Tag: event apps

4 Technology Trends from Experts at Europe’s Largest Event Tech Show

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.

 

New eBook: The Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance

The events industry needs to pay attention to Europe’s changing data protection laws or prepare to face the consequences.  A new eBook by Eventsforce, titled The Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance, explains why the events industry has to start taking responsibility for the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (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.


How ready is the events industry for GDPR?  Find out what other event planners are doing by taking part in this 2-minute survey and a chance to win a £50 Amazon voucher!


Why Is GDPR Compliance Responsibility of Event Planners?

GDPR will come into effect on 25th May 2018 and will apply to any organisation that collects and processes personal data on European citizens or residents. So, if you are hosting events in Europe or your attendees are European citizens (regardless of where your events take place), then the new regulation will apply to you.  And if you’re using some kind of event management or registration software that helps you capture and process the data around your events, then GDPR will apply to your technology providers too – even if they’re based outside the EU.

Is it a big deal?  Yes, because GDPR is going to change the way you collect and process personal data through things like registration forms and mobile apps. It’s going to impact how you use that data for marketing and personalisation. It’s also going to impact the measures you have in place to keep that data safe. And though you’ll be right in thinking that compliance is something that will be dealt with by your IT, legal, operations or marketing teams, the reality is that the responsibility for the new regulation does not stop there.  And that is because many of the things event planners do today can put their organisations under serious financial risk with GDPR:

  • Using pre-ticked consent boxes and vague opt-outs within registration forms and apps
  • Not having the proper processes and systems in place that store consent
  • Not being able to access or delete the data you hold on people – quickly, at no cost
  • Sharing delegate lists freely with venues, speakers and other attendees
  • Not paying attention to the data freelancers and temp staff have access to
  • Emailing unsecure spreadsheets & leaving unattended registration lists on-site

The consequences of these actions are huge compared to current data protection regulations, especially if the data gets into the wrong hands. And though people aren’t fully aware of their rights yet, they will be.  And once they are, the enquiries will start to come.  As will the lawsuits.  It is therefore important that event planners understand exactly what they should and shouldn’t do under GDPR – so that they can then figure out what changes they need to make around collecting and managing the personal information of people that come to their events.

eBook: The Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance

GDPR presents some big challenges to the events industry, but it also brings some big opportunities too. The ‘Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance’ eBook gives a simple overview of what GDPR actually means for event planners, what changes it will bring about compared to current regulations, the rights of attendees, the risks of non-compliance and the consequences of BREXIT.

It also provides insight on how GDPR will impact event marketing, data security and event technology, as well a step-by-step guide on what event planners need to do now to meet the May 2018 deadline.  Highlights include:

Event Marketing Under GDPR – One of the major changes for event planners with regards to GDPR compliance will be the conditions of consent – this will have a profound effect on the way we currently use personal information to build mailing lists and push the marketing activities we do around events.  The eBook covers the topic through a Q&A that provides answers from experts on some of the most common questions event marketers have about GDPR.

Data Security Under GDPRData security is another issue that becomes more of a priority under GDPR.  Organisations will have to show that they’re doing their best to protect the personal information of individuals to minimise the chances of it getting into the wrong hands. The eBook exposes a number of important vulnerability areas that event planners should be putting greater attention to and what they need to do in the case of a data breach.

Event Technology Under GDPR – GDPR regulations require compliance both by the company hosting an event and by the event tech companies that process data on their behalf (ex. registration systems, mobile apps, surveys, networking tools etc.). The eBook explains why event planners dealing with non-compliant vendors can pose a big financial risk to their organisations.  It also outlines the important questions planners need to ask tech suppliers to ensure they’re fulfilling their legal obligations.

What Steps to Take to Prepare for GDPR – A simple nine-point checklist which highlights the key steps event planners need to take to prepare for GDPR, based on advice published by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Highlights include how to create awareness about the new regulation across your team, how to run a data audit to assess what needs to be done with all the personal data your systems hold on people, as well as guidance on managing consent boxes within forms.

The eBook also highlights the opportunities that GDPR brings to the events industry.  It looks at how compliance will give organisations the chance to show that they’re dealing with personal data in a transparent and secure way.  This will help them build a new level of trust with attendees and customers, which will be key in deciding which organisations people choose to deal with in the future.

To get a FREE copy of the ‘Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance’ eBook, please click here.

To learn more about Eventsforce and how it can help events with GDPR compliance, please contact one of our team at gdpr@eventsforce.com


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How to Collect Valuable Data from Events

At a time when budgets are squeezed and downsizing has become commonplace, having a quantifiable return on events has never been more important.  And technology plays a key role here. Event tech systems help organisations collect important data around their events (registration forms, surveys, apps) and create all sorts of reports that help in measuring event success.  In fact, according to the results of a new Eventsforce study, calculating ROI and measuring success is the number one reason why organisations are collecting data from events.

The problem, however, is that the amount of data generated around an event can be overwhelming: from website traffic and social media engagement to registration and attendance.  From the quality of your attendees to their feedback and evaluation. From the revenue generated to conversion rates and sales leads. Figuring out what tools you need to measure the data that matters is not as simple as one would hope.

11 Effective Data Collection Tools for Events

There are a number of data collection tools that helps organisations gather and analyse valuable information around their events. But which ones should you use?

Have a look below for a list of some of the most effective event data collection tools based on feedback from more than 120 senior event planners:

1. Registration Systems

Most organisations today use some form of automated system to manage registrations around their events. And for good reason too.  Our study found that registration systems were seen as the most effective data collection tool for measuring event success. As well as default information like names, addresses and contact details of your attendees, registration systems like Eventsforce allow you to collect more personalised data by segmenting your audiences into different categories (attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, VIPs etc.).  For example, you can find out what proportion of attendees cite education as the primary reason for coming to your event or see which specific sessions your VIPs are most interested in attending. This kind of information can give really valuable insight in the way you plan, manage and evaluate the success of all your events.

2. Online Surveys

Post-event surveys often provide the most meaningful feedback for organisers.  They can help you gather important information on many aspects of your event – including feedback on your speakers, sessions, catering, prices, exhibitors, sponsors, accommodation, travel and more.  Not only does this information help you make any necessary improvements, but more importantly, it can help you figure out whether attendees found value in your event and whether or not they would come again the next time round.

3. Event Management Software

These systems have evolved so much over the last few years that they now sit at the heart of most matters concerning event data.  They act as centralised systems that help you capture, track and report on important real-time information on multiple events, including registrations, attendance, session selections, payments, revenue and profits etc.  Some systems like Eventsforce also do a good job of integrating (or sharing) their data with other business systems like CRM, finance, marketing and membership solutions.  This means event planners can use their event management system to access any relevant data stored in some of these other solutions.  For example, event teams will be able to access all the outstanding attendee payments recorded in their organisation’s finance system, which helps them stay on top of their revenue and cashflow forecasts.


Find out how companies like Schroders, Haymarket, The Liberal Dems and the Royal Statistical Society are using data integration to save time and money around their events. Get your FREE copy of ‘The Event Planner’s Guide to Data Integration’ eBook here.


4. Mobile Apps

Event apps have made the whole process of collecting data at events a whole lot easier – from facilitating live polls and Q&As to networking tools that can give insight on who your attendees are meeting with at your event. The analytic tools on these apps can help identify how attendees are engaging with your event and what they find of interest based on their in-app actions. For example, you’ll be able to see exactly how many people showed interest in certain speakers and sessions, or which exhibitors generated the most buzz.  This will help determine interest areas across different types of attendees – it will also help in things like assessing speakers and deciding whether or not to bring them back the following year.

5. Social Media Tools

Event planners can really maximize their social media outreach by using analytic tools that measure engagement numbers on their social networks, like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.  Using tools like Hootsuite, Oktopost or Mention, you can do things like see which platforms are the most effective, find out what content your followers are sharing with their own networks, what is engaging with them emotionally and what is more educational and so on.  You can also assess conversions such as registrations, sign ups to newsletters, eBook downloads or anything else you want your followers to do.

6. On-Site Systems

Knowing exactly who turned up at your event and what sessions they attended is something every organisation wants to know. The information helps figure out popular topics and sessions. It also helps profile attendees.  On-site systems like the Eventsforce on-site app allow event planners to have instant access to this kind of information at the event itself, which can be very useful. For example, the app can tell you that 30 people have already checked-in to a session and that another 10 are expected to show up. It also shows that the room capacity for that particular session is 50 people.  You can use the information to encourage more people to attend by promotions through digital signage, social media or direct notifications on the event app.

7. Audience Engagement Tools

Solutions like Glisser promote engagement and audience participation at events through the use of smartphones. Using the event app, attendees can put questions across to speakers during sessions, rate other questions and see any presentation slides in real-time. The tool allows you to collect and store all the data for post-event analysis, which can help in identifying topics your attendees are interested in – as well as determine the success or shortcomings of your speakers and presentations.

8. Web Analytics

Understanding how people are interacting with your event website is important. Without this understanding, you won’t know the potential problems your event’s online presence is facing. You also won’t be able to make any meaningful changes. Tools like Google Analytics can help you gather important data that tell you whether or not your marketing efforts are actually turning into results. This can include things like detailed demographics on who is visiting your website, where your visitors and registrations are coming from, which content and pages on your website are the most/least popular, conversation rates and the point at which people are abandoning their registrations.

Read: Why is Google Analytics So Important for Event Marketing

9. Networking Tools

Networking is seen as one of the main reasons why people attend events so it makes sense to facilitate this as much as possible for your attendees. Tools like Meeting Manager are usually incorporated within the registration process or event app and they allow attendees to personalise their agendas, see who is attending that may be of interest to them and set up meetings with people they want to meet.  The data helps planners get insight on how much ‘networking’ is being done at their event and the kind of people, exhibitors or topics your attendees are most interested in.

10. RFID/NFC Tools

Solutions using these technology platforms are doing particularly well at trade shows as they don’t depend on Wi-Fi technology but can track real-time data around visitor footprint on the show floor. One example of this is Poken, which allows attendees to use smart badges to virtually swap business cards and instantly collect any event collateral. It helps exhibitors track exactly who is visiting their booth, which is great in measuring the ROI of participation. It also gives planners insight on how attendees are moving and interacting around the venue – so you can quickly identify hot and cold spots and adjust your marketing and promotional activities accordingly.

11. Chatbots

Chatbots like Concierge EventBot are relatively new in the industry. They let attendees have conversations with event planners (via their artificial intelligence surrogates) using platforms like the event website, Facebook Messenger or the text-messaging feature of their smartphones. Last month, South by Southwest used its own chatbot to provide attendees with automated concierge-style assistance on demand.  More than 16,000 app users submitted 56,000 questions to the bot, asking things like ‘What time is Joe Biden speaking?’ or ‘What hip-hop artists are playing on Wednesday?’ and ‘Where can I find Tacos?’.  As well as personalising the attendee’s event experience, all interactions and notifications on the chatbot are logged and available for analysis and reporting. Standard reports include usage by messaging channel, unique users, messages grouped by topics, notifications, external link clicks, human assisted requests and conversation updates.

Conclusion

All the tools mentioned in this article can be useful for different reasons.  The most important consideration you need to make is figuring out from the very start what data you want to collect from your events and how that data can bring value to your organisation.  Whether that’s the number of people who registered for your event compared to the actual number who attended.  Whether they used your app for engagement or networking.  Once you know the what you want to measure, create a plan that outlines your data strategy and identifies the tools you can use to track, manage and report the data that actually matters.

Are there any other effective data collection tools you’d like to add to this list?  Please share and let us know – we’d love to hear your comments!


Want to be a tech savvy event planner? Sign up to our weekly EventTech Talk Newsletter here and get updates on all the latest technology trends, discussions and debates shaping the events industry today.

 

 

How On-Site Apps Can Help You Run Better Events

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Knowing exactly who turned up at your event and what sessions they attended is something that every event planner wants to know. The information helps us figure out popular topics and sessions. It helps us profile our attendees.  It is also one of the many ways we measure event success.  Yet having this information at the end of the event is a bit of a lost opportunity.

Event planners can become a lot more proactive in the way they manage attendance around their sessions through the use of on-site mobile apps.  An industry poll from Eventsforce this month found that 54% of event planners are already using mobile apps to record and manage attendance at their events.  And the reasons for this are two-fold.  First, they provide a fast check-in process for attendees. Second, they give event planners immediate insight on important performance metrics, including things like actual attendance figures, no shows, room capacities, session popularity and more.

How Do On-Site Apps Work?

On-site apps can be downloaded on tablets and smartphones and are typically integrated with the registration or event management systems you’re using around your event. The app brings up registration lists for a particular event or session, which on-site staff can use to track attendees using alphabetical drop-down lists and Google-like search tools. They can also use the device’s camera to scan barcodes on attendee badges.

The app brings up the attendee’s profile, which will include details like their name, photo, their attendee category (delegate, speaker, VIP, exhibitor etc.), payment status and the days and sessions they have booked to attend. One quick tap on the relevant date or session and the check-in process is complete.

Why Use On-Site Apps?

On-site apps simplify the whole process of recording attendance at your events and sessions. You will no longer need paper lists or desks – you’ll also be able to use as many devices as you wish.  The only thing you have you have to think about really is a secure and reliable Internet connection. But there are other benefits too. Let’s take a quick look:

1) Improve Your Attendee Experience

shutterstock_3448719The app eliminates the need for desks, laptops or expensive barcode scanners – on-site staff can use the app on their smartphones or tablets to provide a very quick and easy check-in process for your attendees. And if you have a situation where someone shows up to a session without having registered, then the app can automatically redirect staff to the event website where they can complete registrations on the spot.

Knowing which sessions your attendees have already checked into also helps with health and safety regulations.  In the case of an emergency evacuation, for example, your app can give you a quick and accurate view of whether or not your attendee is in a particular session room or never showed up in the first place.

2) Deal with Accurate Data

Untitled design (17)As the app is integrated with your event’s registration solution, any changes to session bookings or attendee profiles is automatically updated in both systems.  This way, the data is always kept accurate and up-to-date. So, let’s say you have a situation where your event has already started but you have new attendees signing up and booking sessions at the main registration desk. The integration makes sure that any new registration data is automatically updated in the app and that your staff recording attendance outside the session rooms have access to the latest registration lists.

Accurate attendance recording also means that organisations like associations can do a better job of tracking the sessions and events their members are actually attending.  This helps them issue attendance certificates and manage CPD (Continual Professional Development) accreditation a lot more effectively.


Want to be a tech savvy event planner? Sign up to the weekly EventTech Talk newsletter here and get updates on all the latest technology trends, discussions and debates shaping the events industry today.


 3) Save Valuable Time

untitled-design-72The on-site app saves time by eliminating the need to manually upload attendance data into spreadsheets or other event management systems.  Many event planners use barcode technology to scan delegate badges and record attendance around their events. The data may then have to be uploaded into the back-end systems, which can take time and may be prone to error.  Also, the more sessions you have and the more scanners you use, the more time it will take for you to collate all your data – there’s also the risk that you may lose some of that data along the way.

Automatic updates between the app and your registration system also ensures that you have access to important information at the touch of a button – regardless of where you are at the event. So, you’ll no longer need to waste any time logging into your back-end systems to see if an attendee has made his payments or has access to VIP privileges.

 4) Get Better Data Security

Data SecurityData theft is a problem for any organisation that has valuable information to protect and the events industry is no exception – let’s face it, the amount of information we collect from visitors and attendees is a potential goldmine for hackers.  On-site apps eliminate the need for paper-based registration lists – which is great for your green credentials, but more importantly, it significantly cuts down the risk of valuable attendee data getting into the wrong hands.

You can also use the app to control which of your staff has access to all your attendee data.  For example, you as the event planner may decide to have access to registration and attendance data for all the sessions around your event but you may choose to limit your on-site staff to access data for one particular session.

5) Become More Proactive

office-620822_1920On-site apps can help you make well informed decisions by providing important management insight on the day of your event.  At any point in time, you’ll be able to get up-to-date insight on how your event or sessions are doing in terms of registrations, attendance and room capacity.  For example, the app can tell you that 30 people have already checked-in to one of your sessions and that you’re expecting another 10 to show up.  You also know that the room capacity of that particular session is 50.  You can use that information to encourage people to attend through different channels, including digital signage, social media or direct notifications though the event app.

The app can also help manage payments on the day.  So, if it’s a ticketed event, it will automatically show whether or not an attendee has any outstanding payments. It will also help prevent the same person from checking in twice or that two people aren’t sharing the same ticket.


Would you like to use on-site apps at your events? Eventsforce On-site helps event planners with accurate attendance recording and valuable real-time insight on registrations, attendance and room capacity on the day of their events.  For more information on the app, please click here or get in touch here.

 

 

 

5 Ways You Could Use Virtual and Augmented Reality at Events

Virtual and augmented reality are two of the hottest trends in event tech for 2017. In fact, with the launch of more accessible and affordable devices from the likes of Google, Samsung, Sony, Oculus, HTC and Microsoft in recent months, altered realities have become one of the most fast paced emerging technologies in our industry today.

We’ve seen some incredible applications of demos, videos and experiences that help brands differentiate themselves at exhibitions and conference-style events. At the recent Event Tech Live show in London, the exhibitors that offered interactive experiences were the ones that attracted the most people to their booths – from Noonah’s virtual mirror to a robot on the Festyvent stand that interacted with delegates and even sang songs. In the same way, virtual and augmented reality technologies are helping brands stand out and bring something a little different to the event experience.

Here are five great examples of how virtual and augmented reality have been used to attract crowds and create unique experiences at events:

Coachella Music Festival Virtual Reality App

US music festival Coachella recognised the growing appeal of VR this year by launching a new app and shipping Google Cardboard headsets to attendees alongside their tickets. Debuting ahead of the event, the Coachella VR app was designed to let Cardboard VR, Gear VR, Oculus and Vive owners browse through 360 degree photos from previous festivals and watch interviews from this year’s line-up of artists. 3D virtual tours of the festival grounds let fans familiarise themselves with the layout before they even left the house.[tribulant_slideshow gallery_id="2"]

AHS Fearless Virtual Reality Experience at San Diego Comic-Con

The annual comic book convention in southern California attracts more than 130,000 people each year with hundreds of media companies competing for the attention of fans. This year’s Comic-Con saw many exhibitors turning to VR to promote their movies and TV shows. One experience that particularly stood out was FX Network’s VR journey inspired by American Horror Story (AHS). A purpose-built dome was created outside the convention centre where a psychological immersive experience took participants into the AHS universe.

Upon entering the dome, attendees were met by hosts in white lab coats while calming music played overhead. A series of ‘beds’ were positioned in a pentagon where they were asked to lie down, a sheet placed over them then a HTC Vive headset and headphones were fitted. The experience exploited common phobias such as clowns, vertigo and claustrophobia, and introduced the frightening characters and locations from across the multiple AHS series in a 5-minute video.

By adding group psychology tactics to cutting edge VR technology and some classic theatre trickery,  FX was able to create a more intimate experience. Blurring the lines between reality and fiction resulted in a truly memorable experience for participants with some hardened horror enthusiasts describing it as “absolutely terrifying”. [tribulant_slideshow gallery_id="1"]

Cambridge Yourself Augmented Reality Booth by Noonah Experiential

Noonah Experential partnered with Cambridge University Press to create a fun experience that promoted the publishing business as a digital provider and not just print. Using an AR photo booth, delegates at the event used gestures to take their own photo and appear inside Cambridge University (with real-time video content) without the need for a green screen.

Noonah constructed a triangular structure that would fit onto the corner of the stand with additional viewing monitor to attract other passing delegates. Each visitor to the stand could choose to punt down the river in Cambridge or visit Kings College with each delegate receiving a printed copy of their photo inside a branded photo wallet.

The Cambridge Yourself photo both resulted in more delegates being drawn to the stand as well as increased data collection. Users were impressed by the digital technology allowing the conversation to link seamlessly into Cambridge University Press’ digital products. Noonah also plans to add social sharing to the AR Photo Booth’s features.

Radiant Event Technology’s Virtuacast Augmented Reality Experience

Radiant Event Technology’s Virtuacast was runner-up for the Best Augmented / Virtual Reality Technology Award at the Event Tech Awards. The company has been working with NBA Properties to bring its Virtuacast technology to fans, giving them the opportunity to interact with virtual versions of some of basketball’s biggest stars.

Using pre-recorded video and photo content, Virtuacast marries digital with live interactions in augmented reality. The technology creates the illusion of life size holograms that attendees can see and interact with, then share the resulting video or photo online or via social media. The system consists of a special mat that is set on the floor and an accompanying mobile app. The hologram appears wherever the mat is placed in view of a mobile device’s camera.

As the Virtuacast system just consists of the mat and an app, being a flexible, mobile and lightweight set-up is an ideal tool for consumer engagement at all types of events.

Boursin Sensorium VR Experience by Because Experiential Marketing

Another runner-up for the Best Augmented / Virtual Reality Technology Award at the Event Tech Awards. French cheese brand Boursin wanted to reach a wider, younger audience, and do something unexpected for a brand in a category filled with ‘me-too’ sales promotions. It teamed up with Because Experiential Marketing to create The Boursin Sensorium which toured key food events, combining a VR experience with live sensory engagement to immerse consumers in different flavours.

Using Oculus Rift headsets, consumers were taken inside virtual fridges to experience the best ingredients up close, while tasting various Boursin samples. Personalised videos of their experience were emailed to participants to share on social networks. The campaign resulted in an increased social reach of 5 million, 80k+ video views and 4,800 VR experiences.

Boursin Sensorium VR Experience by Because Experiential Marketing

To read more about what’s hot from Event Tech Live, see 6 Technology Trends from Experts at Europe’s Largest Event Tech Show. You can also watch our video on data integration from ETL at Event Tech Live 2016 – Do More With Your Event Data.

Event Spotlight: The Festival of Marketing

Festival of Marketing 2016This year’s Festival of Marketing (FOM) took place on 5-6 October at Tobacco Dock in East London. It is the largest global event dedicated to brand marketers with more than 200 speakers, workshops, awards, experience rooms and training sessions. Over the two-day event, more than 4,000 marketing professionals came together to discover, learn, celebrate and shape the future of marketing.

EventTech Talk spoke to Antonios Maropoulos, Festival Coordinator, about his experience of working on the Festival of Marketing as well as what it takes to be successful in event management.

You’ve already announced the dates for FOM17. How far in advance do you usually start planning and booking guests? What is your process timeline?

Festival of Marketing 2017 will take place on the 4-5 October 2017. Booking guests usually starts six to seven months prior to the event. This year we are planning to start registering people as early as possible as planning is a year-long process in itself – part of a forward-looking strategy that spans several years.

Festival of Marketing 2016Given the size of FOM, what would you say was the biggest challenge of planning an event this size?

Every single aspect of an event of this size is challenging. From content curation and coordination to operations management and sponsor recruitment, crises lurk in every corner. Managing the numerous moving pieces is the biggest challenge. Very capable, close-knit and experienced teams working together is the best answer to any festival crisis.

Do you solely focus on FOM or do you actively work on other events at the same time? If you work on multiple projects, how do you manage your time effectively?

The Festival of Marketing team has a few members that are exclusively focused on the Festival all year round but most members of the team are also working on other events during the year. As the Festival season approaches the team internally recruits more and more members reaching full capacity at least four months prior to the event.

Has anything gone wrong at one of your events that required quick response and how was it handled? For example, a speaker not showing up, issues with the venue, tech problems, etc.

In an event of this size everything can go wrong very fast. We’ve had last minute speaker cancellations which our excellent content team has filled very efficiently by responding quickly, utilising all assets available to them and by creating close relationships with many professionals in the industry.

How does the Eventsforce software benefit FOM?

Eventsforce allows us to track delegate registrations and manage delegate information and booking status. We can also manage group bookings and ticket upgrades.

Festival of Marketing 2016What do you see as the most important trend in the events industry today?

Experiential events is probably the most important trend today. Long gone are the speech and drinks events. You need to capture the audience’s attention and imagination from the moment of invitation and interact with them, constantly providing excellent and useful content.

Which mobile app or social media platform couldn’t you live without?

Our Festival of Marketing app. The Festival of Marketing 2016 app by Guidebook is absolutely essential to us, as delegates use it to book their sessions, access the Festival floorplan, navigate through our massive agenda and even connect with each other onsite.

What new event technology are you looking forward to using or would you like to see in the future?

Artificial Intelligence will definitely revolutionise the events industry in the future. Whether we’ll be using it for customer relations, onsite signage or even our first robot speaker, we don’t know. But we are definitely excited by the possibilities.

Is there any advice that you would give to someone considering a career in event management?

Click to get in touchThe events industry is for individuals that embrace change and love being challenged. It’s a stressful working environment with changing needs that require different approaches. Whatever the challenge, a can-do attitude, calmness and simple problem-solving will get you out of most crises.

Is there a special power you sometimes wish you had when planning/managing them?

It definitely has to be time travel. To go back in time after an event and correct things that went wrong and couldn’t foresee!

Images © Festival of Marketing

 

9 Reasons Why Your Attendees Did NOT Use Your Event App

untitled-design-66The popularity around event apps has evolved so much over the last few years.  Most people attending any kind of event these days expect an app and it seems most event planners want one too.  In fact, a recent poll by Eventsforce found that 80% of event planners found apps a great investment for promoting engagement around their events and will continue to use them. But as Ben Hill, Zerista’s EMEA director of business development explains, while many conferences, tradeshows and festivals have managed to make their events bigger, better and more profitable with the help of apps, many have also struggled to get traction.

What determines the success of an event app isn’t just about how many people signed up for it and used all the different features but more importantly, how much they used it.  It’s all well and good having a 90% adoption rate for your app but if your attendees or ticket holders are not using it as much as you hoped, where is the return on investment?

Have a look at the most common reasons why your event apps may not be performing well:

Untitled design (28)Forgetting About ‘Laptop Time’ – The apps that do well are those that aren’t just available on smart phones and tablets, but are also supported in the desktop environment too. We found that many attendees prefer managing important pre-event tasks – such as personalising agendas or building profiles – on a laptop. It’s much easier uploading images and content and it’s a lot more comfortable to search for things using a big screen web browser than one on a cramped phone. Being able to get your audiences to engage with your app on a laptop before an event also improves the perceived value for your app at the event.

Poor Promotion –  It may be hard to believe but one of the most common reasons why apps don’t do well is because event planners don’t communicate the value of the app as much as they should. You need to focus on branding the app experience as an extension of your attendee’s live experience at your event. Promote the personalised, digital-only content, as well as all the interactive tools it provides. And do this at every step of your event process – starting from registration and confirmation emails to reminders, updates, site signage, sessions and keynote presentations.

Lack of Valuable Content – Just as a successful conference needs content rich sessions, a successful app needs to offer attendees with valuable content. The app should bring ‘live content’, such as changes to schedules and notifications, as well as give attendees the ability to participate in Q&As or live polls. They should be the source of all digital content – so things like presentations, handouts and exhibitor collateral that people can’t get anywhere else. And finally, apps should be the hub of all user-generated content such as discussions and debates on social media.

Personalisation Pic_BlogNot Making It Personal – The goal of an event app, simply, should be to dull the noise at an event and point people to the connections, content and solutions that are right for them.  If you’re not doing that then your attendees will not end up using your app the way you expected them to. Here are some of the most popular ways an app can help personalise your attendee’s experience:

  • Reviewing recommended sessions, people and exhibitors
  • Being able to personalise schedule of sessions and events
  • Creating a library of presentations and exhibitor collateral
  • Managing a one-to-one meeting schedule
  • Building a ‘favourites’ list of solutions or exhibitors
  • Not pushing irrelevant content and promotions!

Complicated Log-In Process – When your attendees find it difficult to access or sign up to your app, then they won’t use it.  Having a smooth, hassle-free login process is key to success but security is also a concern so you can’t forget about passwords. Focus on getting people to sign up to your app prior to the event so that they don’t have to do it at the event when they have other things on their mind.  Know your audience and choose an authentication method that feels familiar, such as social sign-ins via Facebook or LinkedIn or giving them the option to create a new password.  You can also provide a way to recover lost passwords on other devices.

Bad Design – So many events fall victim to an app that look great but are difficult for their attendees to use. Your apps need to have an intuitive design – the more clicks it takes for your attendee to find what they need, the more likely you’ll lose them. The easier it is to navigate, the higher your adoption rates.  Look at popular apps for guidance, including Facebook, iTunes and Google Maps.  These apps provide users an experience that works – and more importantly, they have set your attendee’s expectations for how apps SHOULD work. They will not want to learn a new app interface for every event, so use well-established best practices for icons, menu design and layout and this should put you in a good position.

Having Other Competing Tech – The most successful event apps stand at the heart of everything your attendees do at the event – whether that’s taking surveys, participating in live polls, watching live videos, playing games or making changes to their agendas.  If there are other websites, devices or apps that your attendees need to use to do these things at the event, then it will have a negative impact on your app’s adoption rates.  Most app providers won’t have everything you’d like to do built into their solution, however the good ones out there will be able to integrate with just about any digital solution these days.

Click to get in touchToo Many Adverts – Many attendees stop using apps when they see too many ads and promotions that delay or even stop them from achieving what they want to do. It may seem obvious but the trick to creating powerful advertising in your event app is making it relevant. Choose an app that allows you to put ads in front of people who are likely to respond to them. And instead of linking them to a promotional web page, send them to a piece of educational content like an eBook that will add value to their experience.

Neglecting Take-Aways – One thing an event app does well is provide an easy way for attendees to keep key content, contacts and information from events. The ‘digital backpack’ that they take with them to share materials with their bosses or follow up on sales leads. Yet many events fail to take advantage of this important tool – either through lack of promotion or lack of support on the app itself. Make sure your attendees always have a way to collect what’s important.