Will Curran is known for many things:
- Being the founder and "Chief Event Einstein" of Endless Events, a nationwide AV and event production company.
- Making event & meeting planner's audiovisual less "sucky" (that's verbatim from his LinkedIn profile).
- Producing copious amounts of educational and social media content.
- Serving as cohost of the #EventIcons video podcast (with Alex Plaxen, Lindsay Martin-Bilbrey and Brandt Krueger), cohost of the Event Tech Podcast (also with Brandt), and cohost of Event Brew (with Nick Borelli, Thuy Diep and Dustin Westling).
- Being a partner in Creative Event Team.
- Possessing (obviously) a crazy level of energy.
What he is not known for is being shy about expressing his opinions, or being off-target (at least, not often) in his predictions about the events industry.
So we were excited to get his opinions about what's ahead for event professionals in 2020. Here's what Will sees as the biggest event tech trend in the coming year.
G2Planet: What do you see as the biggest tech-related trend or trends for event professionals in 2020?
Will Curran: I think the biggest tech-related trend is related to general frustrations with Wi-Fi. It's multifaceted, there are a few different things happening.
First, costs for Wi-Fi are skyrocketing like crazy. So planners are freaking out about how they are going to afford it.
Second, planners are realizing they don't know anything about Internet and went from viewing it as just a service that included in the venue to realizing they need to understand it better, because now there are tiers and it's becoming a restriction. There is a lot of confusing terminology, similar to where AV was 10 years ago.
Third, Wi-Fi is becoming more complex and there's lots of change. For example, we had Wi-Fi 6 announced in this last year and now it's available on a consumer level. What is all the stuff that goes with it?
Fourth, the demand and need for Wi-Fi is expanding exponentially because of apps; audience engagement; attendees showing up with three or four devices; the need for corporate event marketers to collect data; and everyone expecting fast, reliable Internet connectivity. Video and live streaming also significantly increase bandwidth demand.
Demand for Wi-Fi has hit a new peak. It's got the full attention of planners. Internet connectivity is so important now at events that everyone expects it to work well. And they know when it's bad, You can't get by with spotty service; people get angry.
Finally, venues are being very hard about Wi-Fi and trying to turn it into a profit center. Planners have gotten smart about AV services, so venues are now trying to figure out what's the next thing to make money off of. They can't make money off electrical, can't make money off of babysitting fees, so let's go after Wi-Fi. That's where education comes in on topics like negotiating Wi-Fi costs and understanding how much bandwidth you actually need.
However—this also creates a revenue opportunity for planners. Passwords, network names, and captive portals are three sponsorship opportunities. For the captive portal password, you can also print those all over the place: "Wi-Fi provided by Puerto Rico, here's the password. Puerto Rico," or whatever it may be.
So, Wi-Fi and the Internet is a huge trend right now that now planners are rising up saying, "This is ridiculous. I don't know what I'm doing with the Internet, what do I have to do, how do I understand it, and how can I manage the costs associated with it?" That's the biggest tech-related trend.