Working in the event industry, we see trends develop overtime, with the use of technologies and more interactive experiences becoming the norm.
Events from festivals to brand activations and event corporate hospitality are utilising technology like never before in an event to stand out. Here is our list of the most exciting and upcoming event technology trends we expect to see over the coming couple of years.
Contactless & Cashless Payments
The number one technology we’re seeing at events is contactless and cashless payments. Since the pandemic, event organisers have had to adapt, and are phasing out cash is one of the first points of call.
Today, very few people carry cash, especially to high-risk areas such as festivals and events. With fewer people carrying cash, contactless payments have become the industry standard. Whether it’s bars, vendors, funfair rides or even showers/phone charging amenities, attendees expect to be able to tap their card and go.
Another huge benefit of contactless systems at events is the reduced level of security. With large amounts of cash on site (behind the bar, in tills and even ATM machines for example) security had to be tight to prevent opportunistic thieves. By eliminating cash at your event, and moving to a contactless system, you can dial back the cash security, and have one less thing to worry about.
In the modern era, WiFi is like drinking water, it’s the first thing that people ask for—particularly vendors that want to take card payments over the internet.
During large events, the number of people on site means that 4G/5G isn’t a viable option for connectivity, so vendors, staff and important personnel such as medical and security teams aren’t able to communicate.
Our event WiFi solutions range from 50,000+ festivals to individual plug-and-play solutions for live streaming. Many of our customers come to us after poor experiences relying on 4G/5G for their large event, which leads to long queues where payments don’t work, and poor experiences for vendors.
Lots of events also use WiFi connectivity as a source of revenue, charging vendors to use their connection for their payments is a great way to recuperate the cost of having a network installed—and offers your vendors an improved experience at the event.
Virtual & Augmented Reality Live Streaming
Virtual and augmented reality aren’t new technologies, they’ve been around in some form or another for many years. However, the recent COVID pandemic has accelerated the need for live streaming at events.
With some people unable to attend, VR and AR live streaming can bring the experience to more people. It can also be used to generate additional revenue, with live streaming tickets adding an extra stream to your event.
Another application of VR & AR is at the event itself. Lots of companies doing brand activations, marketing and social interactive events utilise VR and AR to increase engagement with attendees and further their branding.
Public WiFi & Landing Pages
Festivals and events in the modern era often focus on the ‘Instagram-ability’ factor. It’s not uncommon to see Instagram walls and specific areas of the event made for sharing, such as lettering or signage. It’s no secret how sharable events see high growth levels, and capitalising on this is important.
A technology we’re seeing a huge take up in is public WiFi for events. With so many captive people (particularly at festivals with younger crowds), and a lack of alternative connectivity (where the 4G doesn’t work), attendees often turn to public WiFi.
Why not capture data with landing pages, and sell this data to sponsors or vendors to increase their marketing and brand awareness—or even use the data to drive social engagement, encourage sharing and rebooking of tickets.
Many of our festival clients also utilise the physical location of public WiFi hotspots at their events—putting them close to the bars, with paid-for phone chargers nearby to increase footfall to these areas and keep the money flowing over the bar.
Once the thing os science fiction, holograms are becoming and increasingly common site at larger events and festivals. The technology uses glass, projections and light trickery to wow audiences and add another element to live performances.
There are several companies that specialist in holographic special effects, such as Kaleida and Hypervsn. With different technologies available, from full staging setups to fan-based holograms, event companies can integrate this exciting new technology into their event.
The world has gone crazy for 5G. With super fast speeds and low latency, 5G is improving the world in so many ways, from IoT enabled devices to events and everything in between.
Larger events, such as Glastonbury parter with mobile networks to implement their own 5G network across the site to cater to the hundreds of thousands of people that turn up.
One of the huge benefits of 5G is the increased capacity. At many event sites, when 20,000 people turn up the mobile network can’t cope with the volume of connections; however with 5G’s much higher capacity, this isn’t a problem.
The only downside of 5G in its current state is the lack of availability. As the networks roll out 5G it is becoming more widely available, but can still be limited, even in city centres.
Custom App Development
Everybody walks with a mobile phone in their pocket, and events and festivals are utilising this more than ever before. Having visitors download an app before attending, with an interactive map, showtimes, lineups, vendor information and even ads for bars and vendors willing to pay that little bit extra makes the event evermore seamless for attendees.
Apps also enable events to generate additional revenue by selling advertising space, and even WiFi availability as mentioned previously. Why not use the app to encourage social sharing and gather data from attendees to promote next years event and increase ticket sales ahead of time.
As the events industry grows and changes, so do the technologies it utilises. From holograms to WiFi and even bespoke mobile apps. Keeping users engaged and offer unique experiences is all part of any event, and by leveraging the power of technology, events are always striving to do more for their attendees.