Every year, technology always has something new to bring to the table—continuously changing the way we experience meetings and events (M&E). While last year saw the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), chatbots, and more, 2020 is looking to be a time for tools like facial recognition and big data, among others.

With all these transformations underway, it’s no surprise that the events industry is experiencing an impressive boom. True enough, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the demand for event planners to jump to 11% in the coming decade. With that in mind, it’s clear that more and more brands are looking to events to bring campaigns and ideas to life.

So what exactly is driving this progress? Let’s take a look at some of the top M&E trends to watch out for this 2020.

Data Analytics

As of late, Forbes reports that 53% of companies are now starting to adopt data analytics. What was once reserved for tech bigwigs is being used across numerous industries—including the world of M&E. Maryville University lists some of data analytics’ key uses, such as forecasting, predictive modeling, and data visualization. Not only do its uses help businesses stay ahead of the curve, it also helps you make informed decisions based on insights. In events planning, this means you can study data from past events to make your next one more successful. Observing patterns in attendee behavior, guest preferences, and demographics can help you determine how to execute certain aspects of the event—whether it’s the itinerary or venue.

Facial Recognition

From the rapidly expanding field of AI now comes facial recognition. While Techie Experts reports how this tool has been known to stir privacy issues, it can’t be denied that facial recognition can be incredibly value-adding if used properly. Lately, more event planners have been applying facial recognition tech to automated check-ins and event security, as it’s able to identify and document each guest in attendance.

Event Diagramming

One of the trickiest parts of event is planning the layout, but this problem can be solved by event diagramming. This software helps organizers visualize the actual setup of the venue—from its booths and displays, to the very walls and stages. Instead of relying on a rough blueprint (which may not be so accurate or easy to picture), planners can digitally alter the layout as they please. This year, Techjury informs how providers are looking into cloud support for diagramming software, so that files can be viewed by all parties (such as the client, suppliers, and planners) for easier collaboration.

Virtual Reality

Like AI, the concept of Virtual Reality (VR) is nothing new—having been used in video games for the longest time. This time, event organizers are using it to let attendees join interactive tours, witness virtual product demonstrations, and even allow people to experience the event without going to the location. Anheuser-Busch’s VR tour of the St. Louis Brewery in Missouri, NRMA Insurance’s VR car simulator for road safety, and South by Southwest’s live VR workshops are good examples of this tool in action.

Projection Mapping

Project mapping is a byproduct of augmented reality (AR), or the kind of technology that allows the projection of 3D imagery onto surfaces. In events, AR is a cost-effective way to create optical illusions on anything—be it structures or stages. The result is a highly immersive experience that customers get to enjoy. While not an actual event, Southwest Airlines did an AR collaboration with Discovery Channel to celebrate Shark Week, giving passengers a chance to “swim with sharks” from the comfort of their airplane seat. In an age where the success of your event is determined by its share-ability on social media, the “wow” factor invoked by AR is much appreciated.

Summary

As you can see, meetings and events are now more dynamic than ever. More than just simple gatherings, they now serve as an opportunity for tech and brands to come together and craft immersive experiences for all parties involved. It’s sure to be an exciting year ahead.

Caroline Jameson is a Brooklyn-based freelance digital marketer and producer with a specialty for events in the music industry. When she’s not busy putting together shows concerts, and activations, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.

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