Editor’s note: Scott Frankel’s expertise in technology, and his willingness to share his knowledge with our industry, is remarkable. It has been an honor to work with—and learn from—him. He has taught sessions at the show, and he has facilitated some of the most technical of feats for our awards programs and opening general sessions. It’s my pleasure to have Scott talk about the future of event technology in this State of the Industry issue, and for those who want to hear more from him in 2022, be sure to register for The Special Event show in Anaheim this coming spring. —Kathleen
In 2022, you will continue to see the evolution of hybrid events. The tricky thing here is that the term hybrid is somewhat ambiguous. It’s my belief that if you were to ask 100 planners what hybrid means, you will get 50 different (and probably correct) answers. Hybrid events continue to evolve. One might define a hybrid event as bringing in external speakers through a stream to play in front of an in-person audience. The same goes for streaming out a presenter at an in-person event to an external audience—and every combination thereof!
Planning a hybrid event is a safety net for planners, of course. If you are planning an in-person event and there is a pandemic resurgence (or honestly any other occurrence that might hinder attendance at an in-person meeting), your solution must be hybrid or virtual. It’s much easier and cost-effective if you plan for hybrid even if you don’t use it, as opposed to trying to build it in at the last minute.
I also believe that session/slide recording of content will make a comeback. At Animatic Media, our Conference-On-Demand service of onsite slide recording with post-event access has seen an increase of over 40% in the past few months. By doing this, planners can make content available for attendees who didn’t make the trip to the in-person event or can enjoy more content they may have missed onsite due to overlapping schedules.
I feel the next “big thing” for events will be Augmented Reality or what we are calling “Enhanced Content.” Using phones and other smart devices, delegates can hold them up to various elements around an event that will superimpose enhanced content. This content may be on screens in a session room, monitors around the event, printed show graphics and signage, as well as exhibit booth materials. Some common uses are linking to premier sponsor websites, links to a presenter’s LinkedIn account, and even video playback.
This is a two-step win as there are sponsorship and content revenue opportunities for show management as well as more of a “touchless” environment to promote sustainability (limiting the amount of printing waste), as well as benefits in keeping “touch points” more hygienic.
As far as COVID’s future impact on the industry, you will see a sensitivity for procedures to protect staff, attendees, and speakers with health “passports.” You may see more integration of automated temperature testing with notifications to show management, as well as touchless on-site registration.
My greatest hope in 2022 is everyone will be able to adapt to this new environment. I am hopeful that there will be a new sense of appreciation which will manifest into amazing service provided by industry vendors. I hope this pushes us to think more creatively and be more proactive in developing new methods. And of course, I hope that as we win the battle against COVID, corporate travel bans are lifted and the industry will boom once again.