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This month’s round-up of top tech stories has a big focus on social-distancing and temperature screening tools organisers may need to look at when planning their in-person events in the near future. Highlights include a new mapping system for room layouts and wearable devices that ensure attendees are following social distancing guidelines. We’ve also got some interesting updates from the world of social media – including new audio tweet functionality from Twitter and an app from Facebook that drives engagement at live events.
Have a look at the top tech stories you don’t want to miss:
Event Industry News: New Social Distancing Tool Eases Transition to In-Person Events
What should ballrooms look like when we are all back to meeting again? Event planners no longer have to worry about figuring that out. A new event tech tool could smooth the return to meetings by making it easy to plan room layouts that take each region’s safety rules and recommendations into account.
Using algorithms based on local government restrictions, the new mapping tool from Allseated will allow meeting planners to set parameters and see what a space will look like, how new rules will affect capacity, room entry and food service—all while putting the safety of guests and staff first. Read more.
On-Demand Webinar: Choosing virtual event platforms – how to get it right!
TechCrunch: Twitter Begins Rolling Out Audio Tweets
Interesting news for event marketers – social media giant, Twitter, has announced that it is rolling out new ‘audio tweets’ which allow users to share thoughts in audio form inside their feeds. The feature will only be available to some iOS users for now – no word on an Android or web roll-out yet.
In terms of how it works, users can write a new tweet as they normally might, but now, alongside options to attach a photo or video, there’s a new button where users can record a quick audio message. The platform limits these audio clips to 140 seconds – however, when the limit is reached, users aren’t cut off. Instead, a new tweet will be threaded beneath the original, allowing opinions and thoughts to continue throughout. Think about people using the tool around sessions – will it help drive engagement? One to keep an eye on. Read more.
NorthStar Meetings Group: Wearable Devices Could Help Attendees Keep Their Distance at Events
With live events slowly making a comeback – how can organisers ensure that attendees are following social-distancing restrictions? It seems technology might have the answer. Phone apps and wearable devices that use Bluetooth technology to enforce social distancing, track COVID-19 symptoms and alert anyone who may have been exposed to the virus already are being used in offices and nursing homes. Sports stadiums are also looking to roll out wearable tracking devices that could help fill stadium seats, while ensuring guests maintain a safe distance. And it seems live events could be next.
This article highlights some of the new wearable tech that’s coming out that can help attendees keep their distance at events. One example is a wearable wristband from Halo which vibrates within six feet of another band. It can also be used for contact tracing, as they are designed to keep records of all interactions, including which other bands they came near, when and how many times. Another company has developed wireless, chargeable devices that can be worn around the neck or on the wrist. Those wearing the device can report their health status in real time. Read more.
Forbes: Facebook Launches ‘Venue’ to Focus More on Live Events
Facebook has released a new live event tool called “Venue” which improves the second screen experience for people watching live events. Available on both iOS and Android, the company aims to bring passionate fans and expert commentators together to experience live events in a new interactive way. The app provides interactive actions, while the live event is happening. It also provides interactive questions and polls – as well as the option of opening up short chats all around the specific moments of the live event.
It’s an interesting development because despite drawing large concurrent viewership, live broadcasts are still mostly a solo viewing experience. Passionate sporting fans, for example, are constantly looking for better ways to engage with other fans and experts around their favourite events. Facebook Venue aims to give fans an interactive second-screen experience, curated by experts and centred on the pivotal moments of their favourite events. Read more.
Corporate Meetings Network: Mobile Event Apps – How to Choose the Right One
Mobile event apps are almost expected today and will become even more important as face-to-face exhibitions resume. But with so many vendors offering similar features, how do you decide which is the best one? While research shows cost is the biggest determining factor for organisers when selecting an event app, it shouldn’t be the only one.
This article looks at some of the key things planners should look at when investing in an event app – whether they’re running in-person, virtual or hybrid events. Having good integration capabilities, for example, is key. Find out whether you can integrate your current event technologies with the app. This could (and should) include ticketing solutions, virtual event platforms, digital maps and interactivity tools for audience engagement. Your event app provider should be able to customise connections between their technology and your existing software to fit your event. Otherwise, your technology will be fragmented, resulting in a waste of time, energy and data. Read more.
EventMB: How to Screen Event Attendees for Covid-19 On-Site
As in-person events resume, many options for screening attendees for possible infection are emerging. Each has its pros and cons – and sorting out which is right for your event presents its own challenges. Many organisers are also wondering exactly how much protection do these screening methods offer, and how practical are they to implement? People seem understandably reluctant to invest in technologies that may offer only limited benefits, particularly when budgets are already strained under the pressure of economic recovery.
This article from the team at EventMB offers a useful breakdown of the different methods available in terms of cost, accuracy, and scalability. Thermal cameras, for example, have been growing in popularity because they allow a large number of people to be screened simultaneously. These devices typically range in price from $5,000 to $30,000 USD, but some of the more affordable models lack the accuracy required for medical applications. Handheld contactless thermometers, on the other hand, provide a more precise way to measure fevers, and they are theoretically less expensive if you disregard the added labour costs. Read more.
CNBC: Zoom Will Give End to end encryption to all users
Over the past few months, many of us have been relying heavily on video conferencing tools like Zoom to conduct meetings and events online. But numerous reports on call hijacking or ‘Zoom bombing’ have raised serious security concerns with organisers relying on the platform for their virtual events. So it’s no surprise that the company has now announced it will be offerings stronger end-to-end encryption for all its users (rather than just for certain paying users).
Industry eBook: The Event Planner’s Guide to Data Security
This is good news – especially for those running events with where security is key. End-to-end encryption is technology that prevents anybody except the sender and recipient of a call from being able to access any of the information in the call. The features will become available in beta this month. And hosts will be able to enable or disable it for each meeting or stream, and account admins will be able to the same for groups or individual accounts. Read more.
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