Event organisers need technology to function. At least at optimum levels. Life is easier when you have a website to take bookings, a WhatsApp group to communicate with staff, and a mobile app to give your attendees what they need in one place.
For the luddites among us, technology is nothing to be afraid of. It’s a bonafide enabler; allowing event organisers to perform their jobs quicker, and better. While some innovations are destined for a short lifespan, we’ve managed to identify a list of trends that are likely to impact you or your attendees in 2020. Here are our predictions for the year ahead:
1. It’s all in the app
Given the industry’s continued push towards sustainability and the paper saved by moving information on printed brochures and leaflets onto an app, we can expect even richer mobile experiences in 2020.
Modern-day event apps have networking tools and games on top of all the usual speaker and venue information. If you want to find a way of boosting attendee engagement, the app is the way to go.
2. RFID will be everywhere
The use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) has huge ramifications for the events industry. By tracking attendees’ movements through a wireless wristband, we can gather information on popular areas, sessions and workshops to shed new light on the attendee experience.
While QR-code scanning allows for data collection at key points (e.g. registration, stages), expect RFID to take things up a level with seamless tracking.
3. Cyber security measures will increase
If you’re one of the vast majority either using wi-fi or holding data on attendees, expect to hear more warnings about the danger posed by cyber criminals in 2020.
We’ve written previously about events acting as a magnet for data thieves, especially those focusing on sectors like finance and telecommunications, where sensitive information is prevalent. If you’re not planning on increasing your cyber security measures in 2020, you should be wondering why.
4. Data will have its day
We all collect data. Only now, though, on the cusp of 2020, will organisers actually start to make full use of what they gather.
Information has always driven better decisions. Our problem has been with deciphering trends without having to undertake a doctorate in computer science.
Now our technology providers have started to produce cleaner dashboards and better features (e.g. triggers for highlighting an increase in tickets from a single source), we can now enter the data-driven age with more intent than before.
5. 5G won’t cause a revolution
Several telecommunications firms have started their roll-out of 5G cellular network technology, promising faster speeds to customers on their top packages.
We’ve been quick to celebrate the impact this could have on events, mainly with regards to the loading of in-app content. However, as just about every venue is striving to produce a super-fast wi-fi connection, and most apps support offline functionality, the benefits may have been a little overstated.
Will we notice the effect of 5G on the attendee experience? Possibly not.
6. Marketers will embrace automation
One of the best things about automation is that we can reduce the amount of people and resources dedicated to managing basic tasks.
Event marketing will become a very different beast in 2020 as more people turn to scheduling tools for sending emails and social media posts. While a human will always take charge of authoring duties, they no longer have to be on the platform whenever something goes out.
7. Mixed reality will drive gamification
According to insights from Juniper, mixed-reality apps will be downloaded 10 billion times by 2024, up from just three billion this year. Despite their growth, the same study believes that developers have a challenge when it comes to maintaining their audiences.
This is less of a problem for events, which only need their users’ attention for a few days. With gamification becoming so vital for boosting attendee engagement, expect mixed-reality apps to become an essential part of the attendee experience in 2020.
8. Event management platforms will need to match their users’ ambitions
As per the 2020 Future Event Trends Report from CWT, events are getting bigger. This has been attributed to companies deciding to condense a whole calendar of smaller gatherings into just one or two behemoths. Think 10,000+ attendees; the biggest of venues; the biggest of impressions.
As a result of their growth, these same companies will trade their basic, stripped-back event management platforms for comprehensive tools with more features (e.g. email marketing, mobile-app building) to deliver on a bigger requirement.
9. Greater collaboration
Aside from the various mergers and acquisitions that will undoubtedly take place in 2020, we’ll see a more subtle connection between event tech providers as they look to break into new markets.
For an example of how this might work, think about the synergistic effect of a customer relationship management tool (CRM) integrating with an event management platform. This would make it easier to pinpoint trends and turn a greater number of website browsers into attendees.
10. Virtual reality is here to stay
That brings us onto our final prediction, where few will be surprised to hear a mention for virtual reality. When it comes to enhancing the attendee experience, transporting them into another world is definitely an option worth exploring.
With the technology behind VR becoming all the more refined, we expect electronic headwear to make a big play in our venues come 2020.
Written by Jose Bort, CEO and Co-Founder, Eventscase
Since its founding in 2012, EventsCase has grown to become the industry’s leading all-in-one event management platform. Offering tools for registration, check-in, mobile app and website-building, email marketing, networking and more, it is the reason behind huge savings of time and money for event organisers around the world.