When we asked 14 of the smartest women in event technology to name the top tech trends for the coming year, two findings jumped out:
1) There is no single trend that will dominate discussion (though there are a couple that definitely got more mentions); and
2) There are a LOT of tech trends that event professionals will need to watch!
These 14 brilliant women actually provided 36 responses covering 17 different topics. There were a wide range of one-off answers, among them:
- better WiFi
- technology that supports sustainability
- increased task automation
- noise-cancelling headphones
- vendor consolidation
- improved simplicity / ease of use
- functional integration (more complete "all in one" event suites)
- mobile apps pushing down into smaller events
- more sophisticated use of social media
Two of these experts mentioned digital transformation—using digital technology to automate standard processes and enable new capabilities—as an important trend.
Three cited improved personalization—creating individualized experiences and responding authentically on a personal level. Three others say the use of video will become more ubiquitous and sophisticated.
Four responses revolved around event data: increased collection (through beacons, for example), more effective use (such as for improving operations), greater security / concern for privacy, and better insights through analytics.
But the two most commonly noted were around increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) in event technology, and a wider array of applications for virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR).
Here are the full responses from these 14 amazing women in event technology.
VR and AR
Co-founder & CMO, Allseated
VR will continue to push into the industry, allowing venues to provide walkthroughs virtually from anywhere in the world across multiple platforms: tablet, desktop, laptop, and VR headset.
Also, as safety and security continue to be a top priority for both event industry companies and their clients, we will see increased use of AI and VR in training employees.
President & CEO, Tigris Events
Increased use of VR headsets. The technology has only gotten better, and it makes for a fun and immersive experience. Participants can interact with videos, games, and even your product in a completely new way through VR.
Mobile apps for events. This is already common for large events, and it’s a useful way to relay information to all of your attendees at once. You can include an event map, alert attendees of last-minute changes to the program, and even ask for their feedback all within the app itself.
Technology and companies that integrate a suite of services—including AR and other benefits—that meaningfully enhance the participant experience before, during and after-events is a trend to watch in 2020.
Historically, the event technology offerings have been fragmented, with event hosts engaging numerous technologies to meet participant experience. In 2020 the winners will be the ones that can consolidate all of the different data points and effectively deliver and an-to-end solution that delivers action and value for both meeting planners and participants.
President, Bruno Group Signature Services and Editor, Event Tech Brief
I believe that AI will continue to weave its way into event management solutions at all levels. Augmented and virtual realities will be more visible, especially as education modalities. I also predict there will be more consolidation within the event technology landscape as larger, more diverse platforms purchase and assimilate the niche, standalone solutions.
Also, organizers will finally give in to the necessity for digital transformation and begin investing in change management, employee training in digital technologies, and hiring event technologists (specialists).
Principal and Sr. Account Manager, Attendee Management, Inc.
I think the three biggest event technology trends for 2020 will be the increased application of AI in event tools; more and better use of VR; and using event tech to support sustainability.
Director of Business Development, AllSeated
The biggest event tech trends in 2020 will be going digital, using more video than still photos, and expanding the use of VR and drones.
Head of Events, SITE Global
Digital marketing is now simply table stakes. AR and VR can be utilized in many ways we are just beginning to tap into. Video and its many iterations becomes the norm.
Head of Events & Experience, The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
I work for one of Australia’s largest member based associations and I lead both the events and membership functions. For me, one of the biggest trends we’re seeing in tech is the development of an AI driven membership platform, as opposed to a traditional website. What this means for events, within the association sector, is the utilization of the data to develop more enriching event experiences.
Through this data we’ll be able to better understand the trends, search functions, resource downloads and other details of our members. This data can then be used to ensure our event topics, formats, speakers and other details are directly driven by the needs of the members. It’s part of the shift we’re seeing away from large, broad-brush events to a personalized experience that delivers higher levels of value.
Director of Meetings & Events, Connect Meetings
I see chatbots and AI experiences continuing to grow in 2020. Also, I think noise cancelling headphones will become the norm at breakout sessions in 2020.
Tech Evangelist + Idea Igniteur, DAHLIA+Agency
Personalization in everything—know me and cater to me. But also, push new data that will benefit me, and not only in my interests. From designing event experiences to what I desire and creating content that will be mindbending for me, to how you deliver email campaigns and more content my way, personalization will be key. The use of AI, data analytics, and intention event design will be the name of the game.
Data, Personalization, and More
CEO, Liz King Events
Data and privacy! While technology continues to evolve, I think we're going to see attendees demand more control over their data so that they can protect their privacy. This is going to have a huge impact on mobile apps, registration software, and even our internal systems to manage information.
CEO and Master Strategist, Strategic Meetings & Events
"B to Me" is the new business model for success no matter what your product or service. Audiences/clients/attendees crave and respond to authenticity, real time responses to their individual needs, and the ability to share their opinions in a way that can create conversation and drive change. Taking what exists now and expanding on it will be essential to keep up with demands.
Marketing Manager, Boomset
Automation to the MAX! Beacons and data, oh my! Stronger and faster connectivity! Tech implementation and use is more comfortable and easier than EVER!
Sales & Marketing Strategist, DeSouza on Demand
As the major social media platforms have changed their algorithms to be biased for video content, I think we will be seeing more videos from brands and events. But the real trend will be the immersion of video content in Facebook and Instagram stories—to showcase more authentic content like "behind the scenes as we set up the tradeshow floor."
A version of this post was originally published on Corporate Event News: