By Lisa Vann

Technology changes have shifted the way in which audiences and attendees engage with events. Traditional expectations have decreased with each conference or seminar and more ‘tech friendly’ expectations have drastically increased. However, for those planning events day in and day out – knowing, understanding, and meeting the expectations and desires of event attendees can seem like a daunting task. Especially when it comes to event technology.

As the COO of MeetingPlay, an event technology company that develops engagement driven mobile event apps and solutions for events, and having experienced the events industry as both an attendee and a business executive, I know event expectations are ever changing, and ever increasing.

Mobile Event Apps

Working for a business that builds mobile event apps day in and day out, this may seem like a clear-cut answer. Yet many events still fail to meet the technology expectations of their attendees, including event apps.

Mobile event apps offer a multitude of solutions, enhancing experiences for the attendee, the sponsors and/or exhibitors, as well as the event professionals planning and executing the event. Event apps can serve as a replacement (or an addition) to traditional paper event agendas, incorporate gamification, social media integrations, attendee networking and messaging, content hosts, and a multitude of other solutions.

Real Time Experiences, Off-Site

Often events attract potential attendees that are unable to attend. Despite being unable to attend said conference or tradeshow, often those potential ‘would-be’ attendees will still engage with the event in other methods, hoping to learn as much as they can from a distance.

Event technologies allow these experiences to occur in real-time for those who could not attend. Solutions can be as complex as live streaming websites custom-built for the event, to as simple as utilizing live streaming social media platforms such as YouTube Live, Facebook Live, or Periscope.

Real time experiences for those ‘would be attendees’ serves as a great engagement opportunity for events, as well as showcase and advertisement encouraging even more attendees for follow-up events, conferences or trade shows.

Beacon Technology

Beacon technology has been one of the biggest game changers for tradeshows and conferences. Beacons offer a two-way communication between an electronic, physical beacon and an event attendee, planner, or booth smart device.

At MeetingPlay, one way we have helped our clients build more engaging events is through beacon-based event lanyards. These lanyards are incorporated into a conference’s event app, and then allow ‘an exchange of information’ to occur when two beacons interact.

Attendees can ‘connect’ and ‘share information’ with each other as they are interacting, without the need for paper or pen, or business cards. Tradeshow exhibitors can use the beacon technology to collect lead information from attendees who visited their booth. Additionally, beacons can be used as a part of event gamification, mapping/wayfinding, and reporting real-time metrics for event planners.

Conclusion

Conferences and trade shows have drastically changed since the days of tobacco and coffee aroma filled the walls. With the advancement of technology, came the advancement and shifting of both event trends and attendee expectations. The most successful event begins with engagement – and carries through with engagement, and event technology is one important component of such.

Lisa Vann is the COO of MeetingPlay — a mobile event app that helps build engaging, custom apps for events, conferences, and seminars. When not ensuring the success of event professionals and companies that utilize the MeetingPlay app — odds are you will find Lisa playing “Shark Tank” Barbie style with her two young daughters and husband of 12 years, connecting with her community, or rooting on the Florida Gators!


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