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Stay Ahead of the Mobile Curve: What’s Trending for 2016 Events


Posted by Lanyon on 12/10/2015

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We live in an increasingly mobile world. People are using smartphones and tablets day and night, at work and at home — and you can be sure they’re expecting to be able to use them at your next event.

In 2015, event attendees were excited to use mobile apps. They wanted the entire experience right at their fingertips, before, during and after the event. At Lanyon, we call it “the Attendee Journey™” —  describing the attendee’s user experience during every part of the event. And from the first email invite to the to the final follow up — and all the content in between — mobile event apps let you connect directly with your attendees.

In addition to using a mobile app (or maybe adding features in your mobile app) for your 2016 events, there’s more technology on the horizon that will dramatically improve the Attendee Journey at your next event.


Going into 2016, we see the top 5 mobile trends as being:
 
  1. Wearables and RFID Technology

From fitness bands to the Apple Watch, wearables have stormed the technology space — and are easily the next new “thing” for event technology.

RFID is a flexible, configurable technology currently present in badging, but we’ve only scratched the surface of what RFID tech can do in the events space. We expect RFID to expand in the next year, leveraging capabilities to include e-payments, mapping and lead retrieval.

The increase of wearables provides convenience for the attendee — we see wearables impacting the Attendee Journey in terms of receiving information: providing GPS directions before and during the event, making e-wallet transactions, receiving alerts and more.
 
  1. Technology for Event Mapping

Using geo-location through mobile phones and RFID (Hint: See trend 1 above!), you can follow attendees throughout their “physical” journey at your event. Gathering this data will provide you with insights as to how the organization and flow of your event is working for the attendee.

We see geographic heat-mapping eventually becoming huge for the events industry, as planners become more scientific about how they design their events to maximize attendee engagement.
 
  1. Augmented Reality

Have you seen Google Cardboard yet? It’s a piece of cardboard that easily folds into box-shaped goggles. You slide your phone inside after downloading an app, and you’ll be able to view almost anything, almost anywhere in the world. Oculus Rift is the same idea — and the concept of virtual or augmented reality is soon going to have a major impact on the events industry.

In the event planner’s never-ending quest to enhance user experience, augmented reality is the next place we see event tech going. For instance, what if you could take a picture of someone’s face once — and it would remember them — as well as everywhere they went during the event, for mapping and lead retrieval purposes? Pretty cool, right? It’s coming!
 
  1. Event Intelligence

Mobile apps have improved event analytics considerably in recent years — gone are the days of paper surveys and tallying data. Now that getting data about an attendee’s experience is automated in mobile event apps, the question then turns to “How can I leverage this data to improve my business?”

Analytics involves planners gaining insight into the Attendee Journey through mobile, onsite and registration experiences — all in a single place. Event intelligence goes one step further, taking that data and developing it to authentically market to the individual attendee at your event.
 
  1. Authentic Personalization

Stemming from event intelligence, personalizing your event for the individual is a tactic we see impacting the events space as personalization in technology continues to grow.

Industry expert Corbin Ball (CSP, CMP, DES, MS) predicts — and we agree — that the Attendee Journey in 2016 will include welcome notifications, directions, networking opportunities and more. We foresee this messaging being directed to the attendee at a personal level via beacon and push notifications from planners and digital marketers.
 
  1. BONUS TREND: (Holistic) Duty of Care

The more personalized your mobile event app is, the more personalized information it contains about each of your attendees. There’s a “duty of care” obligation that comes along with hosting all of this personal information, and having an app that earned VerAfied status helps you protect your attendees’ information — making for a better attendee experience, too!

Also, duty of care extends to the physical safety of your event attendees. In the case of an emergency, you can send notifications to attendees who’ve downloaded the app with the touch of a button.


Conclusion — Mobile is a whole lot more than an app.

The ultimate goal of mobile event apps is to utilize technology — one that attendees are already using —  as a tool to enable, improve and ultimately facilitate face-to-face events, making them “face-to-screen.”

Based on where we think mobile is going next year, mobile is — and will be — more than just an app for your next event. It will be the driving force behind increased personalization and care to your attendees, while gaining valuable intelligence to better design your next event.
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