“Tech” has become the buzz word for the experiential industry in recent times, but how do we enhance and amplify the experiences we create for both the consumers who get to attend and the wider audience who hear about it on social media and want to like it and share it?
Innovation, and especially ‘tech”, is something we are very passionate and excited about at The Producers. It’s in our DNA. This is why our second Breakfast Briefing will focus upon “Experience Tech”, bringing together some of the most exciting Tech companies and offerings and exploring the value and future of tech.
To help us get in the zone, we have had a look at the latest Tech trends that everyone in our industry (and outside it) is talking about and where they can fit into our experiential mix.
This is top of the list because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a robot? But the questions is how will they enhance experiences and events and avoid just being a gimmick?
One role for robots to play is around all about creating a fun way of engaging consumers. As experience designers, we are always trying to communicate multiple messages and content at events and robots could enhance attendees experience by delivering content in an interactive way with both pre-programmed and intuitive responses.
Roles and infrastructure such as hosts, wayfinding, registration and info points can all be delivered by robots, allowing us to customise the brand experience in real time.
Social Media integration and sharing, from photo booths to streaming live on Facebook or Periscope, can all be delivered through robots and will significantly enhance the consumer experience.
In addition to this, robots can be used together with customer info through their cameras and interactive displays, by scanning QR or barcodes, RFID chips and creating databases.
But the really exciting stuff is already being theorised by the likes of Elon Musk and his work on neural linking or brain-computerization would offer the potential to change the very nature of how our internal processes are communicated externally.
Currently, robots (and drones) are still controlled manually through a smartphone or wearable, remotely. By 2050, this will seem a clunky and unnecessary process. In the future, we would only have to think about an item, let’s say a piece of content we want to view or an item in a menu, and it would be created and delivered to us in the way we like it, no manual interaction required.
The big buzz right now. We have all seen it the movies (AI / Resident Evil / iRobot / Westworld / Terminator), but AI is here and already a part of our daily lives, but what can it offer the events industry?
Chatbots (a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet) are already in use. Who hasn’t found themselves unwittingly thinking that they are talking online to a person only to discover it’s actually a BOT? But, experts are predicting that artificially intelligent chatbots will be the norm in 2050.
Pre-programmed and intuitive responses offer a great opportunity for live experience designers to create a more personal event experience which is driven solely by the consumer with multiple story or engagement lines able to run throughout one experience. But. a word of caution… With industry leaders such as Elon Musk voicing their concerns around artificial intelligenceand the IBM reporting that it expects cognitive computing platform ‘Watson’ will reach over one billion people by the end of this year, how concerned do we really need to be about AI?
3. Intelligent facial recognition software
Already in use in both events and conferencing, the use of deep learning algorithms allows customer data to be shared and reacted to in real time, making what can be an interpersonal experience seamless and constructive for all parties.
With the ability to measure everything from visit time, what elements interested each consumer, how they like their food and drink and what content get an emotional reaction, this software, together with predictive analytics, will allow you to predict what your consumers want, before they ask for it. The event feedback loop will be instantaneous, meaningful and inherently implementable.
4. Augmented Reality
It’s been around for a while but with advancements in tech design we are now edging closer to truly blending the real and virtual words.
Theglobal phenomenon of Pokémon Go has catapulted AR to the forefront of experiential “tech”, with every major company in the world interested or involved in its development and application across platforms and brands.
At the moment, our physical and digital worlds are, for the most part, separate entities. AR has the power to merge the two by overlaying our daily lives with a digital experience.
AR’s power will ultimately lie in the gamification of experiences and how the most basic of events can be transformed with live interactive experiences that can bring people together in a shared experience.
5. Smart Devices and connected living
Experts predict that by 2050, almost every object from toothbrushes to our homes will be intelligent, connected and designed to anticipate and respond to user’s needs.
The application for experiences will be massive, allowing experience designers to create personalised experiences, touch-points, signage, directions, menus, content and messaging plans that can be sent to consumers devices in real time. This ‘Smart’ way of working will remove the time-consuming manual elements of event planning, scheduling, communications and logistics that would require a huge number of man hours to develop and deliver and create a more streamlined and immersive experience for consumers.
6. Virtual Reality
This one shows no sign of slowing up. The struggle has always been the quality of content and experience, as well as being a very individual experience vs. shared experience – so how will new advancements help overcome these hurdles?
In contrast to AR, VR promises to take users to an entirely alternative space and time. The challenge up to now has been tethering, making the experience feel clunky, however, with new untethered versions now available, in the future, there will be no barrier to immersion. Coupled with Haptic technology, which will continue to advance (experts predict that by 2050 this addition to VR will be widespread), it will mean that VR will become a truly immersive experience allowing us to feel as well as see and hear the experience.
With Facebook’s recently announced social VR programme, Spaces, the future could see experiences being delivered fully in the virtual world with no need for physical spaces or proximity.
So, in summary, whatever the future of “experience tech” holds, it is clear that there will be endless exciting opportunities for the experience industry to explore, embrace and help shape. The challenge will be to keep focused on delivering events where tech enhances the customer experience and doesn’t deliver tech just for the sake of tech.
- BBC.co.uk – CES 2019