Networking events are vital to the visibility of a business and present valuable opportunities to build strategic relationships. The importance of such events is no secret. £375 billion a year is spent on events worldwide with £40 billion of that being spent in the UK.
Advancements in digital technology are boosting the value of business events. Assistants can organise for interactive technology to be integrated to give both hosts and attendees a richer experience.
Business professionals are increasingly tech-aware, with networking on smartphones and tablets becoming the norm. Audiences therefore have higher expectations than ever before and are looking to gain personal and organisational value from their attendance to your event.
Here are some of the latest digital technologies to consider when planning conferences and events:
Events can become more engaging with interactive screens
Incorporating screens into business events can help to broaden the scope of communication and networking between professionals. While taking a personal, face to face, approach to networking helps build relationships, it does limit the amount of people you can communicate with at any given time.
TVs with vital brand information can be displayed interactively with striking graphics, images and videos. Or you can use interactive displays to reach a wider audience, moving at the user’s speed and at their convenience.
Exhibition stand providers Skyline Whitespace point out that you can also build business connections through the use of interactive social media. Using an interactive screen to display live social media feeds such as a Twitter Wall is a great way of merging the offline and online worlds. Attendees are encouraged to follow business profiles and can engage with other professionals about the subjects discussed.
It is also a useful method of collecting feedback. Questions or polls can be posted onto the social media feed during the event. This enables the host to track and analyse discussion, discover which parts of the gathering were particularly appreciated and work out what can be improved in the future events.
Augmented reality gives attendees a richer experience
Augmented reality is the latest technology trend that is proving itself as an influential marketing tool. It permits the overlay of virtual information onto the real world that comes to life through smartphones or tablets. It is estimated that the augmented reality market will be worth more than £1 billion by 2019.
REWIND, the virtual reality agency behind Ikea’s interactive motivational mirror have highlighted the need to go beyond just adding movement for a visual quality, but to engage with the viewer in a way that feels more intuitive and intelligent. Using augmented reality technology allows attendees to access digital information about a given topic or product in a whole new way. This creates the opportunity to encourage discussion and engage with event attendees.
One of the most successful examples of augmented reality was Absolut’s augmented reality campaign “Truths”. AR tags were hung on bottles that people could scan using their smartphones. When scanned using the Absolut app, users were virtually transported to Sweden where they could witness the distilling process of Absolut vodka in beautiful Scandinavian scenery.
Digital business cards will be more efficient than traditional varieties
For years professionals have used printed business cards with contact details to spread awareness and build business relations. It would generally state a professional’s name, job title, phone number and email address. But with this information readily available at our fingertips via the internet, business cards have become increasingly obsolete.
Business cards are being digitally reinvented by online design company Moo. The cards will be embedded with near field communication chips that, when scanned by smartphones, will take the user directly to a professional or company’s website, portfolio and social media channels.
Digital business cards are still in development, but QR codes offer a fast and reliable alternative. Attendees can scan a QR code using their smartphones which will link them to a website or other designated channels. The codes are automatically stored on a mobile device’s memory so the user can return to the information after an event.