December / 5 / 2017

Event Tech 2017 Takeaway - Ready For Primetime


by Ken Dec, EVP of Marketing & Client Strategies and Aaron Martinez, Senior Designer

The biggest takeaway from this year’s gathering of event technology providers at the 7th annual Event Tech is just how "ready-to-go" many of the technology tools we’ve been talking about are now actively being used to improve live, face-to-face experiences and their management.  Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Bots and more are no longer just ideas we can/should imagine using – many companies already are implementing these technologies in powerful ways.

The 3Rs – AR/VR/MR

Still the buzz of the show, we saw more and more interesting, real-world applications of these technologies than in any previous year.

Augmented Reality (AR) – Given the sheer number of mobile phones in existance,  it's no wonder AR interest is high. The ability to add a digital overlay to a live environment through mobile-enabled apps indicates that AR may yet turn out to be the most utilized of the "Reality-based" concepts. 

Virtual Reality (VR) – the ability to ‘transport’ users to entirely different environments remains the most powerful VR application type – and with the technology getting easier to use as a result of consumer-driven innovations, costs are going down, attendees are more comfortable using the tools and increasingly have higher expectations in this area.

Some interesting show buzz is the idea that AR and MR will surpass the headset-based VR approach to enhance live experiences sooner than later.

Mixed Reality (MR) - While virtual reality (VR) creates entirely computer-generated environments and augmented reality (AR) overlays computer-generated imagery onto the real world, mixed reality (MR), seeks to blend the physical and digital worlds together. You can imagine how powerful this idea could become. 

Real-world applications in the event space are just beginning, but we see their use ramping up significantly in 2018.

Bots are back

They’ve earned a bad reputation in the social/political realm, but these are incredibly powerful tools that can exponentially improve the exhibitor experience by providing consistent, accurate answers to the more common questions they need answers to. More importantly, it can enable general service contractors to free up their human staff to be more focused on higher, value-added service activities – enabling them to provide a truly concierge-level of service to exhibitors.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has arrived

We saw powerful demonstrations of using AI-generated data to optimize everything from floorplan to registration design – even enabling on-the-fly experience optimization by utilizing data to move experience locations around overnight to optimize the experience.

Not bolt-ons but must-haves

These technologies have been in the experimental stage for years. No longer. These innovative technologies are now proven in the event field and capable of significantly improving the attendee, exhibitor and sponsor experience.

Here at the Expo Group, we are prepared to help you determine which of these tools are best suited to meet your specific experiential and financial objectives.  For more information, contact us