We’ve entered unprecedented times for corporate event planning. Although much remains to be seen, there are promising opportunities for event technology to help planners put “safety-first” in the driver’s seat for all events. As we plan hybrid events, staying knowledgeable of event tech trends that can augment everyone’s safety is essential.
Event Tech in 2020 – What Is It?
There’s no denying the term “event tech” is broad. For purposes of this article, we define event technology as all hardware and software that helps event organizers plan and execute meetings and events from start to finish. There are numerous formats and platforms including virtual event software, mobile apps, ARS, registration, venue sourcing tools, event marketing software, and much more. All of these can play a role in organizing safer events.
Event planners are known for being creative and agile. Their role demands a readiness to shift directions and keep up with novel technology and social climate changes. Event technology that fortifies safety will play an integral role as we reimagine how live events will look both now and in the future.
Keep reading as we highlight a few of the technologies that will be essential for planning effective, safety-first hybrid events.
Live Streaming for Social Distancing
Why did the chicken cross the road? To maintain a safe distance, of course! As long as the six-foot rule is in effect, one of the perhaps more obvious technologies to help us stay safe is live streaming. These tools help safely connect people all over the world so that meetings, conferences, and presentations remain on the calendar instead of being canceled.
Live streaming technology is also an important tool for executing hybrid events, blending virtual and in-person experiences. Planners are already incorporating digital elements such as peer coaching, sending gifts, giveaways or swag to registrants, and offering virtual networking lounges and award ceremonies – all to accommodate safe meetings and events. Until recently, the term “live streaming” implied a production set-up where a large keynote is streamed to a virtual audience. Thanks to more recent tech advances, anyone can stream live from their personal device, opening up new opportunities to capture the essence of onsite experiences.
What are the benefits of live streaming?
- Expanded audience – those who otherwise may not be able to attend in person may have an easier time joining online.
- Robust engagement opportunities – streaming is a great way to connect with different attendees, host discussions, and otherwise engage with others.
- Connecting on-site and virtual attendees – virtual and onsite attendees can be unified for a connected hybrid experience through live streaming by on-property ambassadors
- Cut the fluff – with less filler sessions, downtime, or distractions that can come with in-person events, live streaming facilitates the presentation of more tailored content.
To capitalize on these benefits, MeetingPlay offers 3 different types of live streaming to match specific virtual or hybrid event needs:
Live Stream: Build the ultimate excitement for opening sessions and keynotes with MeetingPlay’s live streaming format, for audiences up to 200,000+.
Collaboration: Need to host breakouts, roundtable sessions, or networking rooms? Unique to MeetingPlay, collaboration enhances interactivity with real-time screen sharing and attendee engagement tools.
User Generated Streaming: Share the on-property experience with a virtual audience through the eyes of onsite attendees with “Twitch-like” streaming technology.
Though Covid-19 may have accelerated the need across the globe, video/video delivery technology has been relevant for some time and is here to stay. Live streaming continues to join people and ideas while maintaining a safe distance.
According to research firm Markets and Markets, the AI market will grow to a $190 billion industry by 2025, showing that businesses across the world are likely to integrate AI in one form or another in the next five years.
In general, AI helps streamline the event experience. Various applications can associate specific attendees with their industry and interests, ensuring that the most relevant content teaches the right people at the right time. This adds some much-needed safety and simplicity for event attendees and hosts.
Our own AI-matching algorithm is built into our virtual platform and mobile event app. This matching algorithm encourages attendees to complete a brief (but of course, optional) survey at the beginning of an event to gauge interests and professional needs. After the survey results are generated, a list of like-minded attendees will be available, as well as recommended sessions and exhibitors. Such AI technology facilitates meaningful event engagement, helps maximize time, and adds a level of security by helping attendees virtually screen who they want to interact with. Watch how it works!
AI can be integrated in many forms. Some common examples include:
- Event chatbots
- Facial recognition during event registration
- Voice translation and interpretation during panels
- Event newsletter personalization
Let’s take a look at one of these examples, facial recognition, and how it relates to event safety.
Once just a sci-fi movie effect, facial recognition is not only real, but it is facilitating the event industry. It is a software that tracks, records, and stores an individual’s unique facial features. Though not 100% accurate all the time, this technology will continue to be refined and enhanced so that it’s pretty darn close.
Consider event registrations. As contactless events are on the rise, event registration will become more streamlined with facial recognition. Many folks (especially those with iPhones) already use this technology on their smartphones, so its application to the event industry is really no surprise. MeetingPlay offers a facial recognition check-in experience that will be very helpful once more hybrid and live events happen. Check it out here!
Similar to the tech now used by many airlines for boarding of international flights, attendees simply walk-up to a kiosk and check-in hands free with the help of facial recognition technology. Thermal temperature checks can also be part of the touch-free badge pick-up experience to triage attendees for elevated temperatures and prevent them from entering “safe zones”.
As mentioned, data protection goes hand-in-hand with advanced technologies; they progress in tandem. The collected data from virtual/live/hybrid events is incredibly valuable to marketing and sales teams. Audience demographics, engagement, content analysis, and networking activity can all be gleaned from virtual event data collection and reporting. The results translate into more successful events in the future as most of these data collection opportunities can be used to inform all areas of event planning.
While increasingly sophisticated analysis is applied to data, a balance is needed between data protection compliance while also encouraging creativity, innovation, and ensuring data quality. Most consumers will tell you they’d gladly take their business elsewhere if they felt they couldn’t trust a company with their data. As more events move from the physical to the virtual world, both organizations and the general public are looking to minimize security risks across the dozens of virtual event tools and platforms now so commonly used. At MeetingPlay, we follow a security strategy that adheres to industry best practices. This is critical especially now as virtual data sets become the lifeblood of event success. Our security approach includes:
- Multi-Layered Protection – Our security strategy involves multiple layers to protect sensitive information. Utilizing government level encryption, robust network boundaries, access controls including role driven access, and other best practices, we are working to ensure data is protected at rest and in transmission.
- Constant Evaluation – Security threats change constantly, so we are always evaluating and evolving our system and processes for improvements and vulnerabilities.
Don’t miss a critical opportunity to win consumer loyalty and trust. Make sure that your data collecting practices are compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the EU’s new data protection law (and/or where appropriate, with the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2). There are a few key parameters marketers should keep in mind, including giving attendees the ability to opt out of data collection and being transparent as to how their data will be used. In the end, your company and/or brand’s honesty and transparency, especially when it comes to the protection of your audience’s privacy, will be appreciated and trusted.
Security from Above
Once the hot, must-have new tech at events, drones quickly became old news. Event safety may be the thing that stages their comeback. Drones can be an incredible tool for monitoring large events and checking for any incidents or threats.
As opposed to fixed CCTV, drones are agile, can enter small spaces as well as monitor large areas, produce minimal noise, and can even be equipped with night cameras. When we are ready to start hosting larger and in-person events, you can be sure that drones will likely be on security detail, keeping an “eye” on everyone’s safety. Can you imagine how powerful drones equipped with infrared technology could be?
Event Planning Streamlining & Integration
When the time is appropriate for large events to take place in live venues, event tech tools can streamline event planning and lessen the need for in-person site visits. With advancements and widespread use of live streaming, virtual site visits and 3D venue maps, event professionals can clearly visualize what venues look like, and what they offer in terms of meeting space and functionality.
Automation and integration can provide additional benefits for event professionals. Event planning is a complex job and luckily, there are more available tools that can make a huge difference in efficiency and accuracy, through automating tasks and streamlining responsibilities.
Integration goes hand in hand; event management automation platforms will continue to improve their ability to integrate with other software and further streamline the organization process. Such integration can bring a positive change in the functionality of event planning technology, enabling event and facilities professionals to improve productivity and collaboration, while reducing risks.
Though the world as we know it can change on a dime, the event industry has shown agility. Innovative solutions and strong leadership keep events moving forward with safety concerns at the forefront. Investing in and integrating with technologies not only enhance a virtual, live, or hybrid event experience, but also ensures security.
Planning a hybrid event that's both connective and "safe" may seem daunting given the enormous changes we’ve all experienced recently.
Event technology helps make each experience meaningful – albeit different – as well as safe. Keep these trends in mind and be aware of the dynamic nature of this industry. This will help you stay ahead of the curve both now and in the future.
Ready to get started planning safer hybrid events? Contact MeetingPlay.