How Google Is Helping Event Search and 6 Other Stories You Should Read

In this month’s round-up of top event tech news, we look at the industry’s first check-in solution that uses facial recognition technology, as well as a vital piece of legislation that will radically change the way event planners store and manage information on their European attendees.  We also bring you some interesting updates from Snapchat and Google, as well as a case study on how TED Talks is using Facebook Live to expand its audience reach. And lastly for a bit of fun and inspiration, we look at some fantastic examples of lighting effects and why you may need to consider hashtag printers for your next event!

Event Industry News: Zenus Launches World’s First Facial Recognition Event Check-In

Face recognition technology is officially here. EIN looks at how US-based start-up, Zenith, has launched an API to integrate its facial recognition technology with event registration platforms across the world.  By allowing attendees to use their faces to check-in to an event, the system has the potential of replacing traditional tickets and QR codes – it also adds another much-needed layer of security around events. It is a very interesting development for our industry as it streamlines the whole check-in process and gives organisers the peace of mind that the right people are at their events. The article also suggests that it is a faster, better and cheaper option when compared to iBeacons and RFID.

With that in mind, it’s worth noting another good read on the subject from Event MB. It looks at how recent advances in face recognition and emotion tracking software will likely spell the end of the traditional event feedback form.  Organisers will be able to use data from cameras placed around the event to recognise attendees and report back on how they are feeling based on what their face is telling the system.  Read more here.

Event MB: Google Just Made It Easier to Find Events in Search

Finding events online just got easier, which is great news for event planners. Google recently announced changes to the way events are displayed in mobile search engine results. Anyone searching for events using either the Google mobile app or mobile web search will no longer see a normal results page when searching for events. Instead, event related searches will result in a clear summary of activities pulled directly from event listing sites such as Meetup and others. The functionality is currently available in the U.S. but it is expected to roll out worldwide soon.

We all know how getting to the top of Google isn’t easy these days. It takes a lot of work and time for a page to get listed and ranked. Many events go live with a completely new website, which also isn’t ideal. The new event search function, however, has the potential to turns things on its head, essentially by showing nothing but events. For more details on the technical aspects and how to best take advantage of the changes, take a look at Google’s developer guidelines.

BizBash: TED uses Facebook Live as Part of New Strategy to Expand Audience

The annual TED conference is trying a new strategy to expand its worldwide audience, whilst keeping the special nature of the event’s in-person experience. This year, organisers used Facebook Live to stream interviews with nine speakers and to allow people to watch the conference’s inaugural session of Spanish-language speakers in real-time. The article from BizBash explains how the live-streaming tool had a massive impact on audience reach: TED launched its Spanish Facebook page shortly before the conference, and when the live session began, the page had about 270,000 followers. By the time the seven speakers had finished, the stream had attracted 682,000 live viewers. For the interviews session, viewers were able to submit questions to the speakers on Facebook, which organisers explain is one of the primary benefits of using the live-streaming tool around their events – access to speakers and giving viewers the chance to guide the conversations from a global perspective.

Organisers are now planning on using Facebook Live at TEDWomen in November, where they may make the Facebook Live interview sessions part of the regular conference schedule and allow in-person attendees to participate while on site.  If like TED, you’re considering using Facebook Live as a way of getting more engagement around your events, then have a read through this too: 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Using Facebook Live at Events.

eMarketer: What Marketers Need to Know About EU’s New Data Protection Rules

One of Europe’s biggest shake ups in data protection and privacy laws is coming into effect next year and event planners need to be prepared.  The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will apply to every organisation in the EU and ANY organisation holding data on EU citizens – regardless of their location.  It is a major global issue and one that is vital for marketers to learn about as ignoring it could lead to some very serious financial consequences.

As explained in an interview with Glisser, what the new regulation essentially means is that organisers needs to be a lot clearer about how attendee data is going to be used, and ensure that they get explicit consent from them in giving up that data. So, a general set of T&Cs will no longer be enough, and you need to be able to collect and prove that your contacts have given you permission to use their data in the way that you choose.  And event technology has a huge role to play here. For more information on what this means for the industry, have a look at this article here: What Event Planners Need to Know About Europe’s New Data Protection Law.

What are the most important event tech trends for 2017? EventTech Talk spoke to some of the industry’s well- known experts to find out what they felt was important and what the year will bring: Ask the Experts – What’s the Next Big Thing in Event Tech for 2017

BBC News: Snapchat Spectacles Arrive in UK 

Snapchat’s snazzy new on-the-body technology has officially arrived in the UK – and it has the potential to bring a whole new perspective to an event’s on-site experience.   The sunglasses which come with an integrated video camera are designed to capture the entire human perspective with a circular 115-degree field of view.  Earlier this year, we saw how L’Oréal used them to give their followers a completely new and unique way of engaging with the Golden Globes, streaming behind-the-scenes content, from celebrities getting ready backstage to the walk down the red carpet. And actually, 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.  Have a look at this video here that gives a BBC journalist’s perspective of the new spectacles, which are currently retailing in the UK at £129.99.

If Snapchat is a viable marketing platform for your events, then we’d also recommend reading this great article from the Content Marketing Institute – All Your Snapchat Advertising Questions Answered. Event marketers need to understand how advertising on Snapchat works in order to determine whether it’s the right avenue to advertise their event’s content and the piece does a good job of explaining the different advertising options available, when it makes sense to use them, how to get started and how to measure performance.

MeetingsNet: Why Hashtag Printers Are a Conference No-Brainer

It seems the hashtag printer trend is continuing to gain ground on the conference scene – not surprising for a device that works as both a marketing tool and an attendee diversion.  It can also be a revenue generator for groups that offer it up as a sponsorship opportunity.  For those of you that haven’t come across the technology before, here’s how it works: The Internet-connected device automatically scans Twitter and Instagram for a specific conference hashtag. It then scans the associated image and prepares it for printing with a branded frame or banner. Many of the systems automatically print out all the images; others print on request when an attendee taps the image on a screen.

Why have one? Well, as this article from MeetingsNet explains, the printer encourages attendees to upload event photos with the conference hashtag onto social media sites in return for the instant gratification of walking away with a photo in hand. Many of the providers of the technology also offer an analytics piece, which allows organisers to get a measurable feel of the kind of volume and reach this kind of attendee-led content can generate.

Event MB: 17 Amazing Lighting Effects

Lastly, let’s talk about lighting. We all know how lighting can dramatically transform events and can also be a very cost-effective way of making an impact. With the ability to cater to a range of budgets, as well as create new branding or sponsorship opportunities, lighting can easily change the tone or mood of an event depending on what you want to achieve. Event MB has put together a great list of lighting examples that can help you create the wow factor. Enjoy!

Did you enjoy reading this article? If you would like to get similar monthly round-ups on all things event tech, along with some expert advice on how to make the most out of your technology investments, then please sign up to the EventTech Talk Newsletter here.