Technology plays a vital role in delivering successful events. The challenge is that technology is constantly evolving, and so are consumer expectations, which makes it almost impossible for venues and event organizers to stay up to date with the latest trends.
In my role as a chief innovation officer, I often get asked what the next “big thing” is in relation to event technology. So, further to my recent post about the latest trends in event management, I’m sharing my predictions for the biggest event technology trends for 2023, as well as some suggestions for key technologies venues and event organizers should implement to improve guest experiences – both in-person and online.
Ten Event Technology Trends to Watch in 2023
1. Using Mobile Technologies at Events
One of the top event technology trends in 2023 will be a rise in native mobile technologies and mobile apps for events. The primary benefit of these technologies is that they are self-service by design, so attendees can access all the information and tools they need from the convenience of their phones, which improves their overall event experience while simultaneously reducing the dependence on venue and event staff.
Here are some mobile features venues and event organizers should consider implementing this year:
- E-Tickets and contactless check-in.
- Interactive wayfinding tools.
- In-app purchases (e.g., food, beverage, merchandise etc.).
- Real-time event updates and push notifications.
- Live audience engagement and event gamification.
2. Enhance Live Event Experiences with Virtual and Augmented Reality
According to this post from Bloomberg, the virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) market is expected to reach USD 454.73 billion by 2030. As this market continues to grow, it will also become one of the most significant event technology trends and is also changing consumer expectations about live events. So, what are the differences between virtual and augmented reality, and how can venues and event organizers leverage these technologies to deliver innovative event experiences in 2023?
Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated, three-dimensional image that creates a virtual environment. Here are some examples of how leading venues and event organizers use VR technology:
- Virtual Venue Tours – New York Knicks interactive seat map of Madison Square Garden.
- Virtual Event Experiences – Barcelona’s e-Experiences at Camp Nou Football Stadium.
- Virtual Demonstrations at Trade Shows – Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) partnered with Business Events Australia to create an award-winning virtual trade show experience.
Augmented Reality (AR) combines a simulated image with the user’s real-world view. Here are some examples of how leading venues and event organizers use AR technology:
- Interactive Installations – Coca-Cola’s AR experience at the FIFA World Cup in Zurich.
- Holograms and Avatars – Abba’s latest tour, Voyage, uses digital avatars to create a “live” music event experience.
- Social Media – Snapchat AR lenses and filters from NFL partners reached 101 million impressions during the 2021 Super Bowl.
3. Events in the Metaverse
The Metaverse is a three-dimensional digital space that uses VR, AR and other technologies to create lifelike experiences online. While this technology may seem quite futuristic, this post from Gartner estimates that 25% of people will spend at least one hour per day in the Metaverse by 2026.
Forward-thinking businesses are already exploring ways to host events in the Metaverse and we will see this emerge as a major event technology trend in the latter part of 2023. If you are wondering what types of events can be hosted in the metaverse, here are some recent examples:
- Metaverse Fashion Week.
- iHeartMedia’s program of live music concerts in iHeartLand within Fortnite.
- Degree’s Metaverse Marathon.
4. Artificial Intelligence and Automation
Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are commonplace in our everyday lives. As noted in this post from Fortune Business Insights, this market is expected to grow from USD 387.45 billion in 2022 to USD 1,394.30 billion by 2029. As a result, these technologies are fast becoming key event technology trends. Here are some primary examples of AI and automation you can expect to see at events in 2023:
- Facial recognition software.
- Voice-activated tools.
- Personalized preferences and recommendations – Especially for networking and hosted buyer programs at tradeshows and exhibitions.
- Automated live language translations.
- Smart floor planning tools.
- Automated task management for event planners.
5. Tracking Environmental Impact with Sustainability Platforms
Sustainability is a primary focus for venues and event organizers worldwide, with many pledging to reduce their carbon emissions by joining initiatives such as the Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge. As a result, sustainability management platforms are quickly becoming a leading event technology trend with many businesses implementing new systems to measure the environmental impact of their events so they can provide critical reports to their staff and stakeholders.
6. Interactive Risk Management Platforms
Risk management platforms will continue to be one of the most important event technology trends this year as venues and event organizers seek new ways of tracking issues and reporting incidents to keep their staff, customers and suppliers safe. Leading businesses are also adopting interactive applications that integrate with Google Maps, so they can pinpoint issues and reduce ongoing risks.
7. Accessible Event Experiences
The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1.3 billion people (1 in 6) experience a significant disability worldwide. That said, until now, venues and event organizers have not placed enough emphasis on the importance of ensuring all aspects of events are fully accessible.
Throughout 2023, there will be a big push for venues and event organizers to create inclusive experiences for all event staff and attendees. As a result, new technologies like the Sociability App are emerging to help organizers and attendees find and assess the accessibility of venues and event spaces.
8. Big Data
Big data refers to massive data sets that can be analyzed to reveal patterns, trends and associations, especially relating to human behavior. From an events perspective, venues and event organizers capture so much data from attendees — from the moment someone purchases tickets or registers for an event to the time they enter and exit the venue, and even when they buy merchandise or food and beverages during the event. Each of these touchpoints and transactions involves data and, if captured and analyzed correctly, this information can provide invaluable insights into customer behaviors to inform commercial decisions.
Throughout 2023, there will be a trend toward venues and event organizers implementing new technologies to cleanse and analyze their existing data sets and to support best practice approaches for capturing and interpreting data in the future.
9. Hybrid Events Support Flexible Work Arrangements
While many are enjoying the return of in-person events, the change in corporate culture and ongoing flexible work arrangements prompted by COVID have had a lasting impact on meetings and events. As a result, hybrid event technologies will continue to be a major event technology trend throughout 2023.
Over the next twelve months, venue and event organizers will need to continue to find new and innovative ways of providing engaging content for online attendees by incorporating on-demand content, virtual networking events, and smaller/micro-event formats to allow greater collaboration.
10. Technology Ecosystems and Integrations
Together with the rise in flexible working arrangements has come the need for real-time information, as teams need to work more collaboratively in remote settings. So, my final prediction for event technology trends in 2023 is the rise in integrations as venues and events businesses look to build effective technology ecosystems.
From venue management solutions to accounting packages, marketing systems, sales management tools and CRMs, successful businesses will start to build integrations between all the systems they use across their organization. Effective integrations allow data to sync between systems so that all staff and stakeholders can access current and reliable information quickly and easily — no matter which system they are using or where they are working from.
How the Worldwide Innovation Lab Will Develop New Solutions in Response to Event Technology Trends
Our Worldwide Innovation Lab initiative aims to deliver state-of-the-art solutions in response to emerging event technology trends. To do this, we will engage key global customers and industry partners to gain their insights and develop new technologies that will allow businesses across the globe to implement best-practice approaches to event and venue management.
You can also email email@example.com to register your interest in joining The Lab
by Steve Mackenzie