Wearable technology for events?
The recent launch of AppleWatch has created a media frenzy, ranging from classic fanboy adoration to outright rage at the price (starting at a mere £299). With news that Tag Heuer will be launching an Android watch in time for Christmas, brand partnerships are likely to be gaining momentum. But in all the furore it’s easy to forget that wearable technology is not just about watches. From sleeping bags to bras, skirts to sunglasses, the Internet Of Things is no longer the domain of tech mavens, it’s becoming mainstream.
So picture a scene where you have upwards of 1000 people, all young, savvy and thirsty for knowledge, in a space together. They are talking, listening, learning. Imagine putting a device on each of these people, allowing them to continue their engagement in an ongoing conversation whilst they stand in the coffee queue, network, take a picture just by lifting their wrist, or record a discussion by activating a button on their shirt. The possibilities are endless and we need to be ready to embrace new ideas for our industry.
How does this affect the event production industry?
For some, this is maybe perceived as a threat. After all why should anyone pay to turn up to an event when they can get all the content they want through an online forum on their watch? It is not a new problem; smart phones haves already posed this dilemma. Yet, people continued to embrace live events with more enthusiasm than ever and our industry is still developing a role for smart phone technology to further engagement. This year at Confex an entire floor was dedicated to technology and many stands exhibited wearable tech, all promising new and exciting ways to involve your audience before, during and after the main conference agenda.
I joined a panel of speakers to explore how to reach millennials with our events; there was unanimous consent amongst myself and fellow panelists Rosa Garriga from myQAA, Jurab Holib from sli.do and Live Group Chief Executive Toby Lewis that far from detracting, technology can enhance the way in which audiences engage with events, if used effectively. Values play a vital role in delivering content and how it is received by the this generation. Tech and social media offer further channels away from the main stage and the website to convey both content and values. This audience will embrace new technology;they are prepared to spend money on it and use it wherever there is the opportunity, so including a wearables strategy in event planning is the a smart thing to do.
Technology vs real life
Young people are engaging in the virtual and analogue spaces to an equal degree. The tech channels and the physical medium need not be mutually exclusive. We must use face to face experiences alongside technology, to enhance and continue the conversation long after the venue doors have closed.
At be-good we produce shared, creative moments within the conference format – anything from open debate to gaming, cooking, film making or meditation workshops, to spark engagement and bond disparate groups of people. Our participants respond to the opportunity to get stuck in to the action, learn and contribute. The energy and enthusiasm with which they respond to content lives on in the tech space, sparking further ideas, sharing inspiration and developing the business message long after the moment of communal engagement. This strategy works. We have a 100% satisfaction rating from our Stream Digital events.