The fact that we are all riding the rollercoaster of technological development is not a secret. Progress and evolution are hardly asked for; moving forward seems a goal in itself. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of our western population finds it hard to keep its technological knowhow up to date.

The event industry is no exception; not only are the innovative concepts often hard to grasp and implement, but you have to do so before any new updates and replacement products enter the market and ‘outdate’ the innovation. The move-to-mobile, digital events & gatherings and virtual reality development are all moving at an incredibly high pace.

And then there is the all important social aspect of events. This aspect houses the very essence of why events and live communication are the tool of choice when communicating brands and messages. Events allow people to physically reach those brands and, more importantly, each other. Next to the implementation issues mentioned before, most innovations feed the discussion that technology distances us from one another. It could not be better expressed than by comparing a ‘silent’ disco to a real one; doesn’t it take the fun out of the game?

DARK SIDE

Therefore, a valuable element to look at is the theory of John Naisbit, who developed the High Tech, High Touch theory which states that as technology advances, so does our need for social interaction. In his latest book that bears the same name as the theory, he underlines this perfectly; the two largest consumer markets in the US are Consumer Technology and Escaping Consumer Technology (the self help category, antidepressants, etc.). Developing more and more advancements for the event industry is starting to sound a bit like the Dark Side…

So, if technological developments are to contribute to the experience we create at live events, they should also preferably enhance, or certainly not limit, human interaction. And to keep things positive and light, we will give a few examples of how this could be achieved. We have listed a few ways that have caught our eye the last few months;

Augmented reality

Not closing off. Showing something virtually, but in the ‘real’ world and for all to see. Take a walk through your booth stand before it’s ever built, or experience driving that new car before you actually buy it, like VW did…

Facial recognition

It’s not just your latest iPhone that knows your face. Accessing and activating based on a person’s facial characteristics extends far beyond that and can most certainly be used in a live activation setting. It enables organisers to create a highly personalised experience by building a database of an individual’s preferences and interests that are activated when a person’s face ‘checks in’. Sound a little SiFi? It’s right here.

iBeacons

These little gizmos are awesome. They basically can change any space into a smart space, sending messages to your smart phone, watch or tablet whenever you come near. It can guide your guests through an event, show them the way at a trade show, inform them on program times at a conference, or create a call-to-action at a festival or activation. Here’s an impression.

STAY IN TOUCH

So it’s not as dark or bad as it sounds. But it is our job as event professionals to provide real-life interactions. And that means getting our guests out from behind their smartphones and laptops. So let’s stop handing out large black goggles and plugging their ears, but instead inspire them with things that enhance both the senses as well as our social life. Let’s stay in touch.

Give us a call if you want to stay in touch, or if you want us to augment your reality.