As is true in any other industry, those who are “in the know” are always one step ahead of those who stick with the same concepts for months and years.
There is plenty of scientific evidence backing up the fact that trend following is the driving force of progress. For instance, if not for Bayesian statistics – the method of using new rules to update existing theories – the Long Island fisherman could have died in 2013 when he suddenly fell off his boat in the Atlantic Ocean. Luckily, guided by Bayesian calculations, which no one had really even been using a decade ago, the search group managed to find the missing fisherman and save his life. Today, we can only imagine what could have happened if the trend hadn’t been picked up in time.
Now, you may argue that the events industry is different, because, well… no one dies if you use outdated name badges. Still, the failure to stay abreast of the latest event-planning trends could mean death to the experiences of your attendees. In 2017, the M&E market experienced a major shift – blending real and virtual reality together. Virtual attendance and augmented reality conquered the minds of millions of people, and they are definitely here to stay.
What other trends and technologies will be critical in the arsenals of event managers throughout 2018-2019?
Event planning trends in 2018-2019
Using the experience of progressive event companies in Asia, as well as the latest research in the M&E segments across the world, we came up with a range of buzzy trends that the upcoming year has in store for us:
With the help of new photo apps, taking selfies or videos and sharing them across multiple platforms – in a completely secure and efficient manner – should be a piece of cake.
However, the popularity of live streaming, social media walls, and other content-sharing techniques have raised privacy concerns for many people who don’t want to be spotted in the public profiles of random attendees. Now, because GDPR spiced things up, even more, some quality improvements are seriously needed.
To solve the problem, platforms like Gogotick started polishing privacy settings in their apps, adding new features and integrations. Quite logically, 2019 could be a great time for merging content-sharing features with the capabilities of face recognition and beacon. So stay tuned for more content buzz!
Even the smallest event infrastructure integrates cloud-based solutions, APIs, and applications that should work in sync. Secure integrations are the backbone of frictionless operation for thousands of processes – from registration to lead capture. This is in addition to the harm that a strong security system can prevent in terms of data breaches.
Important as it is, integrations are only one part of the problem. Recently, our GEVME team had the honor of being a tech partner at the DPRK–USA Summit 2018 – the political event making headlines around the world. With security being of foremost importance at all stages of event preparation, each stakeholder group – from venue hosts to media agencies – had to use a range of tools to ensure physical and virtual security. That being said, tight cooperation in terms of security had to be maintained across different teams:
“We had to ensure the venue would provide a separate SSID because a public network is vulnerable to attacks. If SSID hadn’t been provided, we would have brought our router with Internet access to create our own network.” – Benjamin Wong, GEVME Onsite Lead.
Event protection is not only the fundamental trend in Asia, where lots of governmental and political meetings are taking place, but it’s also spanning the industry at a global level. In the UK alone, events like the Security & Counter Terror Expo are gathering over 100,000 professionals every year.
Especially in regard to government events, the range of new cyber security mechanisms, as well as heat maps and traffic management apps, will be emerging in the coming months. Additionally, companies like Messoa and MOBOTIX will continue adding functionality to their surveillance CCTV cameras and detectors to enable the highest security standards on the ground.
AI messaging: Redefining personalization
Last year, artificial intelligence was associated with multiple event industry transformations. With the prime focus on improving the quality of website messaging, thousands of event organizers adopted AI-powered services like Intercom and Drift. AI is undoubtedly a great tool for prompting registrations, but that’s only one of its top-notch capabilities.
In 2018-2019, more and more attention will be directed to AI-driven personalized onsite interactions. Based on AI services that exist today, there are several specific levels of event communications that will be influenced the most:
- Matching technology should become more sophisticated. AI systems can now analyze tons of data from personal accounts and social media. Thanks to this, event organizers will continue improving matching modules over time through calculations of statistics on the mutual interests of clients.
- Chatbots will be transformed into personal assistants. The idea of AI chatbots isn’t new. As AI technologies mature, event organizers are starting to invest more into the development of so-called “on-demand AI assistants” – the tools for personalized suggestions that are modeled based on the data from guests’ accounts.
- More Alexas and Siris will be used at smart events. There might be a growing tendency to use voice-activated assistants, especially at content-heavy conferences. With these tools, attendees will save a great deal of time on the navigation between venue spaces and sessions.
If you’ve been in the industry long enough to have witnessed the shift from paper ticketing to QR codes, you know how much value stands behind an automated check-in process. What you should also know is that it doesn’t end there. With face recognition and other biometric authentication methods on the rise, smarter check-in methods continue to emerge.
We can expect that biometric authentication method, and face recognition, in particular, will soon replace not only QR codes at check-in but many forms of attendee analytics and feedback collection as well. For instance, through cameras with face recognition capabilities, event managers will be able to track attendee behavior – making it a great tool for collecting smarter insights into the interests of your guests.
Unconventional event venues: Smarter, greener, friendlier
Making the usual choices is not a good choice in the modern world of events. In 2017, one of the biggest venue trends was sustainability, with green check-in experiences and recyclable decorations lying at the core. Today, there’s even more to it. The mixture of new business leisure activities, the creativity of event managers, and “venue reuse” are giving birth to new locations for events. For instance, to set up a memorable corporate event in Colombia, you can book the real Salt Cathedral, with rooms that are fully carved from salt. Doesn’t that sound like a mind-bending way to ensure that your attendees never forget the event?!
Another idea that generates a lot of buzzes these days is when event organizers take different types of events – be it a fancy fashion show or a business meeting – to venues like museums, stadiums, or theatres.
Because experience-first activities are taking the lead everywhere, this trend is definitely here to stay. Experiential activities and unconventional venues will continue impressing attendees in the upcoming months and years.
What are the event-planning trends dominating the industry in 2018-2019? If you want to have a busy year, experimenting with new event formats and attracting huge crowds to your events, this is the question you should have an answer for.
Apart from the new capabilities of AI that your events won’t survive without, there are many other technologies you’ll have to adopt in the upcoming months. Hopefully, our short list of the buzziest trends for event planners will help you stay ahead!