Top 10 trends in 2018: Event Industry.

2018 will see the strong adoption of technology in event industry. All top players in the industry are going to bridge the gap between analogue events and all-digital, zero paper events. From Artificial Intelligence to All-in-one Tickets, the industry will be experimenting with new concepts to attract the, millennials also into events.

Competition will drive the need for new event concepts pushing the industry to think out of the box, ultimately creating more unique events with outstanding delegate experiences. Let’s deep dive into some key trends.

1. All-digital, Zero Paper Events.

Smartphones are one of the most quickly adopted consumer technologies in recent history. More than half of smartphone owners say they get news alerts on their phones. Mobile devices aren’t just for calling or texting, 46% of smartphone owners said their smartphone is something “they couldn’t live without”.

Digital event platforms will take over the conventional events. Industry will be adopting emerging technologies this year at a fast pace. All-digital events will be common among top players, which will push others to adopt these new changes.

Mobile Usage Statistics in 2017

There will be a strong need from consumer side to push the events to their smartphones. Cost reduction from going green will be tremendous. Printing charges, transportation charges and manual labor will all become zero. The flexibility of dynamic digital content over static printed items will be a key factor.

An event of 5000 delegates consume 60 trees for all it’s paper work.

Wonder how many papers your event consume? Check here.

2. More Millennials in Events.

“Millennials say live events help them gain perspective beyond what they read online”

Companies will strive to come up with unique concepts. Millennials would be the key target for events in 2018. To drive these smartphone-magnet-social media-generation to events, plain old concepts will be replaced by variety of new concepts. Let see some examples.

Silent Conferences: Motivated by positive audience acceptance, conference organizers have increasingly started incorporating wireless headphone technology into their conferences. Didn’t get it, see the video.

Campfire Sessions: As the title suggests, they attempt to bring about a laid-back atmosphere of campfire-like storytelling. The sessions usually last for 30 minutes. The facilitator introduces a topic and then drives the discussion but not the content itself. The latter is created by the delegates who discuss it in real-time.

3. Creative Stalls with Technology.

AR and VR experiences will be a game changer, but 2018 won’t see a major adoption since the technology and it’s consumer friendliness is not ready for the prime time. Quality content is also a major issue.

We had television sets supporting 4K content years ago, the major reason why it took so long for the mainstream adoption was the content. Smartphones with 4K shooters and increased broadband speeds filled the gap now.

Transport delegates to somewhere they can’t go.
VR will assist events that are taking place across the world without the need of delegates leaving the comfort of their homes.

During AW 14 fashion week, Organizers created a pop-up shop where users could pretend to be Anna Wintour for a minute or two. By putting on a VR headset, fashion fans were transported to the first row of a fashion show.

4. AI-driven Event Apps.

The abbreviation AI drives the folks crazy these days. Apps which are AI driven will help organizers to bring the right things at the right time for the delagates, like food coupons appearing on app when its time for lunch.

By empowering Artificial Intelligence, organizers, sponsors and exhibitors will drive more footprints into their stalls. The use of smart event apps will be a common thing. This will also help brands to reach out to customers more directly in a personal manner.

They will also assist the delegates in setting the priorities right and as a self guidance system. Delegates will rely on the technology and terminate all the confusion and mis-guidance happening in an event. They will get the information on time and when it is required instead of trying to find it and getting irrelevant information at the wrong time.

Apps will be so intelligent, they would be able to find and make a match with other similar delegates in an event, based on interests and profiles.

5. Automated Seamless Check-in.

People don’t pay for standing in long queues, equally frustrated at the beginning itself. They want a very good experience, from what they have paid for.

Check-in is the most tedious and painful process for any organizer. Long queues, impatient visitors, scattered papers and puzzled faces — Automated Seamless Check-in combined with digital events will eradicate these issues.

Automated and seamless check-in will go mainstream with adoption of new digital event platforms. Analytics with AI will be used to analyze check-in patterns — this information would be used by planning and production team in taking better decisions and venue selection.

YARA GateKeeper System is a great example of seamless automated check-in with zero hardware requirements and also works without internet. Learn More.

6. Virtual Payment Systems.

Payments during an event will become a big thing. Virtual Wallets will be embedded into event apps, where organizers would be able to load credits into these systems.

The credits in these wallets would be used by delegates for making purchases at exhibitor stalls, food counters or additional services such as Workshop Access, Access to files by Speakers, etc.

Virtual Payment will also lead to commercialization inside events. Sponsors and Exhibitors will be able to leverage this technology for better conversion and a seamless buying experience.

7. Decline of White-labeled apps.

The move towards Centralized Economy will be stronger, trashing White-labelled apps. Delegates do not want fancy white labelled apps. An average smartphone user only engages with 4–7 apps on daily basis though they have installed 80–120, which are only used once or twice after installed.

So what is Centralized Economy ? Apple proved this in 2008, with launch of AppStore. By providing a centralized marketplace for finding all apps and managing them.

You don’t go to Rovio website to download latest edition of Angry Birds game. You don’t dial a cab company’s phone to book a cab. You push a button on Uber app to hire a cab. You get the idea.

This is what every single smartphone user want. A centralized place for one need. Delegates are tired of fancy, white labelled, use-and-delete event apps. This trend will drive towards less adoption and organizers turning their back on these types of ready made apps.

I’ve written a separate article about — Why white-labelled Event Apps suck?, It’s here.

8. Engaging Events.

Events will be more about delivering impactful experiences. Events in 2018 will engage speaker, sponsors, exhibitor and delegates to co-create and immerse themselves in the event.

Organizers, Sponsors, Exhibitors, Speakers and Delegates will interact more. Platforms to bridge the gap between these stakeholders will bring them closer. Instant Messaging, Business Card Sharing, Following Profiles and Organizers will accelerate this process.

With Marketing Platforms, Sponsors and Exhibitors will engage with delegates differently. These platforms will help them drive more traffic into their stalls and help them build brands efficiently.

Q&A sessions will come out of the stages to phones. Live Q&A will drive conversations between delegates and speakers to a different level. File sharing would also change the experience.

9. All-in-one tickets.

Bundled ticket packages will become mainstream, tickets would be sold in packages where delegates would be buying a single ticket which would come with all the necessary items to attended an event. Industry leaders in event management, travel and hospitality will come under a common roof to provide seamless services to delegates. By purchasing packaged event tickets, guests will not have to worry about travel, stay, food and other extra experiences.

Tickets would come with a package of the following services:

  • Flight tickets
  • Train tickets
  • Hotel accommodation
  • Public transport passes
  • Pass to additional local events
  • Discounted coupons
  • Virtual currency for payments in events
  • Cab passes (Example : Uber Business Customer Rides)
  • Parking tickets

10. New and Improved Services.

Use of Drones. Drones would be used for security surveillance, capturing actions during events and sessions.

Charging Stations. To accommodate power needs of guest’s smartphones and laptops, venues will be occupying themselves with wired and wireless charging station solutions.

Improved Connectivity. Complimentary WiFi will become common for all types of event. Better coverage will encourage the delegates to take the event social.

YARA — Bring the power of Artificial Intelligence to your Events.

Be it be a Conference, Expo or Seminar — give your Guests, Speakers, Sponsors, Exhibitors, and Advertisers an unique all-digital, zero-paper experience.

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