Remember when the hot topic in technology was whether the year 2000—a.k.a. Y2K—would cause computers around the world to freeze up? Actually, we don't remember much about that either. After all, 2019 is just about here, and technology is light years beyond what it was back then. In fact, the coming year will be pretty interesting for technology applications in the meetings and events market.
Besides the recent spate of consolidation between meeting management software companies that's resulting in ever-more-comprehensive single platforms, other areas of event tech are progressing in ways that will change the attendee experience. Ahead of the IBTM World show taking place in Barcelona, Spain from November 27 to 29, three meetings-tech experts who will lead educational sessions at the show made predictions as to which tech applications will leave a deeper footprint on meetings and events in 2019.
First, “live video mapping and drone and camera technology, which feeds directly into media servers for immersive presentations, are set to become the next big things in event tech," says Andy Johnston, business development director, corporate & events for PRG UK Ltd. "Such presentations can completely surround audiences to achieve an impressive effect. It turns spectators into active participants during a presentation, and the message being delivered becomes much more powerful when this immersive technology is in use.”
Next, there will be significant advancement in the use of facial recognition for event check-in. "We have already noticed that many organizers are eager to try this," says Danny Stevens, CEO of event-tech firm FieldDrive. "Facial recognition is the fastest check-in method. It’s secure and it ‘wows’ attendees from the very beginning of the event. It minimizes attendee actions while in line, such as looking for print-outs or e-receipts on a phone, and is a proven way to speed up admission of attendees—they simply smile at the camera." And with the integration of Microsoft HoloLens into an event system, security and access control are further improved.
Lastly,“I think the top event technology trend for 2019 will be significant advances in data integration and analytics from the event technology providers," says Corbin Ball, founder of tech consultancy Corbin Ball Associates. "Major players such as Cvent and Aventri are making substantial advances in integrating their wide range of products, while smaller, cloud-based companies are putting effort into interoperability and analytics with other event tech companies and with CRM systems such as Salesforce. The result will be that the attendees likes and interests before, during, and after an event can be precisely quantified and brought back into each attendee record. This will allow for much better personalization of marketing as well as improving each attendee's event experiences, and also allow planners to make mid-course corrections during existing events."