The annual Event Tech Live show took place in London this month, and once again, it didn’t disappoint. As Europe’s only dedicated exhibition and conference for event professionals interested in event technology, it attracts more than 1,600 attendees and 100-plus exhibitors from the event tech industry. The show had a generous display of new technology innovations and solutions, including a launchpad pitch competition which gave a good insight on what’s coming next. More interestingly, the conference brought together a number of experts from technology vendors to event organisers to discuss and debate the latest technology trends and issues shaping our industry today.
From GDPR, personalisation and the future of event apps to the emergence of new applications like chatbots and facial recognition technology – have a look at our top takeaways from Europe’s largest event tech show:
In case you missed it…GDPR is coming!
If there was one topic that kept popping up time and time again across most of the sessions at the show, it was the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the impact it will have on the events industry. And yet surprisingly, an audience poll conducted by a panel of experts from Glisser, SpotMe and Krowdthink revealed that MOST event planners had actually very little understanding about the new regulation – which is quite alarming, given the implications.
GDPR is coming into effect in May 2018 and will apply to ANY event collecting and processing the personal information of European attendees – regardless of location. For event planners, the new regulation presents a change in the way they decide what data needs to be collected from attendees and how that data is used for things like marketing campaigns. It will change the way attendee data is shared with other third-party organisations like venues, sponsors and tech providers. It will also change attitudes to data security and what measures need to be in place to keep attendee data safe. And let’s not forget about the fines. Compared to current data protection regulations, non-compliance to GDPR can lead to some very serious financial consequences – and lawsuits.
But it’s not all bad news. GDPR will bring about some big opportunities for our industry too. In fact, one of the main take-aways from the panel was that GDPR is a big chance for event planners to advance their careers. How? By taking ownership of GDPR. By ensuring that events are dealing with personal data in a transparent and secure way – and always in the individual’s best interest. And by getting their event tech ready too. If you’re interested in finding out more, have a look at this free eBook ‘The Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance’ which explains why the events industry has to start taking responsibility for GDPR, its impact on event marketing, data management and event technology and what steps event planners need to take now to get ready for the May 2018 deadline.
Related Article: 5 Questions You Need to Ask Event Tech Providers About GDPR
Event Apps Vs. Chatbots
The popularity around event apps has evolved so much over the last few years – most people attending any kind of event expect an app and it seems most event planners want one too. But are apps starting to get a bad reputation? How effective are they really in engaging audiences? And will other emerging technologies like NFC and chatbots replace the need for event apps all together? These questions were addressed in a very interesting discussion by panellists from Sciensio, Beeem, NoodleLive and CrowdComms exploring the future of event apps.
In the always-connected world of smartphones, social media and information-on-demand, it seems that the attention span of our attendees is getting shorter and shorter. And this is something that event planners need to address if they want their attendees to interact more with their apps. People don’t want to waste their time browsing through irrelevant content on an app just to find out the location of their next session. They want the technology to add value to their event experience and they want the interaction with the technology as easy as possible. And this is where chatbots come in. They don’t require attendees to download anything. They apply easy text-based messaging t technology that most people are comfortable in using and more importantly, they provide that instant personalised information service that attendees are looking for at an event. Though we firmly believe that native apps still have a firm place in the events industry – perhaps we will start seeing more people move towards what chatbots can offer over the coming few years.
All the panellists agreed that pushing more personalised content on people’s smartphones will be a key trend over the coming years. Websites can already send personal push notifications on people’s phones through Google Chrome (coming soon on Safari). Google is also driving a big push towards progressive web apps – which basically allows you to run apps on a web browser. The technology will bridge the gap between apps and websites by offering the functionality of both, with more offline capabilities, improved speed and better performance. Watch this space.
How Important is Event Personalisation?
Personalisation was another hot topic at the event and we can understand why. More and more attendees are starting to expect both the communication of an event and the live experience to be tailored to them in some way. At the same time, the abundant use of sophisticated data capture tools – from registration systems and apps to surveys, social media, networking and on-site tracking solutions – are helping event planners collect and analyse valuable attendee information to create more powerful and customised event experiences. But as good as it all sounds, is it something we should all do? And how do we decide how much personalisation we should actually do?
This was the basis of one panel discussion between Eventsforce, Haymarket Media and the British Council which unveiled the results of a new research study on event personalisation. It seems that despite it being a growing priority for 73% of event planners, more than 50% struggle to see how effective their personalisation efforts are in engaging attendees and building brand loyalty. The study also revealed that more than half don’t end up using all the data they collect for personalisation and another 44% find it difficult to determine how much personalisation they should actually do.
So what was the advice? Decide what data you’re going to collect, why you’re collecting it and agree across your organisation on how it’s going to be used before collecting it for the purpose of personalisation. Don’t ask your attendees any unnecessary questions as this will have a negative effect on their event experience. And finally, explain clearly how the information they provide will bring value to their experience and that you’re looking after their data and privacy – especially with the upcoming GDPR. Click here to watch the full session.
Event Technology – What’s Next in Innovation?
This year’s show also saw the return of the Launchpad, a dedicated area for start-ups and providers of new event technology solutions – except this year, they also ran a pitch competition where providers had to battle it out in front of a panel of judges. There were some very interesting applications of event tech, all designed to save time and enhance the attendee’s event experience in one way or another. The winner was a web-based solution from Zenus which uses facial recognition technology to cut waiting lines and speed up the check-in process of attendees at events. When an attendee approaches a kiosk, their profile will pop up and a scanner can print their badges on the spot. Alternatively, you can place a tablet facing the line of people and attendees will be automatically checked-in as they walk.
Another noteworthy winner was Sciensio’s Concierge Eventbot solution which offers attendees an alternative to apps through a range of text messaging services, including agendas, directions, floor plans, surveys, polls and more. We also saw a great staffing solution from Liveforce which promises to scrap the need for Excel spreadsheets when recruiting, scheduling, booking and paying temporary staff around events. Worth checking out.
You can watch all the pitch presentations of the ETL2017 Launchpad competition here.
Want to be a tech-savvy event planner? Sign up to the weekly EventTech Talk newsletter here and get advice and updates on the latest technology trends and discussions shaping the events industry today.