Event Chat Bots and 6 Other Tech Stories Event Planners Should Read

shutterstock_233448184In this month’s round-up of the latest and most relevant event tech stories, we come across chat bots and how they bring a new alternative to event apps, as well as some new event-related services from Facebook.  We also look at new innovations including sunglasses that allow hands-free video recording of your events and some great applications of AR technology for exhibitions and conferences.

Have a look at what you may have missed:

Event Tech Brief: Event Chat Bots Will Have You at Hello

Mobile apps that help attendees navigate, network, set appointments, and do all of the things that event apps do are practically growing on trees. But there is a sector of the live-event space that remains underserved by mobile apps. And that’s where chat bots come in. According to this article from Event Tech Brief, chat bots like Concierge EventBot let event attendees have conversations with event organisers (via their artificial intelligence powered surrogates) using the event website, Facebook Messenger, or the text-messaging feature of their smartphones. So rather than download, learn, and search for information on a mobile-event app, users can simply start typing. For short events like a half-day conference or a small meeting where mobile apps are overkill, chat bots could be perfect.

Concierge EventBot aggregates multiple apps, including a natural language processor, chat log, event-schedule organizer, push notification scheduler, customer support software used by event staff to answer requests for assistance, and multiple text message delivery services. This combination of tools gives event attendees some interesting capabilities, such as being able to ask a simple question (where is the ballroom?) and get a quick reply.  Have a read through the article for a full list of available features.

Smart Meetings: 3 Reasons Event Planners Will Love Facebook’s New Events App

Facebook has launched a standalone Events app which helps people browse event recommendations based on time, location and their interests. Users can look for events using an interactive map; or even scout out future events using a handy search tool. This story from Smart Meetings looks at how the app makes things easier for event planners too. When users open the app, they see updates from events they are attending, recently announced events from pages they like and events their friends are interested in. Previously, these updates appeared alongside other posts in users’ timelines, making it easy for them to get lost in the mix. So if you have an important update to send to attendees, this app makes it easier for them to see it. Your event can also improve its visibility by focusing on a targeted, engaged audience that’s more likely to be interested in attending your event.

The company has also launched a new social network that’s meant to help people chat and collaborate at work. Workplace looks a lot like Facebook but it’s entirely separate from it and has features and tools that make sure your data and information stay secure. The app is meant to allow people within companies to chat to each other – replacing things like intranets, internal chat systems and emails.  What is useful for event planners is that you can use the app’s ‘Work Feed’ of posts to set tasks and exchange ideas with colleagues. It’s mobile so your on-site event team can use it to communicate with each other on the move.  It includes Facebook messenger for audio and video calling options. It also lets you talk with people outside your company – such as the suppliers you deal with around your events – by using shared groups where you can choose to share some things while keeping other information private.

BizBash: Why Your Event Hashtag Is Not Enough

Most event planners monitor online conversations around their events by creating, promoting and tracking a hashtag. According to this article, however, it seems that there are a lot of conversations out there that have missing or misspelt event hashtags and handles and these often get overlooked. And this has led to Ampsy, a company that captures and analyses hashtag campaigns for brands and events, to shift its focus to geofencing. Event planners can use the system to create a geofence (a virtual boundary) around their event venue and the system can identify and analyse posts on pretty much all the social media platforms. It can also track trending keywords within the geofenced area.  This is helpful as people may be creating their own hashtags, which in some cases can be more popular than a brand or event’s official hashtag.

The system uses IBM Watson Personality Insights to provide a deeper understanding of people talking about the event or brand. Its dashboard ranks those who are posting by their social reach and also provides a look at their historical social posts.

PCMA: The New Sunglasses That Your Young Attendees Will Be Wearing

It’s time to get ready to welcome a new piece of on-the-body technology for your event’s on-site experience. Snap (Snapchat’s new name by the way) has just launched Spectacles, which essentially is a pair of sunglasses with an integrated video camera – designed to capture the entire human perspective with a circular 115-degree field of view. What does this mean for event planners?

Well, the potential can be pretty big. Forget the crowds of attendees with smartphones in front of their faces because Spectacles allows hands-free recording. Regardless of the type of event you run, these glasses let your attendees share their experiences in a way that feels more authentic than the here’s-the-shaky-video-from-my-phone view. They capture 10-second videos, and users can easily share the videos on the Snap platform via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.  They look pretty hip and are expected to retail at $129.99 — a much friendlier price that the Google Glass debut price tag of $1,500!

BizBash: 4 Types of Augmented Reality for Events

As we’ve mentioned before, Augmented Reality (AR) offers a variety of opportunities for brands and planners at events, from entertainment and customer engagement to education about a company and its products and services. Exhibitors can use AR to demonstrate their products at a trade show rather than dealing with the cost and hassle of transporting the actual equipment. Festival sponsors can make videos and graphics come to life and brands can make things that are otherwise unseen—such as sound waves emanating from a speaker—visible in an augmented world.

In this article, Bizbash showcases four of the most common ways AR can be incorporated into an event, including wearables to device-based experiences such as the Pokémon Go gaming phenomena. Another option includes mirror AR, which lets people see reflections of themselves with additional imagery or content layered on top of it –  a great way of creating ‘surprise and delight’ moments for your attendees.  Lastly, it looks at transparent AR – a new application of the technology that uses a transparent LED as a window into a 3D virtual environment. It’s pretty incredible and well suited for large group demonstrations at trade shows.  Have a look at the full list.

meerkat-logoBBC News: Meerkat Live-Streaming App ‘Dead’

So it’s finally over for Meerkat.  The live-streaming app that made such an impact in the meetings and events industry over the last 18 months got pulled off the app stores this month. The app attracted much attention when it was launched at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, last year. But its success was short-lived when Meerkat found itself caught up in a battle with Twitter’s rival service – Periscope.  And when Facebook Live was launched earlier this year, all hope was lost.

Last month, EventTech Talk ran a poll asking event planners which social live-streaming app they preferred using around their events and the two that kept topping the list were Periscope and Facebook Live. The two platforms, however, have some very different features that can be better suited for one type of event over another.  Have a look at this infographic that gives a top line overview of the pros and cons of using Facebook Live and Periscope around your events.

Nasdaq: Nokia and Bitwalking Team Up in Digital Currency Fundraising Event for Charity

Click to get in touchThis is an interesting bit of tech news for those of you involved in running fundraising events. Walkathons are a popular way to raise funds for charities and this month, Nokia partnered with Bitwalking, the Walking Dollars (W$) digital currency app, for its charity fundraising event at the Nokia Futurecom conference in Brazil. Bitwalking Walking Dollars are mined through the simple act of walking; the more a person walks, the more they earn. The app can verify users’ steps using a handset’s GPS position via a Wi-Fi or data connection. Have a read through this story which gives you more details on Nokia’s experiences using the app. It’s definitely an interesting development that will get more people interested in using digital currencies around events. Bitwalking also recently debuted their Bitwalking Events Platform, an event dashboard providing real time analytics and progress updates for participants in all Bitwalking events.