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9320914601_0171dbaa10_zThe speed of technology change becomes ever faster, just think about how far we’ve come in the events industry in recent years: Biros and clipboards have given way to scan codes and iPads; paper event programmes have been replaced by event app where schedules can be updated in an instant; and content sharing has gone from photocopying a leaflet for a friend to being able to connect with the whole world in seconds.

It’s hard to believe, but all these have only become commonplace in the last few years! So what exciting technology might be in store for the events industry?

RFID & NFC 

The premise of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and NFC (Near Field Communication) is quite simple – a tag comes into contact with a reader which in turn activates an action.

For example on the London Underground an Oyster travelcard is touched on a ticket barrier reader, which takes payment from the card and opens the barrier. Where NFC technology differs is that it can be set up for one or two-way communications.

As they have become significantly cheaper, events can now issue tags as RFID name badges or wristbands, integrate them with an app and do lots of clever things:

  • Instant content collection of documents such as whitepapers, business cards or videos
  • Personalised information points eg screens showing the attendee a personalised schedule, next seminar location or table number
  • Enabling attendees to check in to an event or as an access pass upon arrival
  • Data & lead capture by exhibitors
  • Social media amplification – ‘Like’ exhibition stands or speakers, follow them on Twitter or share content via your social media networks with just a tap of a smart badge

iBeacons

iBeacons enables an Apple iOS device or other ‘beacon’ to broadcast notifications or actions to other devices in close proximity via the wireless transfer tech, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). It’s being trialled by retailers to assist customers as they shop and the potential is huge.

They could be used to send special offers to phones when attendees are in specific parts of an exhibition eg “You’re really close to Bob’s stand, visit him in the next 10 minutes and he’ll make you a free coffee!”

iBeacons could automatically send greetings to attendees as they arrive at your venue and even to pull up their registration document on their phone screen as they walk up to the reg desk!

Google Glass

Glass is the wearable computer developed by Google which allows you to do most things you would normally do on a smartphone using voice instructions and a tiny translucent screen right in front of your eye(s) as an extra layer on top of the “real world.”

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Google Glass presents new opportunities for events professionals:

  • Event apps of the future will integrate with Google Glass so that you could pull up a venue floor plan, reminders for the speaker sessions or exhibitor info pop up before your eyes.
  • You’ll be able to take photos and check out what’s trending with hands free ease – all while simultaneously networking with your peers.
  • Speakers wearing Google Glass could have their notes appear as a virtual autocue – though this may get distracting! As well as fielding questions submitted via an event app as they pop up on screen.
  • Exhibitors could direct Glass wearers to watch product demonstrations and stream what they’re viewing straight back to the office in real time, allowing on-the-spot purchase decisions.
  • As an event organiser, life could become much easier as you wander hands-free, troubleshooting more effectively, communicating information and relaying social media updates. Robo-EventProf!

At Noodle Live, we think that these are the three technologies that will affect the events industry most in the next few years; but as pop septet S-Club 7 once sang, “Heaven knows just what the future holds!”

This is a guest blog by Thom Feeney. Thom is Marketing Manager at Noodle Live. As well as playing with new technology, he spends his time watching theatre and comedy and drinking Yorkshire Tea.  Noodle Live is an event technology company based in London. We provide easy to use mobile apps, audience response apps and RFID technology for events and conferences, as well as offering free Event Tech Clinic workshops to event professionals and organisers.

“Image source – Flickr , usage under Creative Commons license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)”

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