Drones, holograms, wearables, geo-positioning and beacon technology are no longer figments of “Back to the Future” fiction. Tools like these are becoming commonplace at meetings and gatherings worldwide and creating exciting possibilities for 2017.
Next year’s interactive meeting technology is all about enhancing the experience of being there, adding dimension, enhancing capabilities, and delivering measurable results. These new tools offer innovative ways of capturing and analyzing data to engage an increasingly distracted audience. New technology is catalyzing the effectiveness of gatherings and can even recreate the experience of actually being there for remote attendees.
While it is easy to focus on tech novelty, the more important momentum is driven by the meeting trends that this technology allows. As we near the end of 2016, here’s what we are looking forward to in the coming year:
Top Trends of 2017
- The value of meeting analytics will eclipse the value of meeting apps: Apps are great, but unless they deliver residual benefits and long term value, they are far less valuable. The next year will show analytics trumping apps, forcing apps to become smarter and more informative. Their capabilities will replace paper and offer logistics by tracking attendee movement, touch and response. By effectively gauging audience interest, analytics-driven apps will be able to guide follow-up and planning for future events.
- Live meeting engagement will go mainstream: Like apps, the increasingly savvy and sophisticated meeting attendees of 2017 are demanding more out of their technology and their experiences. Second screen technology and other engagement tools will offer advanced avenues for interaction that are independent of primary mobile devices. Pertinent information will be pushed in real time and session presenters will be able to give attendees access to slides, videos, links and social media in a personal way. They will also be able to offer in-session polling to make the experience immediately relevant.
- Virtual reality will be integrated into meeting technology offerings: Although in the early stages, VR is unquestionably here to stay. All of the major players including Facebook, GoPro, Samsung and Google have a stake in the game. With its increasing ubiquity, innovative marketers and event planners are finding new and better ways to employ it at meetings. VR can offer enticing means of capturing booth engagement as well as expanding the capabilities of virtual training with immersive experiences that mirror the real thing. It can also virtually transport remote attendees to the meeting and promote group collaboration through a shared experience.
- Companies will shift back from virtual to live meetings: The shift away from live meetings because of high costs and ambiguous results will begin to reverse. New ways of capturing data and analytics now offer attendees measurable results that can justify the expenses. New technologies can deliver a more immersive experience with tools that allow an attendee to revisit sessions after the conference has ended and share it colleagues. Exhibitor companies can track movement and preferences of their ideal customers and leave with an insightful record of the event to guide follow-up and future planning. While virtual meetings and webinars can be useful, they will always fail in offering the focused intensity of the in-person experience, a benefit that is only increasing with advancing technology.
New technology will continue to emerge with progressively sophisticated capabilities. In the event and meeting space, it is imperative that we harness these tools to produce results instead of manufacture distraction. Providing an intuitive experience that benefits attendees and promotes the overall goals of planners will always be the driving force behind the adoption of new tools.
We can’t wait to see what else comes down the pipeline in 2017, how about you?