In-person gatherings and events are returning, but the most forward-thinking venues and event planners know that things aren’t going to return to what they once were any time soon. While this sounds like sad news, these event planners understand that this is a prime opportunity to usher in a new age of events, with better technology that makes things easier for the organizers and creates a more seamless experience for attendees and exhibitors.
The good news is technology is advancing quickly and instead of mourning the loss of what we had, we can look forward to a brighter, safer future. Here are 9 emerging trends we’re seeing that will help bring us a safer, better-connected future in events in 2022 and beyond.
9 Emerging Trends Shaping the Future of Event Technology
1. Instant Contactless Check-In
We’ve been checking in for our flights onsite for years now, and the same technology has come to events and a wide range of other applications. Just about anything can be arranged from behind a screen – even creating floorplans, sharing safety protocols, and registering at checkpoints.
In events, we can see a future without queues, one where everyone attending can be granted or refused access based on actions they took onsite. In circumstances where queuing is unavoidable, virtual queues will keep people from gathering en-masse in one location.
2. Hands-Free Temperature Solutions
While temperature guns are already a contactless solution to taking people’s temperature, they still require the presence of a human to scan dozens or even hundreds of people. Temperature check devices are now making the process faster than ever by using infra-red technology to take temperatures, give the green light, dispense hand sanitizer, PPE, and essential information for attendees.
Kiosks like these can also be used to track check-ins for in-event areas, such as bathrooms, VIP rooms, eating areas, and more.
3. Contactless ID Verification
The new normal involves ensuring that everyone attending an event has taken reasonable precautions to keep themselves and those around them healthy. Many event planners are choosing to restrict access to events to those who are vaccinated and/or willing to take a COVID-19 test in the days before the event. However, implementing these rules has proved challenging.
Our recent partnership with CLEAR aims to seamlessly navigate these challenges, marrying their Health Pass technology (which helps strengthen health screening and proof of vaccination) with our registration and mobile app solutions. Together, we make it possible to check-in attendees and partners without contact, while ensuring they meet the requirements of your events, such as vaccination or a recent negative COVID test. (To find out more about our partnership, click here.)
This will make it easy for event organizers to alter access requirements to comply with local, state, or company requirements, and ask attendees to agree to your terms on how they can conduct themselves at the event to keep themselves and other attendees safe. When you make expectations clear long before the event, attendees have ample time to ask questions and to familiarize themselves with your rules.
4. AI Assistants
Virtual and AI-driven chatbots and assistants are already appearing at events and in other hospitality venues, leaving their place in science fiction behind. These bots can help attendees find specific locations, event information, meal times, and more. These services also integrate with phone apps, offering push notifications when their meetings, appointments, or tables are ready for them.
To take this a step further, robots are starting to deliver meals to guests in hotels, so these smart and helpful little bots will help reduce personnel needs for events in the near future.
5. Keep Your Distance Bands
One of the biggest challenges for event planners is social distancing. It doesn’t matter how you limit your attendee numbers, trying to enforce social distancing can feel like chaperoning a middle school dance. Fortunately, Bluetooth and WiFi wearables (such as wristbands) are coming along to do the awkward job for you.
Wearables like these vibrate when they are within 6 feet of each other, offering a gentle reminder to the wearer to try and keep their distance from other attendees. The challenge for event planners here, beyond funding and getting these wearables in the hands of attendees without significant contact, is in planning an event layout that will make sure the wearable is useful and doesn’t go off constantly while attendees navigate the event floor.
Alternatively, wearables are also being developed that operate on a traffic light system – either using the colored lights to display how well the wearer is social distancing, how open they are to face-to-face interaction.
6. Fast Disinfection Technology
Cleaning technology is another area that is advancing fast. From electrostatic cleaning (in which electrostatically-charged disinfecting mist is sprayed onto surfaces) to ultraviolet lights that can disinfect rooms even while they’re inhabited, this new health and safety technology makes it possible to disinfect spaces in between users or overnight without disrupting the event.
7. QR Codes for Content
QR codes are the best solution for sharing helpful content, free stuff, and marketing materials without the need for printed materials or merchandise. Leaflets, free branded merchandise, and tablets are all unnecessary, especially when digital content can be shared so quickly and easily while being a more eco-friendly and hygienic solution.
8. App Event Companions
With technology in our pockets at all times, the safe return to live events can be facilitated with our phones and the apps we use. An event app can be used to supply event information, both before the event and in real-time, to help facilitate connection with other attendees, and cut down on foot traffic on the event floor. Having a direct line to your attendees via an app is a practical way to get information to those who need it, without relying on loudspeaker announcements which can be misheard or exclude hard-of-hearing attendees.
When it comes to facilitating connection, these apps can be used to add contacts and “friends” on the event floor that can be contacted later for further networking, either through the app or on other platforms. This helps encourage discussion while discouraging close contact with others on the event floor.
9. Hybrid Events
It used to be that a hybrid event meant that you could attend online by watching the live streams of talks at the event, but that was where the extent of the hybrid model ended. Fortunately, the hybrid landscape looks very different, and we’re seeing a huge trend toward hybrid events offered with online chatrooms, networking opportunities, special offers, and more. Event platforms like Aventri make it possible for event organizers to use an all-in-one solution to avoid the tech problems inherent when stapling various platforms together.
The future of event technology is on health and safety, and this technology isn’t a flash in the pan that will disappear as soon as the COVID-19 threat is over. We now live in an age where we are aware of new biological threats and how to minimize them, so we can start to use this technology to limit or even eliminate “con flu.” Colds and flu don’t need to be synonymous with attending a great event – with this new event technology, we can ensure a safe return to live events and improve their safety for all moving forward.