We’re always looking for new techniques, tactics and best practices to employ to deliver bigger, better and more engaging events. Given the increasingly important role that it plays in the delivery of effective brand experiences, these conversations often turn to technology. It’s more important than ever that we weave it throughout our events at the pre, during and post-event stages, to both ensure the smooth organisation and delivery of events, and to enhance the overall attendee experience.
What is interesting, is that often we focus on attendee engagement — which is no doubt very important — and forget that technology can be used to solve common bugbears that delegates face at events, too…
Heading Back to Basics
It’s frequently issues around the simple things like parking, bathrooms and queues that attendees rate as their biggest frustrations at events. We often try too hard to be clever and prioritise problems that may not exist in the eyes of the attendee, or design solutions that are over-engineered. This sees us overlook the day-to-day challenges and treat them as the norm, rather than take a step back and consider how technology might be able to help us resolve them.
The best technologies tend to evoke the feeling of “why didn’t I think of that! It’s so obvious now”. Consider developments like the smart city — it utilises various different types of tech to perform important daily tasks like monitor traffic flow, predict traffic incidents, spot close calls and help inhabitants find parking spaces in real time — tasks can be placed in the ‘too hard’ basket, yet make our lives so much easier. The good news is digital tools can be integrated in much the same way in the live space, making way for the ‘smart event’ where every technology — from the venue Wi-Fi and event app to the beacons and second screen technology — can talk to one another to address these issues around parking, bathrooms and queues, as well as, and importantly, engage visitors in new and unique ways.
Simplifying Navigation for Attendees
Ease of navigation is important at any event, and now technology allows us to create a truly end-to-end experience for the attendee. When a navigation app from a company like HERE maps is integrated with an event floor plan technology, attendees are not only supported when it comes to navigating their way around the venue — they receive directory assistance from the moment they hop in their car in the morning until they arrive at a specified stand, right through until it’s time to depart the event. Because data is shared between the technologies in real time, attendees experience a seamless transition from the outside world to the event space, which really simplifies the journey for visitors.
On the navigation front, I also see huge potential in tracking technologies — if we invest in permanent, quality networking and Wi-Fi infrastructure across venues, we will be able to anonymously track smartphone users. This would allow organisers to identify where each attendee is and use this information to benefit them. By showcasing where an attendee is located within an event at any given time, they can identify where they are in the context of the space, determine where they wish to head next, and decide the best route to get there.
Today it’s clear that technology and events complement one another perfectly, and while engagement tools are important when it comes to attendee engagement, enablement devices and integrated tech solutions that ensure visitors are able to locate and navigate an event, see where they want to visit without queuing, and have access to essential facilities, play an equally essential role in the visitor experience.