Top Event Tech and Experiential Trends from 5 Industry Experts

As we start the new year, our attention usually turns to identifying and understanding the latest trends in the industry. Here are predictions from our experts in the industry on event trends for 2018.


Augmented Reality Is  Becoming A More Attractive and Accessible Event Technology/Though Still Limited, Virtual Reality Use in Event Marketing Is Increasing

Jason Latta, Founder of Amazing Robot and Sons,  feels  VR has made increasing inroads in event marketing, and that VR games, in particular, have become more popular in event marketing.  He notes that room scale VR is particularly well suited to enabling users, including groups of users, to “wander around and walk through exhibits” and experiences in trade show environments.

The use of 360 degree VR, especially for venue tours, has increased significantly in event planning and marketing over the past year,  helping pave the way for broader VR use in events.

Social VR has also started to be used in events, another sign that VR use in event marketing is expanding beyond more traditional product demonstrations.  In fact, some brand marketers and advertisers expect VR and AR to play a significant role in social media marketing in the near future.  According to Roger Graham, senior director, Growth & Marketing for APAC,  Hootsuite, “the next trend in social will very likely involve an innovative implementation of augmented and virtual reality, and that will eventually present new ways to engage with customers.”  One key indication of that trend was the launch of the Facebook Spaces VR social media platform in April.

Latta notes that Microsoft’s VR system will also likely have a significant impact on event marketing because of its affordable price and elimination of the need for tracking systems.

Options for mobile VR have significantly increased (such as Snapchat’s VR Lite feature,)  offering more convenient opportunities for VR use in event marketing.

He feels augmented reality has become a more attractive event technology because of its higher accessibility, driven by major advancements in cost-effective mobile AR technology over the past year.  He singles out the soon to be released Apple ARKit platform for iPhones and iPads, and the Mira augmented reality glasses as potential game changers in event marketing.   With an expected $99 price tag and a broader field of view than the Hololens system,  the Mira glasses will offer major benefits in event marketing, asserts Latta.

Corbin Ball, owner of Corbin Ball Associates, believes augmented reality will serve as a significant wayfinding solution and  enhanced “indoor positioning system to help attendees navigate through meeting spaces and exhibit halls.”  He notes that this kind of solution currently uses mobile phone cameras, but will be more efficiently delivered soon via “updated versions of augmented reality glasses” from companies like Apple and Google.

Matthias Baur, CEO of MBB Media, envisions VR and AR having an extraordinary impact in “product demonstrations” at events.


Interactive Forms of 3D Projection Mapping Transforming Event Marketing

Rob Delfgauuw, General Manager of NuFormer, believes that augmented reality and 3D projection mapping will soon be increasingly integrated and that this fusion will have a profound impact on event marketing and marketing in general.  As he explains,  more advanced augmented reality technologies on the way will enable apps to be directly built into smartphones, such as Google’s CoreVR system, and open up 3D projection mapping experiences to a broad range of visualization options.

He also sees more considerable interest now in the combination of motion capture technology and 3D projection mapping from event and brand marketers and notes that his company’s motion capture system for 3D mapping is receiving much more consideration that it did two or three years ago.

In addition, he believes that projectors with phosphor lamps will dramatically transform 3D projection mapping for event marketing and brand marketing, for example,  by affording essentially “permanent projection mapping,” due to laser projection’s long lighting lifespan, which eliminates the need for constant and costly replacement.


Wider and More Potent Use of Chatbots in Events Driven by Artificial Intelligence

Ball sees chatbots aided by artificial intelligence playing a significant role in events in the near term and responding to user requests in a “more human-like way.”  He believes text-based systems are “emerging as an excellent chatbot alternative to answer questions, gather feedback, and engage attendees at events.”  Such text-based systems as Event2Mobile’s Eva chatbot and Sciensio’s Concierge Eventbot, for example,  are useful tools for functions like polling, directions, and meeting scheduling,  according to Ball.


New Forms of Cloud-Based Computing Leading to Greater Data Integration and Analysis in Events

Ball projects that “newer cloud-based companies will make an “event tech deck” and integration of data easier.”  As he reports, “it is now possible to collect and analyze onsite data and connect them with CRM tools such as, with the help of state of the art cloud-based event technology systems and advanced application programming interfaces.   For example, Eventbrite was developed from the start to be interoperable with many other software products.  Consortia of cloud-based event technology companies are now working together to share data and work as one network, such as the Event Tech Tribe.  As a result, “meeting planners will be able to find highly customized solutions using multiple technology products with the ability to extract valuable marketing data as if they operated as a single platform.”


Facial Recognition Applications Diversify in Events

Facial recognition and emotion mapping are emerging as strong event planning technologies and promise to be generally more useful audience feedback tools.  The latest facial recognition technology can allow event organizers to better monitor and adjust to trends and changes in audience behavior by capturing their poses and facial expressions, for example.

Facial recognition has had broader applications in events- it has proven to be highly effective for audience check-in applications, in addition to having clear applications in event security.  At the same time, the potential misuse of facial recognition in events has raised significant security and privacy concerns that event planners must take into account and weigh.  In this regard, Matthias Tesi Baur, CEO of MBB Media, believes that upcoming “data protection and privacy protection laws in Europe could potentially be” a significant barrier to the widespread use of facial recognition there in the near future.  But he also notes that “at the moment, it isn’t clear how the new laws will influence facial recognition use in events there.”


The Internet of Things Looms Large on the Event Horizon

On a long-term basis, many experts expect the Internet of Things to have a dramatic impact on events.  Matthias Baur, CEO of MBB Media, believes “its impact will start to be felt in about 2-3 years.”  From his perspective, a “change in behavior from  the business community will trigger new IoT services in the event industry.”  The new services could include “pre-selection of exhibitor or peer-to-peer meetings or even a pre-selection of entire trade shows visits, including travel planning,” he says.  Baur believes that adoption of these services will be driven to a large extent by the growing presence of “digital natives in decision-making positions in the next 3-5 years.”


Greater Collaboration of Event Technology Companies

Jonathan Sivak, CEO of TapFuse sees a trend towards greater collaboration between event technology companies, which has led to increasing integration in the event technology field


About Our Experts

Corbin Ball, CSP, CMP, DES, MSis an international speaker, has been named as a Meetings Trendsetter 2015 by Meetings Focus Magazine, one of Top 30 CMP Influencers by the CIC. and  #5 in Bizzabo’s 60 Most Influential Event Professionals To Follow, July 2016

Jason Latta, Chief Creative Officer, Founder, Amazing Robot and Sons, LLC – Jason specializes in helping agencies and vendors explore virtual reality, gestural interfaces, and other new digital marketing frontiers.

Rob Delfgaauw, CEO and founder at NuFormer. Rob specializes in the field of 3D video mapping. NuFormer has produced impressive video mapping shows all over the world for brands like Sony, BMW, Samsung, Mercedes, Google, Disney, Philips, Starbucks, Heineken, and Ford


Matthias Baur is a highly skilled consultant in trade shows, digital transformation and the gourmet food and wine world.

Jonathan Sivak, Founding Partner & CEO at TapFuse Ltd. Jonathan is an Event Tech evangelist and specializes in helping set-up and grow small businesses, with a particular interest in the tech and F&B concepts that add real value to events.


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