Olympics Extravaganza and 5 Other Tech Stories Event Planners Should Read

Tech Stories to readThere have been a number of important technology stories over this past month that are of particular interest to our industry – from the incredible projection work at the world’s biggest sporting event, to new developments in the world of wearables, social media and 3D printing. We’ve also come across some really innovative and out-of-this world high tech entertainment ideas for those of you searching for inspiration.

Have a look below at the top event tech stories you don’t want to be missing out on:

The Drum: How Facebook Live Became a Big Part of the Rio Olympics

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro came to a close on Sunday and we saw a number of creative applications of event tech both in and around the games.  Starting with the opening ceremony, there was some very impressive use of pyrotechnics, lighting and 3D projection – which made the relatively low-budget production look like it had all the money in the world:


What really stood out at the games, however, was the way organisers, sponsors and athletes used technology to engage with their audiences.  This article from The Drum puts a particular focus on how Facebook Live played a huge part in delivering real-time, behind-the-scenes looks into the Rio games. According to the company, 277 million unique people had 1.5 billion interactions on the platform throughout the two-week event. The American swimming champion Michael Phelps’ Facebook Live stream came at nearly 4 million views! Other technology highlights at the event included a ceiling installation from Coca-Cola which lit up in gold whenever athletes won a gold medal during the games and a 4-D kayaking virtual reality experience from Samsung.

 BBC News: Inside a 3D Printed Restaurant

Last month, a pop-up restaurant where the table, chairs, plates, cups, cutlery and food were all 3D-printed opened in London for three days. The Food Ink menu included fish and chips paste, mock caviar jellies and swirly-shaped chocolate puddings, all precisely and elaborately created by the robotic hand of a 3D printer.  Some experts are saying that the next generation of 3D ‘food’ printers will have built-in ovens and microwaves and replace a lot of the steps that chefs currently do manually. One guest at the launch event saw this as the future of restaurants – will it also be the future of catering at events?  Have a look at this video and judge for yourself.

MillennialsContently: The Inevitable Shift of Snapchat Demographics

So it seems that Snapchat is being marked as the next big thing for events. Typically associated as a messaging tool for the younger generation, many organisations are now considering it as an important platform to promote engagement across much wider demographic groups.  We saw it happen at Wimbledon this year, where Snapchat was used to share Live Stories at the tennis tournament.  The platform was a success and was also used to create ad spots for sponsors.  This infographic from Contently looks at how Snapchat’s older audience is now growing at a rapid pace. In fact, 50% of users are now 25 or older and this segment is growing twice as fast as the under 25s. Not only that, 7 out of 10 users are now millennials. So if you’re targeting them for your events, it may be worth the consideration.

If you still need convincing, we would recommend this read from the Event Manager Blog which looks at why Snapchat is so relevant for live events.  It makes a compelling argument on how Snapchat is good in using FOMO to create an addiction.  This ‘Fear of Missing Out’ is a very powerful tactic for events. Having a platform that pushes people to watch the content they initially signed up for or forever losing the chance to see it has made Snapchat today second only to Facebook in average time spent on the platform by users. Creative branded images that can be added to Snaps also gives attendees greater context and an opportunity to further engage with your brand or event.

Tech Crunch: Instagram is Going to Start Livestreaming Events

While on the subject of social media, Instagram has announced that it too is going to focus on livestreaming events – along with Facebook, Google and Twitter which have already launched similar functionalities. The new ‘Event’ channel will be personalised for each user and feature videos from concerts, sports games and other live events depending on what’s happening around the world, the kind of live events users are interested in and the type of accounts the user follows.

Any real-life event can become an ‘event’ on Instagram as long as it’s popular enough amongst users and there is enough content to create a channel. It is already available in the US and will soon be deployed worldwide. It will be interesting to see how this evolves across our industry over the coming six months.

crowdBizBash: New Digital Wristband Measures Crowd Reaction at Events

Lightwave is a new form of wearable technology for events that debuted at a Pepsi-sponsored music event at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. The digital wristbands provide real-time data on audience movement, temperature, and sound levels – information that can be used to create more on-the-spot personalised experiences.  At Pepsi’s event, the audio-visual team and DJ used the information to adjust the lighting and song selection to generate more excitement among the crowd. So when organisers noticed the accelerometer readings were not where we they wanted them to be, they dimmed the lights and as a result, people started dancing more.

In addition to the accelerometer that measures the wearer’s movement, the wearable technology also include a microphone that transmits audio levels and a sensor that measures body and ambient temperatures. At the event, a leaderboard displayed various metrics, such as applause levels and the results of a dance-off competition between male and female attendees. At a trade show, it might be used to tell you how people are feeling during a keynote or what talking points are resonating (by measuring applause levels), or what booths people are spending time at.

Event Industry News: The Next 3 Big Tech Acts to Watch Out For At Events

Entertainment at events is becoming less and less about the entertainment itself and more about the experience it creates for attendees. This story from Event Industry News looks at some innovative entertainment options that integrate technology into their acts. One of them includes a digital magician with an interactive stage show that allows attendees to use their phones as part of the magic trick. Another example is a hologram illusion, which combines hologram technology with a magical performance. Have a look at this incredible video from Hologram illusionist, Hiroki, performing in this year’s series of America’s Got Talent:


Click to get in touchAnother form of new and emerging tech acts is Out of the Box Video Mapping, which takes 3D video mapping to a whole new level. By combining hand drawn illustrations, music, poetry, acrobatics, dance and physical theatre, you can create a unique multimedia experience that is more fantasy animation than glorified video.

Finally, if this kind of thing sounds interesting for your events and you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, have a look at this news report from CNN which features a very unique and magical light installation in Japan.  The work responds to user interaction so people can use their smartphones to release virtual butterflies and walk through a psychedelic body of water. Enjoy!

Whether it’s wearable technology or generous freebies, for further inspiration for how to make your event stand out take a look at our recommended reading below or contact us.