CREATIVE WAYS TO BOOST EVENT ENGAGEMENT

Hear from industry insider Cassius Wright about how to use technology to boost event engagement.

The incredible pace at which technology evolves can be a tremendous help to those of us planning events. It can speed up guest check-in, automate silent auctions and even interact directly with guests on an individual level. With so much possible, what can we expect to see more of from the innovators in the live event industry this season?

SOCIAL MEDIA - FASTER, FUNNIER, LOUDER

Look for further integration of social media into your branded and social events this season, and more creatively than a live Twitter or Instagram feed and your event hashtag. Curation has been on the rise for a few years, but with wearable technology it's set to explode in popularity.

Consider content curation platforms like Postano or Brickflow for photo and video-centric social media to not only capture guest content, but also create stories with it by dragging/dropping it into a feed you display live. That keeps relevant content on top, removes anything offensive and ensures your brand stays on message throughout the entire event - all while encouraging guests' contribution more by involving them in the story.

There will be a giant leap in guest-generated, first-person perspective content at large events once Google Glass, Apple's iWatch and other wearables begin contributing higher quality video and still images, complete with captions and hashtags. If you want your content to go viral, there's no better way than to use genuine, authentic media contributed by your audience.

I personally prefer Postano, which offers expert service, and even a remote technician to operate the service throughout your event. This allows you time to do what you do best - run events - while they do what they do best - capture amazing social content on your behalf.

INTERACTIVE ENVIRONMENTS - CUSTOMIZED, LOCATION-BASED

This is the year of indoor location-driven technology thanks to iBeacon, Apple's hot new Bluetooth notification project.

Essentially, iBeacon lets users send notifications to mobile devices based on their proximity to a specific transmitter, known as a beacon. iBeacon is more accurate than GPS, can be used anywhere, uses very little energy and is compatible with most Bluetooth 4.0 mobile devices. Expect incredible marketing initiatives based on physical location in venues, stadiums, malls and department stores; Coca-Cola plans to use it for the upcoming World Cup, while Macy's and Apple are deploying it in stores already.

Also look for interactive displays capable of knowing what you physically visit in the event space, if you've been there before and how many times. From a marketing perspective this is vital because walking through the event space itself just became valuable, actionable market data indicating depth of interest. That lets me send an overview to first-time visitors, but detailed reports to the guy who triggered my iBeacon eight times in one day, and all automatically.

Those lucky individuals attending this year's Super Bowl found iBeacons all over Times Square, as well as the stadium itself, informing them of deals, NFL merchandise at discount rates and even which concession stands had the shortest lines. That's a huge amount of info served and captured very specifically, in real-time, and simply because people happened to walk by. Talk about powerful!

We've always wanted a more effective method of individualizing events for our guests, and for capturing that data as a usable metric. We're finally entering an era technologically that just might let that happen as experiences, locations, interests and content begin to converge with one another.

No matter where you look in the live event space, technology is taking hold and pushing the boundaries to the point it almost seems like events themselves are developing a mind of their own. Add to that real-time feedback and information capture using wearable technologies and it's easy to imagine the IQ of your next event going way up!

Cassius Wright is the Meeting and Expo Director at Venue One, an Event Creative Venue. He divides his time between technology in Chicago, and beaches in the Caribbean.