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Event Technology

Date: Wednesday 9th March 2016

EMA held their January 2016 event at The Langham Hotel, with the key topic being Event Technology.

An expert panel of speakers included Julius, Editor of Event Manager Blog, James Morgan, Co-Founder of the Event Tech Lab, and Emma Stoker, EMA Council Member and Vice President for Personal and Corporate Banking Events at Barclays.

Event Technology

The conversation opened stating that event technology, is still in its infancy compared to the wider world of technology, the main challenges being, security/firewalls, understanding what is available, how it could support you event activities, and adoption and integration. 

Out of these, adoption is the greatest challenge – for the providers driving market awareness, value and usage. For the event planner, introducing into the event and then getting attendees to use. 

Its important to consider the different experience environments from millennials through to the baby boomers, and the behaviours and differences between these key demographics.  We need to consider what’s important to us in 2016 as experience designers, with co-creation becoming key as organisers and tech companies come together to create better solutions. 

Co-creation means being proactive, don’t rely on techies coming up with the solution perfect for you engage with the tech community and let them know the challenges you face and where you see opportunities – feed them ideas, see what they come up with. 

Digitalisation and customisation are also important, and how to do it well rather than shoving any technology in just for the sake of it.  It’s important to find the happy balance and the right skill set, and look at tech as part of the overall marketing campaign and as support moving forward.  

The key is being smart about how you use certain technologies and how they can be tweaked for events.  Trying to stay abreast can be a challenge, as is driving adoption. However this can be resolved by keeping up regular communication, having tech help desks at events and dialogue with suppliers and partners.

It’s important to review where event technology is going and what is gaining momentum in the industry.  Some technologies that have been around for years are only just starting to become widely used, such as venue search technologies, networking applications and live streaming.

The panel went on to discuss ‘big data’ explaining how its normal to receive excel sheets spurting pages of information and presentation techniques that are not very user friendly.  The ideal would be information presented in charts and graphs that can be easily digested and with an easy to use interface. 

We need to be conscious of whether our technology providers consider the user experience or just provide analytics, if the latter then we really should be questioning this. Meaningful data should mean actual data, you need to be demanding when it comes to your technology suppliers and give them a hard time, they have access to the data you need and can pull it for you.

Adoption can be influenced by a number of items, content, devices being used, but also it can be as simple as peer pressure and people not wanting to admit that they don’t know how to use it.  This not only applies to delegates, but also suppliers and technical suppliers, as at times there can be a huge disconnect between the hardware and software technologies. Consider asking your tech supplier to invest in being on site and hosting Help Desk.

Key takeaways:

• Consider what’s important to you as an event marketer and use the technologies that will assist and support you in achieving your objectives.  
• Think about your audience demographic and user experience. 
• To stay abreast of what’s new communicate regularly with your suppliers and partners.
• Insist your technology suppliers provide you with meaningful data and analytics that are easy to digest.

Thanks go to the speakers and venue.