Before we go in too deep, let’s look at the numbers
- A survey report published by ARtillry has claimed that by 2022, it is expected that the global augmented reality ad revenues will top 2 billion USD.
- According to Adobe’s ‘8th Annual Digital Trend’ report, 31% of enterprises said that AI is very much on their agenda, for the next 1 year.
- In a recent study conducted by PwC, 72% of business leaders have termed AI as a “business advantage”.
- The global event management software market was valued at $6.4 billion in 2017 and is estimated to be $11.06 billion by 2022. (MarketsandMarkets)
These seemingly disparate data points have an important story to tell, and it’s this. In less than ten years, the event tech market will nearly double. And the dominant technologies during this period will be Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Augmented reality (AR).
AR and AI; Already Integral to Our Lives
Both AR and AI have long passed the technological event horizon and are now an integral part of our lives, even if we may not always recognize it. For example…
- Apps like Snapchat have popularized AR through filters that users can custom create and experiment with their appearances.
- Pokemon GO – an AR-based game was an international smash, with more than 150 million players.
- Digital assistants like Siri and Google Assistant are built on a bedrock of AI, as are most mature chatbots.
It’s clear that AR and AI are both already mainstream, even though the event industry is still playing catch-up. That, however, is about to change, and it can be confidently predicted that these two technologies will dominate event tech over the next year and more. Let’s see how the industry can leverage both AR and AI and provide transformative experiences for attendees while generating more revenue.
Augmented Reality at Events
Before we discuss the “how”, let’s talk a little about the “why”. As in, why use AR at events? For one thing, it’s fun. “Fun” is that x-factor that makes an event stand out. Even staid, corporate affairs stand out when they are fun. AR can also make the event experience more convenient, providing guidance and help attendees in dozens of ways, small and large. Here are some of our favorites.
1: AR to simplify indoor/outdoor navigation at events: AR can be used to guide event attendees to exhibitor and sponsor booths; session halls; washrooms; cafeterias etc. Some AR-based apps work like this- event attendees can scan QR codes, unlock information bubbles, set destinations and follow visual landmarks overlaid on their mobile devices.
2: AR to add more ‘Fun’ to events gamification: AR can add more fun to events gamification, entertain attendees, educate in a fun way and raise the engagement.
Event organizers can create popular games like Scavenger Hunt, built on mobile apps. AR can help attendees find and scan QR codes to earn points which will determine their positions on leaderboards and decide the winners.
Event organizers can use AR to create games like Pokemon Go where attendees use their mobile device cameras to locate and catch virtual objects like Pokemon, collect points and lead the points table.
The ultimate aim of AR events gamification apps is to motivate attendees to cover most of the important events’ booths so that they can engage with exhibitors, delegates and other attendees.
3: AR to reduce space problem at event venues: Events like automobile trade shows need a lot of floor space to showcase different models. It may not be possible for event organizers to showcase all the variants of any particular automobile model because of limited space at events venues. AR can solve this problem.
Some AR-based apps work like this- event attendees can scan QR codes at the venue and see 3D images of the same model in a variety of colours, eliminating the need for multiple cars of the same model at the show floor.
4: AR to bolster events promotional activities: Recently, organizers of ‘Stockholm Art Week’ used AR in an innovative way to promote their event. They put scannable symbols on display at prominent places like railway stations or bus stops. On scanning those symbols, people could see select art pieces from the event on their mobile devices.
5: AR to help fund charitable causes: AR can help fund charitable causes like the conservation of endangered animals or climate change. Organizers of such events can use AR-based apps to create fun games, engage more attendees and encourage them to donate for the cause.
One simple example can be like this, on scanning a QR code an attendee can adopt a virtual one-horned rhino and make donations to WWF.
Artificial Intelligence at Events
AI is the event tech of the moment. AI is used to offer hyper-personalized attendee experiences aimed at providing more meaningful interactions that satisfy attendees, delegates, exhibitors and sponsors alike.
1: AI to anticipate logistical requirements for events: AI can recognize patterns in data and make logical decisions. For example, on the basis of data like the numbers of registrations, AI-based apps can anticipate logistical requirements like food, beverages, and seating arrangements for attendees.
AI can make such decisions based on data gathered from the records of previous events. Also, on-site demands can generate real-time decisions.
2: AI to offer hyper-personalized recommendations to attendees: AI is bringing a sea change in ways exhibitors can recommend products or services to event attendees.
AI-based apps can gather data from social media accounts of people who have registered for events. Fear not about data breaches as only those data are gathered which are publicly shared by event attendees on their social media accounts.
After analyzing the data, AI can recommend keynote speakers, sessions, exhibitor-booths, meetings etc. to event attendees.
If event attendees find that recommendations are useless, they can reject them. Rejection data points again help AI-based apps to give new sets of recommendations to attendees.
3: AI to hold engaging conversations with attendees: Smart chatbots or AI-enabled chatbots have immense potential to drive engagement at events. Chatbots can answer attendees’ queries, engage in small talk, assist in registration, schedule meetings and collect feedbacks.
Event organizers can use AI-enabled chatbots to hold natural conversations at scale and save time and money in the process.
Smart chatbots are not smart if chatbot trainers don’t train them regularly. Trained chatbots can analyze sentiments of people on the other end and offer extended services. Human agents can take the charge of conversations if chatbots are unable to answer queries. Human agents can decide whether to take the charge of conversations based on signals like confidence score. Thus, human resources can be engaged in activities that require some special skill and grunt work is taken care of by chatbots.
4: AI-enabled email marketing apps to raise sales conversion rate: Persistent, personalized and polite follow-up emails sent at regular intervals can raise sales conversion rates.
AI-enabled email marketing apps can send emails with registration links to leads with personalized email content and generate intelligent auto-responses. Clutter-free follow-up emails have clear call-to-action buttons to help leads make decisions.
Email marketing apps can also help to get in touch with old leads, drop emails to referred leads and contact new leads with equal ease. At any time, event managers can review mail threads and take charge of communications.
5: AI to help enhance events social media reach: Integration of AI-enabled chatbots to social media messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp can help event marketers enhance events social media reach. Attendees don’t have to download events apps to access chatbots. They can access chatbots via social media apps.
AR and AI can add a competitive edge to events. As the benefits are clearly visible, a lot of investment is going into AR and AI.
Write to us as we are curious to know how you are going to implement event techs like AR and AI to your next events.
Stay tuned for next blogs on the latest developments in the events industry.