By Paul Campbell, founder and director of The Purple Patch Group.

Technology is not only changing the way we communicate and interact with friends and family, but it is also rapidly altering how businesses build and sustain relationships with their audiences. Digital tools that can enhance customer engagement are now more accessible and affordable than ever, opening up exciting new possibilities for corporate events planners and conference organisers.

At Purple Patch – The London Events Company, we have seen the way technology has dramatically transformed the event landscape over the past few years. What once seemed like science fiction is now a reality – bringing brands and their customers closer together through the use of advanced digital tools.

However, the core principles of running a successful event remain the same and traditional methods do not have to be abandoned completely in order to use new ideas. There is a balance to be found and below we go into more detail about how you use tech to drive engagement at your next event.

Virtual/Augmented reality – The Future of event engagement?

Where presentations have traditionally been created and presented using 2D technology such as Adobe, the arrival of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) has transformed the ways in which key messages can be delivered.

Where a standard presentation requires the audience to transform the images they see on the screen into relatable ideas, VR does most of the legwork. The technology creates an immersive experience that enables the viewer to interact directly with the product. Each audience member interprets and understands the information in their own unique way and VR allows them to do that on their own terms.

AR works on the basis of merging together the real world with computer-generated content. Where VR is currently breaking down the walls of what immersive technology can offer, AR is seen as the next stage that will allow consumers to interact with products within their immediate environment.

Both of these technologies allow you to widen your audience to connect with them wherever they are based. Whether it’s at live conferences or via online webinars, not only do they enable you to add that all-important wow factor, but it can be done without significantly increasing costs in the process.


Chatbots – The Future of event communications?

Chatbots are being used by larger brands online and they are now being implemented offline for use at events to capture attendees and audiences. Apps were initially seen as a way to further enhance events but relying on people to download them is proving a difficult barrier to overcome.

Implementing chatbots for events not only allows conference organisers to sell more tickets but also increase audience interaction by serving as a personal assistant on their phone. Larger events and conferences will find this to be particularly useful as it can act as a guide to help attendees maximise their time spent at the venue.

Before the event even begins messenger chatbots can help to drive awareness. From exploring the venue to discovering more about the speakers and the themes, delegates are able to engage and proceed to purchase a ticket without being navigated elsewhere.

Once attendees arrive at the event you can help them discover more through the use of parametric QR codes. Thanks to companies like Facebook, QR codes are now much easier to use than in years past, serving as a direct link between the digital and real world. Positioning them around your event teases guests to try something new – be it unearthing new information, taking part in seminars, or venturing into fresh territory.

Feedback is key to understanding if your event was a success and chatbots allow you to communicate with attendees and collect key analytics. This can be anything from seeing how many people used the bot to discover the information they requested and if they experienced any issues.

By leveraging this easy-to-use technology you seamlessly bring customers from the real world into the digital, significantly increasing the way they remember and engage with your brand and events.

Facial recognition – The Future of event data?

This biometric software can be implemented across several departments in any event, enhancing the attendees’ experience and providing the organiser with invaluable information. This can start from the moment they arrive at the venue, removing the need for barcodes and registration booths. The technology allows you to create self-check-in booths, reducing the time it takes to enter the venue to a matter of seconds.

The ability to capture attendees ‘micro-expressions’ at events is now seen as invaluable to conference organisers and corporate event planners. Rather than waiting until the end of the event to gather feedback, facial recognition technology allows you to collect it as it happens. If you discover a drop off in delegate interaction, changes can be made immediately to ensure engagement levels remain high.

Creating a personalised experience for attendees through facial recognition technology allows salespeople to focus on building relationships that ultimately lead to conversions. When attendees visit your stand or booth it helps you to track visitors, without having to scan badges or ask names. The window available to engage and win over prospective customers is always short, but facial recognition technology allows your sales team to make the most of the time they have.

Final thoughts

These are just three examples of how you can integrate technology into your next event. The options available to conference organisers and corporate event planners continue to increase with the exponential growth of the digital world. These are exciting times not only for consumers but businesses of all sizes who are willing to utilise the tech at their disposal and reap the many benefits it offers.

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Paul Campbell is the founder and director of the Purple Patch Group, a business that started life as an event agency in London over ten years ago. Through years of live events experience on both sides of the fence, managing them, and sitting front row, Paul and fellow director Holly has worked with brands across the globe. Through Purple Patch Group they developed corporate events and conferences for brands and companies who are looking for a reliable, but innovative event agency!

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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