The last few years have been tough on all of us for several reasons. We couldn’t see our families, go to work, travel, or go about our lives and do the things we normally would. Recently, I was able to attend Cvent Connect awards and I was reminded of how great it is when people come together.
Working in the events industry, I spend my days helping clients bring people together. This was tough during the pandemic for obvious reasons but its opened the door to new possibilities and technology, including virtual events. We traded office and conference settings with rows of seats for dining room chairs, auditoriums for screens, and workwear for whatever we felt comfortable wearing with slippers. Being back in a room full of people once again (safely of course) left me wondering about the future of events.
Technology is changing the way we run and attend events. Despite the excitement we all have to gather in-person again, these changes are here to stay. Hybrid events are the way forward, because they incorporate in-person and virtual elements. Event and meeting organisers need to use technology to cater to both of these audiences.
This means more attendees from more places, and a greater scope of possibility for event organisers. There are, however, challenges we still need to overcome. For in-person attendees, safety is still a concern. Thankfully, new technology such as contactless check-in is helping to overcome this challenge.
For virtual attendees, however, we face a different obstacle - engagement. At live events, when sitting in a session, you typically have an engaging speaker with a well rehearsed and delivered presentation to capture your attention. When watching this same speaker from your computer there are distractions, it’s much easier to check your phone or email, look out the window, or get up to make a coffee.
This is why I’m so excited about technology that can be incorporated into events, such as gamification and the metaverse. Gamification is a great tool that organisers can use to keep their virtual attendees engaged and offer them even more value. There are lots of great off the shelf examples that have been developed to meet client objectives, whether its networking, reward and recognition or some other goal. The metaverse, though still in its early days, has even more potential. It offers the chance create truly immersive experiences for virtual attendees that’ll feel like they’re right there at the event.
Although the future of events and meetings is as unpredictable as any other industry, I’m excited to see the role technology will play in this future moving forward.
Marco was awarded the Cvent Superstar Award at Cvent Connect 2022.
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