Everyone feels the need to get more from meetings. Attendees want to know that a meeting is going to be a great investment of their time and resources. Meeting planners want more data about the event itself. Vendors want to know how best to serve the needs of their clients. Exhibitors want more engagement, more visibility and more information about attendees.
With so much on the line, how can meeting planners ensure that everyone gets what they’re looking for? That question is still being answered, but some trends are definitely emerging that promise to take meetings and events to the next level. Let’s take a look at some exciting technologies and what they can deliver.
Wearable technologies. Wearables are one of the fastest growing segments in the mobile technology sector. Industry analysts estimate that annual wearable technology sales will eclipse the 225 million-unit mark by 2020, and will represent about $20B in sales. There’s no doubt that wearables are a hot commodity, but how can they impact meetings? Smart watches can play major roles in meeting check-in, session control, data sharing and even hotel access. Starwood Hotels currently allow guests to use their smart watches to access their rooms and other guest-only spaces at their Aloft, Element and W Hotel properties.
Event-specific wearables are also likely to become more common in the near future. Wearable technologies could easily replace or augment name badges, perform attendance tracking, collect crowd data, make and confirm purchases and serve as a basis for information exchange and networking.
Augmented reality/virtual reality. Last summer’s breakaway mobile app Pokemon Go signaled a wide acceptance of augmented reality technologies. The game was a smash hit largely because of the deep deployment of compatible mobile devices. Augmented reality in the context of meetings can give attendees a visual representation of the future plans of an employer or vendor or they can help attendees grasp concepts in complex presentations. Virtual reality holds a similar promise, especially for vendors, exhibitors and presenters who want to provide attendees with a visual or immersive experience. In most cases, attendees can participate in augmented reality or virtual reality using low-cost display devices, or even their own personal mobile electronics.
Second screen technologies. Attendees are hungry for information, and presentation time is often limited. Second-screen technologies allow users to more fully engage in presentations by giving them supplemental information that coincides with the speaker’s primary presentation. Second screen technologies enable users to participate through polling, social media, supplemental information resources, additional video information and more. Presentations that take advantage of the attendees’ second screen capabilities can deliver more content and enhance the value of each meeting.
It’s clear that technology will play an increasingly important role in shaping the attendee’s entire meeting experience, and can provide exceptional data collection and feedback opportunities for planners, vendors and exhibitors alike.
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