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With event technology establishing pillars at every event, event profs are always on the lookout for the next big thing. Key tech players in the industry share their predictions for the next 12 months.

 

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"Organisers are going to educate themselves in data"

 

Phil Simpson, owner, D2i Systems

 

A lot has globally changed already in a few short months and if I could accurately predict what’s going to be hot over the next 12 months, then I’d also hedge my bets on winning the lottery at the same time. Over recent years, the industry has gone from being led by the registration provider to embracing a diverse range of new products from companies that are breaking into the events market.

 

The traditional registration provider has to rethink their product and service offering just to stay current. Savvy organisers have jumped onto the data bandwagon, but they need to brush up on their understanding and skill set if they want to maximise any returns.

 

Data is just part of your strategy and without context it’s not information, just numbers. My single prediction for 2017 is that organisers are going to educate themselves in this field and we will see more data people within organisations. These individuals will help shape processes and efficiency through the science of data. On a final note, can we please stop using the phrase game changer? We do not play games; we are an industry of professionals that take our work seriously.

 

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"Events will become much more immersive"

 

Grant Morgan, senior marketing manager, Poken

 

The biggest trend I foresee growing in 2017 is the shift towards participants having greater control over their personal event experience. Throughout the year I have witnessed an increasing number of organisers adopt new technologies such as NFC and RFID smart cards, which give attendees greater control and freedom over their event journey.

 

When used in collaboration with interactive technologies such as in-session polling and surveys, we see greater value for attendees as the event experience becomes increasingly unique to the specific goal of each person. I believe events will become much more immersive in 2017 and the attendee will become the person behind the wheel.

 

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"Keeping things as simple as possible"

 

Simon Clayton, chief ideas officer, RefTech

 

I don’t think that there will be any major tech advances in 2017. Our focus will just be constantly trying to move everything forward from a web and user experience point of view. Keeping things as simple as possible, while improving the user experience and giving them more power.

 

Some of that focus is just to keep ensuring that as much as possible works on mobile devices as well as it can and taking note of what else is happening around us in other industries (what cool search features are around in other websites, for example). We are not alone in this approach; 2017 will not herald anything spectacular, just constant improvement.

 

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"The battle for audience attention will only get fiercer"

 

Juraj Holub, US marketing manager, Slido

 

One thing that I think will have a major impact on the events industry in 2017 is live streaming. Live streaming has gained momentum throughout 2016, with it now powering over six million hybrid and virtual events each year, and we can see more and more event professionals and participants eager to get involved. However, as beneficial as live streaming can be, it comes with its own challenges and there is a risk that the battle for audience attention will only get fiercer.

 

In order to keep delegates at their screens, event planners will need to have three key elements in place: an engaging storyline, space for online interaction and a dedicated moderator. Once these have been installed the live streaming experience will be beneficial for all involved.

 

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"Where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact"

 

Alastair Reece, head of DBPixelhouse

 

2016 was all about virtual reality (VR) and we at DB Systems think 2017 will take this a step further with mixed reality being the Holy Grail. Mixed reality, or hybrid reality, is a combination of AR, VR and real world experience where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact.

 

The success of Pokémon Go has naturalised the interaction between real and virtual worlds and has created opportunities for brands to participate in the experiences they give their customers, rather than being a redundant bystander. We’re already getting queries for how we can leverage mixed reality in the events world, and can see some real opportunities for organisers to use gamification and mixed reality to increase engagement at events.

 

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"Interactive digital signage has a very good year ahead"

 

Thomas Walczak, managing director, eventignite

 

Despite the hype and hypothetical potential, iBeacons, real-time heat maps and VR will fail to make an impact at exhibitions in 2017. The reason is simple – while it’s easy to get excited, daydream and talk about what could be achieved with these new technologies, no one seems to be hard at work trying to figure out how to genuinely add value to the visitor experience and how to realistically monetise them. Plus, for some or all of them, that may not even be possible.

 

On the bright side, I can say first-hand that, as AV tech continues to advance, more broadly-used technologies such as digital signage, including interactive digital signage, have a very good year ahead of them.

 

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