customized apps for internet speed testers, bandwidth calculators, webinar and video conference tools, screen sharing utility, which have changed the way event professionals interact with attendees. But that’s just the beginning.
There are so many event and event app categories. What I have seen in the past year, especially on the East Coast, is the growth in venue and event management software, ticketing apps, and conference software. Why the rise? Venue management software aims to help event planners with marketing and scheduling for their facilities, ensuring that appropriate services and resources are provided for each event and that the facility’s capacity is optimally utilized. Then there is the event management software, which automates the marketing, registration, coordination, and scheduling of events. Conference software automates promotion, registration, and organization of live or online conferences. Ticketing software manages and automates online, kiosk, and box office ticketing for special events, theaters, parks, festivals, fairs, travel, and other activities.
The emerging category of event and meeting platforms automates these management processes to improve effectiveness and efficiency.
There are so many things to consider when designing apps:
- Automated scheduling and management
- Automated analytics
- Integrations via APIs
- Mobile-first apps for ease of use
- Role-based security
- Digitizing meeting data
- Scheduling access
- Forecasting and predictive meeting capabilities
But what if the process for planning and executing them experienced a fundamental paradigm shift? What if the way we conduct events changed forever? What if the event/meeting/conference automation apps need to become more diversified?
As the Coronavirus forced companies and start-ups to go indoors, many small to medium sized event service providers had to seize their operations. We are talking about the small companies that served the technology industry. The ones who entertained. The ones that did the magic tricks and fumbled in the air. These business owners are now stuck at home like everyone else, and trying to figure out how they can make money when live events are effectively banned. Could they move their acts and tricks to a virtual space? Why not? Could they simply start doing magic tricks online, zumba classes via zoom? What would be the logistics of that?
Events and event apps have already shifted. Startups like Unation, Nutickets, GigaBit Live, Host, EventUs and Attend were redefining events as we know them, providing curated digital events management experiences in addition to letting users create and manage events of their own. When it comes to the events themselves, the digital age is redefining what they can be.
Applications for Event Providers: Virtual Events Gone Global
Virtual events are not only promoting convenience but also reducing risk. Whether it’s an in-person event enhanced by virtual reality technology or one hosted entirely in cyberspace, these technology-fueled gatherings mitigate risk and enhance convenience compared to their real-world counterparts.
As most of us experienced in the past two months, hosting a conventional trade show is risky. Cancellations, damage to property, insurance fees, equipment losses, event goer injuries—the list of potential risks goes on and on.
A variety of risk mitigation solutions exist on the market. These include advanced monitoring hardware and software that can provide real-time information, which is the best tool to have during a large-scale event. But that’s assuming people will be attending an in-person event.
What if breakthroughs in cloud-based collaboration tools and virtual reality technology allow everything to take place virtually?
Picture a world where you can attend an event, network with your peers, and interact with exhibits in real time without ever leaving the comfort of your home or office. This is now possible with breakthroughs in virtual reality technology, which is becoming more common and reasonably priced. Those cost reductions are passed down to consumers in the form of lower ticket prices, not to mention no parking or hotel fees, meaning more people can attend, learn, and network.
Product demos are also gearing to use tech support with interactive screens and content delivered to attendees’ cell phones. Gaming will find a place in some exhibitors’ booths, too. Tetris in the boardrooms—who knows what could be next? Some brands will create new showcases for their products using “wearable tech” and virtual reality devices. Using augmented reality helps visitors visualize a virtual object in a physical space. Some of these advancements are truly incredible; however, the practical applications are also wide-ranging and should not be ignored.
Not Just for Trade Shows
When you think of “virtual events,” you no doubt imagine those I have described above. Immersive virtual reality exhibitions where attendees roam detailed and wondrous environments while physically located somewhere else entirely.
Those are very real and exciting uses for these technologies, but we shouldn’t neglect the more practical applications as well. Group webinars and online training are also virtual events, and the possibilities for using new technologies to enhance these traditional types of online virtual events are nearly as exciting.
Think about it. You need to train 100 people in a new process—say, customizing an app for a NetSuite implementation. This is the type of problem Amzur solves with confidence every day because we embrace these new technologies. And this training can be accomplished seamlessly for every employee via innovative video collaboration tools.
This extends to hardware construction as well. If someone needs customized guidance on how to assemble a computer component or machine part, an expert a thousand miles away could show them from a firsthand point of view. With augmented reality, they could even practice building it themselves with real-time guidance.
Local Events and Technology
Tampa Bay is famous for a lot of things: beautiful weather, an incredible coastline, friendly people, metropolitan diversity, local music, networking and art events. Tampa Bay’s festivals and events showcase the best in entertainment, food, music & more! Which ones could go virtual? Which ones could be effective with social distancing?
Where Do We Go From Here?
A bright future awaits events of all kinds, from webinars to full-blown conferences. New virtual and augmented reality technologies have opened entirely new avenues for networking, training and more. So what’s next? Where do we go from here?
As corporations continue to expand their presence in virtual environments, government agencies and non-government organizations will expand into this space as well. Virtual reality tech is breaking down the barriers of time and geography and connecting people across incredible distances in all-new ways; as this happens, we’ll also begin to see new licensing models for immersive multimedia content.
Imagine virtual reality libraries and museums. Public spaces that exist in the cloud, where people can roam freely, viewing great art, reading classic literature, listening to live performances, viewing all the culminated content of human history with their own eyes, reaching out and touching it with virtual fingers.
All you need do is log in.
Director of Digital Marketing
She has over 12 years of experience in hospitality and event management in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and Tampa Bay, Florida. She has worked with several local and regional event leaders to compose this article. If you have any questions on application development for your next event, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.