Unbelievably, Q1 2023 is in the bag!
The CrowdComms team has had a busy start to the year. With onsite events back in full swing in all key locations, it feels like this year is flying by at lightning speed.
As we look forward to enjoying a bit of downtime over the Easter break, it’s a good time for an event tech review to see how the year is unfolding and what lies in store for the rest of 2023 and beyond.
Hybrid and Virtual Events
And none more so than in the first 3 months of 2023! In the UK and Australia, the CrowdComms teams saw a 400% increase in onsite events compared to the same period in 2022.
That said, virtual and hybrid definitely haven’t gone away. With their ability to connect remote attendees, virtual and hybrid events are being used effectively by clients to deliver an optimal experience to their attendees.
It may be that a virtual event is a safer option for event attendees, or hybrid provides a viable choice for attendees who can’t attend events in person. Whatever the reason, virtual and hybrid events give event organisers additional options to connect their attendees to the event, and each other.
While we anticipate that onsite events will continue to dominate for the next few years, hybrid and virtual events’ flexibility, environmentally friendly engagement, immersive experience, and cost-effectiveness will see them cement their status as an expected option for future attendees.
In line with the industry’s full return to in-person events, our badge-printing kiosks continue to be in hot demand. With our kiosks booked months in advance, we have certainty that this event tech will remain the go-to option throughout 2023 for many event planners who need a fast and efficient option for their registration or welcome area check-in and badge printing.
As COVID concerns linger, touch-free tech continues to be important for many planners and attendees. CrowdComms kiosks utilise QR code scanners to help support safe badge printing. CrowdComms’ onsite teams provide additional support through regular screen cleaning during the event.
Providing a seamless connection to our kiosks is the event app! As a comprehensive and user-friendly way of accessing essential event information, we’re delighted that our event app is back on the must-have list for our clients’ in-person events.
In an ever-evolving industry, particularly over the last few years, planners rely on data to help them assess the success metrics of past events, and to plan for future events. It’s why we’ve seen a surge in demand for our seamless solutions that transfer data from event check-in to post-event survey.
With an end-to-end service, planners don’t have to worry about the data quality and security issues that can arise when using multiple 3rd party providers and solutions.
In addition to developments in our core business and industry, we always have an eye on the trends that may shape our service offering in the future:
Sustainability continues to be an important deliverable for our clients and their attendees.
With 54% of Gen Zs, and 39% of Boomers stating they’d like events for be more eco-friendly, sustainability is a key consideration for most event organisers.
And, as more environmentally conscious attendees become a key market for event planners, sustainability won’t be a nice-to-have, it will be a critical decision factor for future event delegates.
As we stated at the top, we believe this will be a key driver for the strengthening of virtual and hybrid events. For onsite events, a raft of eco-friendly measures are likely to become standard practice, from locally sourced food and drink to solar-powered venues.
CrowdComms continues to support eco-friendly and sustainable events through our virtual and hybrid solutions. For onsite events, our event app and our badge-printing kiosks minimise waste and reduce the need for disposable printed material.
We are also proud members of isla, the industry body supporting the event sector’s transition to a more sustainable future. If you’re looking for information, guidance and further ways to make your events more sustainable, take a look at their event planning software and resources focused on reducing your event’s carbon footprint.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Chat GPT’s recent media splash was another indication that AI is continuing to make inroads into our tech and our lives. Chat GPT is an AI chatbot that draws on a staggering 570 GB dataset to help write text, code, and even design images and artwork.
For event planners, predictive text platforms, like Chat GPT, can be a labour-saving tool that helps draft a whole host of communications; from marketing emails to welcome speeches, social media posts to event brand statements.
For the event itself, we expect AI will be used to create increasingly personalised and immersive experiences. This may be in the form of sophisticated networking where AI-driven platforms make targeted connections based on personalised profiles and networking objectives. AI is also likely to boost gamification with powerful VR experiences, while speaker sessions may be curated with targeted content based on sophisticated attendee profiling.
Undoubtedly, a significant element of AI development is the protection of privacy and personal data. AI depends on data access to deliver these kinds of targeted event experiences, and much like the wider world, the event industry will need to balance data protection with the desire to deliver highly personalised experiences to attendees.
Arriving in many parts of the world in 2019, including the UK and Australia, 5G ushered in a new era of connectivity, enabling faster and more reliable internet access at events.
While 5G is mainly only available in metro areas, its eventual roll-out to all areas (in relevant countries) will support an enhanced event attendee experience for all events.
Faster download times means quicker content access, the ability to deliver large videos and images to a widespread audience, plus opportunites to create new experiences such as the immersive VR we mentioned earlier.
CrowdComms’ tech is constantly being upgraded to ensure to our event apps, virtual and hybrid event platforms capitalise on network changes.
With the 5G roll-out expected to be completed by 2028, 6G is likely to launch around 2030. CrowdComms will of course be ready for 6G when it comes, but in the meantime we’ll be focusing on making sure our tech is optimised for 5G for every event in every location!
The event industry is still experiencing rapid changes, with onsite events set to re-establish their status as the preferred event type choice for many planners in 2023.
Virtual and hybrid events are here to stay, however, and will provide event organisers with valuable engagement and event delivery options throughout the year.
Looking forward, we expect to see that a range of ongoing event trends, such as sustainability and AI, will deliver further options for planners to deliver flexibility and variety to their event experience.