Technology Trends for Conferences and Events in 2017

22 May 2017

Event technology is nothing new, but it most certainly has improved in the past few years. Here are five examples that help facilitate easy and seamless events, not only for the organisers but are equally beneficial to exhibitors, as well as improving the experience for those attending. Just to be clear, this technology is not directly available for hire from the Bridgewater Hall; rather it serves as inspiration and highlights the possibilities on the horizon for event planning and the direction of the industry.

1. Drones

Whilst the privacy laws surrounding them are confusing, Drones are clearly the coolest thing we've seen hit the Event Tech scene in a long time. From taking great aerial panoramic photos to delivering drinks. Drones are increasingly becoming readily accessible as they can create another dimension through streaming live footage and helping remote attendees experience the event online.

2. Blue-tooth Beacons

For something that sounds so... epic (?) Beacons are a surprisingly simple concept. Bluetooth-based beacons allows Bluetooth devices to broadcast or receive tiny and static pieces of data within short distances. In simplistic words, it consists of two parts: a broadcaster (beacon device) and a receiver (Smartphone app). For an event that has several areas using beacons, they will not only let event organisers get a better sense of what parts of the event were most popular, but they can also communicate directly with attendees by sending them push notifications. Handy when trying to communicate a hashtag or promote activities within an event!

Because the cost of sensors has gotten so low they can now be placed in all kinds of environments to collect data. Event professionals can analyse the data to rethink the layout, figure out where more signage might be needed or learning which hotspots are the best for placing an ad to reach a certain group of people.

3. Wearable Technology

Wearable technology, like smart watches and bracelets give event organisers the opportunity to make guests and attendees lives a bit easier. They are being used as admission tickets, an inbox to send important messages to, a GPS system, and many others. It is true that this can already be done with Smartphones, but as this article points out, wearable technology is not here to replace Smartphones, it’s here to complement them.

4. Next-Level Mobile Apps

Apps really took off this year to engage with attendees and it’s easy to see why — they’re a great tool to let guests know what’s going on and build a sense of community. The ease, convenience and simplicity of event apps can help encourage attendees to interact more before, during and after the event; as well as helping organisers to gauge feedback on the success of certain elements/activities through comments and statuses posted. Needless to say, they’ve been successful and in 2017 will only get more sophisticated.

5. Augmented / Virtual Reality

We might still be away from completely virtual conferences, but virtual reality can still be big plus to today’s events. Augmented reality (AR) is a live view of a real world environment with additional computer generated information overlaid onto it creating an interactive scenario for the user. AR can be used to make your exhibits and booth walls come alive with videos, animated graphics or holographic images. Virtual Reality technology like the Oculus Rift and the much more affordable Google Cardboard can create an experience that just simply wouldn’t be possible in the physical world. Virtual Reality can be used to visualise 3D models, do a walkthrough, play games, and so much more in immersive ways.

The Bridgewater Hall is a fantastic choice for holding Conferences and Events in Manchester City Centre. There are a variety of rooms that are not only inspiring to be within but also have the space to create interactive events and activities that utilise the latest technology. The Bridgewater Hall offers a modern and inspiring environment for 5 to 1800 delegates. We have a dedicated Events Team that will support you throughout the planning and performance of the event.