In 2014, technology is going to inspire the event industry, but no single company will be able to make best in class products across the board. If organisers are going to maximise what software will have to offer this year, they need to demand full access to, and control of, the data captured by these technologies.
While a handful of ticketing and registration vendors have dominated the event tech category to date, new technologies like the smartphone, wearables, and connected devices offer exciting opportunities to digitise the offline event experience and, in turn, reinvent the industry.
From Apple’s iBeacon indoor location tracking tech, to augmented reality, CRM, audience response, and mobile payments, the application of these technologies at events will bring everything from mobile apps with auto check-ins and location-based exhibitor offers to out of this world AR-based booth experiences.
Vendors and organisers should be equally excited about the immense opportunities of these platforms. But event technology companies have been very protective of the data they collect, at the expense of the organisers who work with them – event staff end up with massive amounts of data from disparate sources that they then have to compile themselves to draw the most meaningful insights.
For event technology to live up to its potential, all of the pieces need equal and open access to the massive stream of data generated by events. Organisers deserve better, and vendors need to respond to their demands. After all, the data that comes from your event is yours – you simply should not have to pay for access to your own data.
While organisers will want to take advantage of technology seamlessly across one event, the top tech companies will only specialise in on one or two areas. Therefore, best in class registration systems will need to integrate with best in class mobile apps, commerce, augmented reality, audience response systems, and more.
One of the most amazing, dynamic aspects of the events industry is that no two events are alike. Events are an incredible opportunity to try new things, to mix and match different features and services to mash things up. More than many industries, ours is made for API driven collaboration, pushing technologies to change the way we interact in person.
It is only by working together that we can reach our potential in marrying technology and events to the benefit of organisers, attendees and exhibitors. Only then will we be able to produce impactful events for years to come.
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