In this month’s round-up of top tech stories, we look at how LinkedIn is finally making its mark in our industry with new tools that allow people to connect with one another at conferences and events. We also look at how event marketers can engage better with younger audiences through long-form videos on Instagram – as well as a new ticketing solution that virtually eliminates touting and ticketing fraud by using the revolutionary blockchain technology. Finally for a bit of fun, we look at some of the latest gadgets and gizmos out there that can make the life of a travelling event planner a whole lot easier!
Have a look at the top tech stories you don’t want to miss:
Social Media Today: LinkedIn Rolls Out QR Codes for Individual Profiles
This is a very interesting development from LinkedIn for our industry. The company this month has launched their own version of QR codes for profiles, which makes it easier for people to find user profiles and connect with them on-the-spot. It follows a similar move by the social networking giant when it unveiled its ‘Find Nearby’ tool, which uses Bluetooth technology to help people find and connect with others around them at conferences, events and other places within proximity.
The latest feature means LinkedIn is now the latest social platform to add a QR option, despite the fact that QR codes have never really seemed to catch on. Or have they? According to The Economist, QR codes are hugely popular in China and Japan. That could be why social platforms see such opportunity in the option – so even if western markets aren’t as interested in QR codes, but there are huge markets of people who are, and those trends could translate across over time, making it a more significant consideration. Read more.
Business Insider: Instagram Launches Long-Form Video
Interesting update from Instagram for those of you running events targeting millennials – the company has just announced that it will increase its video time limit from one minute to 10 minutes in an attempt to lure young viewers away from YouTube. Instagram accounts with large audiences will be able to go as long as an hour.
Why is Instagram doing this now? It seems that many believe that long-form video sharing works and will continue to grow. While ‘medium-form’ videos (lasting between 5-20 minutes) have gotten relatively little attention, short-form and long-form videos have switches places in terms of the proportion of time people are willing to allot to one or the other. Just two years ago, users would spend about 26% more of their time on videos under 5 minutes long – but they’re now spending 16% more of their time on videos longer than 20 minutes. Read more.
New York Times: The Tech You Need to Travel Better
While no product can guarantee a seat upgrade or make your delayed flight arrive on time, a few smart investments can make your next trip as a busy event planner more comfortable, more relaxing and less stressful. Some interesting suggestions include a Tile Bluetooth Tracker which can slide anywhere inside your bag and pairs with an app on your smartphone to let you know how far away your bag is at all times. Another is a simple USB travel scale like the Balanzza Mini USB scale which lets you weigh your bag on the go.
If you have trouble sleeping while travelling, a white-noise machine may just make the difference. The article recommends the Lectrofan – which is a stand-alone device that masks out barking dogs, snoring roommates or other mysterious hotel sounds. Other suggestions include noise-cancelling headphones and streaming sticks, like Google’s Chromecast, which makes it easier for you to choose what you want to watch on the hotel TV. Read more.
BBC News: Facebook faces £500,000 fine Over Data Breach Scandal
Facebook faces a maximum penalty fine in the UK after the country’s privacy watchdog said the recent data sharing scandal that involved Cambridge Analytica broke the law. The company had failed in protecting people’s personal information and had also failed in being transparent on how this data was being used by other third parties. Not only did the whole incident shake up people’s trust in the way organisations manage their personal information, but more importantly, it has made it apparent to everyone why we need tighter data protection regulations like GDPR.
As an event planner, you may easily think that the whole issue of data protection and security as something that needs to be dealt with by your IT, legal and operations team. But the reality is that there are many day-to-day things you may be doing that could easily put your organisation at serious risk of a security breach. Things like sharing system passwords and emailing delegate lists to hotels and venues. Not briefing freelancers properly and using open Wi-Fi networks. These are just some examples but there are many more. Understanding these risk factors and doing things that minimise the chances of personal data getting into the wrong hands will give your attendees confidence that you are on the case and looking after them properly. Which can only be a good thing. Read more.
Exhibition News: Ticketing Solution Talks Up Blockchain Revolution
Blockchain technology has been one of the hottest buzzwords on the planet in recent years, and for good reason. It has already revolutionised the currency market and now it looks like it’s making its mark on the events industry. New start-up Aventus is seeking to revolutionise the way tickets are bought and sold using a blockchain-based system, which virtually eliminates ticketing fraud and the scourge of unregulated touting.
The live events space has numerous problems with ticket resale, scalping, and mass purchasing from bots. These are issues that blockchain can solve: Aventus assigns a unique identity to each ticket, which is checked against every computer in the network. This means each ticket is encrypted and cannot be replicated or faked. It also means organisers can keep an accurate record of who owns each ticket, and resale prices can be capped to eliminate scalping. An interesting development – though only time will tell whether this new technology could be as disruptive to our industry as it has been elsewhere. Read more.
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