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50 Tends Effecting the MICE Industry in 2014 3. Technology

In 2014, there was an outstanding convergence trend compared to previous years. In the beginning of 2014, MICE event was beginning to appear as fully digital, and the apps and other advanced technologies are fully integrated and embedded across the exhibition. Marketers were experiencing their busiest time to cope with this trend of convergence. They increased their investments on technology convergence sectors such as augmented reality or 3D projection mapping that are non only sufficient to attract visitor’s attentions, but also are reusable constantly. They were also obsessed with wow factors, which are continuously impressing visitors while affecting positively on the brand images.

At the same time, marketers couldn’t help striving to improve the efficiency and reduce the costs, which required them to bring up with brand new strategies to introduce advanced technologies with high efficiency ensured. To this end, they had designers in the early stages of the exhibition preparation, so that they can design the venue to their intentions, while having the ‘multi-disciplinary team’ in operation for a year. As a result, in 2014 there were many exhibitions were hosted based on integrated brand campaigns. Global Experience Specialists (GES), a world class event marketing agency also focused on the trend of convergence introduced in the MICE industry. The company also released its annual list of 50 trends effecting 2014 in the four segments of budget and planning, marketing, technology and design. In this article, we discuss the GES’s list of trends, and how events in MICE industry can cope with these trends to improve the effectiveness of the event operation. Third article is about ‘Technology.’

Contents

1. Budget and Planning
2. Marketing
3. Technology
4. Design

3. Technology

An amount time and energy have been committed to application developments in IT industries for the past few years, and now marketers are focusing on technologies covering all event-relevant activities ranging from event registration through meeting scheduling and virtual community, to social media integration. In lights of this, George Hines, CIO of GES said, “to create a smart platform making the customer experiences richer, technologies are being integrated.”

Super Wi-fi
Super Wi-fi technology, which have recently been approved by U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), features high speed and high reach (more than 5 miles). Super Wi-Fi is also tested in Korea through some test project commissioned by municipalities and broadcasting companies. If this technology is commercialized, significant changes are expected according to experts. If super Wi-Fi technologies are integrated to MICE events, the wi-fi bandwidth will significantly increase and thus several marketing techniques come to their existence at exhibitions and conferences.

NFC 2.0
Near field communication (NFC) technology has facilitated the use of smart devices at many recent MICE events. The use of NFC technology allows visitors to register quickly, streamlining the registration process while the device bump allows individuals exchange and share data more conveniently. exhibitors can also monitor the number of visitors in real time while conveniently scanning the sales lead of their booth visitors.

3D Projection Add-ons
When advanced technologies are applied to the exhibition, the visitors’ experience become richer. 3D projection can be an example, which has recently been widely used for various marketing activities and ads. If you want to show visitors the internal space of your new car, then you can show them the 3D video on screen and the visitors can experience the internal space by seeing the screens without physically testing the car or hand out the brochures.

Augmented Reality
The times of QR codes are gone, and days of augmented reality begins. Augmented reality has a broader range of applications compared to QR code, so it is widely adopted by exhibitions. GES also provided Tyson, an American company processing and marketing meat products, a special marketing tools utilizing augmented reality, so that the customers can experience the food products without providing real food products, which are difficult to handle. The experience through augmented reality often provide a more interesting experience to the visitors.

Charging as an Experience
If marketers have focused on the accessibility and convenience of the visitors so far, then now they should swift their focus to improve the quality of visitors’ experiences. One of the feasible way to improve the quality of experience is to have a post-session after the primary session ends. Through this post-session, visitors can ask questions themselves to the speakers and get answers. In addition, at the post session, you can schedule meetings for further discussion with visitors and speakers.

3D Printing
3D printers which have been a dream technology is now available at stationary stores. 3D printing is also widely used in MICE industry to provide customized giveaways or a miniatures provide users a product experience. One can expect more positive and direct feedbacks from visitors if providing 3D printing-based experiences.

Smart Gaming
Gamification which has been spotlighted as a useful marketing tool has recently evolved into an advanced level. IBM adopted gamification for their new product exhibition at the Pulse Conference. VIP customers were issued RFID-embedded VIP certificates could get points whenever they enter designated areas or sessions at the conference, and the people earned the largest points were awarded with gifts. The IBM’s strategy was so successful and smart that the customers can enjoy the conference as if they are playing a game, while IBM can identify the customers traffics automatically.

Transparent Screens
Transparent screens allow visitors to see the real product located in the background of the screen while referencing the descriptions on the screen. Don Whittaker, a VP business development at GES summarized the advantage of this technology, “Using transparent screen, you can provide customers with multi-dimensional product experiences, which makes them focus on your product all throughout the demonstration.”

Google Glass
Recently, marketers in event industry keep their eyes on any advancements with Google Glass, since they believe the technology can bring innovative changes in exhibition industry. Google Glass, which is called a wearable computer is expected to further upgrade the visitors’ experiences by providing them totally virtualized experiences.

Oculus Rift
Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset product designed for 3D games are likely to blow an innovative changes into the exhibition industry. One pharmaceutical company adopted Oculus Rift headsets to provide visitors a virtual experience of certain diseases. The future of this product is promising. The latest version released in 2013 is compatible with Android smart devices, and the total weight is significantly reduced.

The Snapchat Effect
Snapchat is a new messaging technology that eliminates a message 10 seconds after the recipient checks it. It sounds something like the contemporary messaging service, but automated elimination of messages is something new and smart in terms of users’ entertainment and privacy. For example this technology is a hit with teenagers in United States. The strategies of Snapchat can also be integrated to exhibitions and conferences. For instance, you can host a time-limited or surprise events to provide giveaways on certain time at certain place using this strategy.

Living Social Walls
At the Canadian International Auto Show, Chevrolet introduced a twitter-integrated vending machine service. Visitors can get a miniature car from the vending machine if they upload a tweet. This Chevrolet’s strategy was intelligent in that it can reduce the human resource investment, and that the vending machine was unique enough to attract visitors’ attention.

App Driving Experiences
Event apps are evolving from a simple tool notifying the event schedules, to a smart marketing tool that makes the visitors’ experience richer and increases the interaction at sessions. Citi who sponsored the 50th anniversary concert of Rolling Stones prepared a series of events to entertain the fans of the rock band. The audiences could watch a music video of Rolling Stones that has never been released using an app, and send their song requests to the band in real time. The strategy of Citi was successful in that the app could increased the interactions between the audience and the artists.

Pinterest, a Social Media Focusing on Images and Videos
Pinterest, a social networking service which is, unlike the other social media services, exclusively focusing on images and videos, is a big hit among female users since it shares images regarding recipes, fashion, DIY stuffs, etc. across the subscribers. In this service platform there are 32 categories including fashion, beauty, travel, pets, arts, education, health, etc. Users can select an item, upload images and follow others shared interests. Pinterest service can also be used in exhibitions or conferences to share presentation images or to manage significant visitors using a closed bulletin.

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