Last week I attended the fantastic TechFest2015 organised by William Thomson of Gallus Events. The day long event, for event professionals held in Excel London, was mix of keynote speakers and panel discussions about the importance, relevance and need for technology in the world of events.
Attendees were encouraged to interact with the speakers and other guests with the help of the audience participation technology either on the event app or specific tablets provided during panel sessions by exhibitors. However the relaxed feel to the day meant that delegates could to wander round and play with the technology provided by exhibitors rather than staying in the main room.
Interaction was highly encouraged.
Following the day my mind was buzzing about what I had seen, heard and experienced. However one of the biggest take homes for me was the connection that all event technology had to make with the events audience.
What's the point of your app or event tech?
The overiding message of the event was to think about your audience and what the benefits would be for them. Far too often companies and developers forget about this and create an event app or piece of technology that suits their own corporate purpose. On the day we heard stories of thousands of pounds being spent on technology with no thought to the audience. This meant the tech was disregarded by the audience as it wasn't going to benefit them during the event.
"Before doing anything else #EventsProfs need to observe people in the real world."
As events managers we have a responsibility to creat experiences that will enhance our guests. If we aren't doing this we're not doing a good job. The same goes for the event tech that we want to create. Think about the user, think about what they want and how they are going to benefit from the tech.
Know your audience.
Another important message is the need for interaction. Interaction on technology amongst guests with speakers, event managers and each other.
Technology allowing us to interact has been present some time now thanks to the power of social media. The days of being a silent attendee, only allowed to speak during the Q&A sessions that inevitably get cut short before you've had the chance to ask your question have gone.
However as much as I love social media during events, the draw back of just relying on it is that it's harder to get data on who is interacting and what they are doing. You might miss all the tweets, updates and conversations. There are some analytics tools that come with social media platforms however nothing will be able to monitor what's going on like a bespoke app will.
On top of analytics with your own app you have the ability to brand it in line with your event and your company. This is something you can't do as easily on Social Media. Branding at your event is extremely important as this all feeds into your audience experience and recognition of your company or event.
Whatever you create for your event you have to make it easy to get hold of and easy to use.
Simplicity is key.
Again companys can spend loads developing an all singing all dancing app for their event however if their end users can't find the app or can't navigate easily around it then they will soon get bored or even fed up and stop using the tech. This will all feed into their overall experience
Smart phone technology and tablets are pretty much part of most peoples lives these days and we are using them all the time. Use this to your advantage and create something that can be incorporated easily into peoples lives…or on their phones!
Lastly, don't alienate those attendees and guests who haven't the right technology or who prefer the old shool ways. Keep them in mind and allow them to have an alternative to your tech.
Making your event accessible for all means catering for all needs.
This goes back to knowing your audience
Over to you...
Think about the events that you have attended. Was there any technology or app that stood out for you? What's the best thing that you have seen at an event and how did it benefit your event experience?
Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.