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How your next conference will benefit from technology

It’s a constant pressure for conference organisers to make their events as memorable as possible. Thankfully, with the digital age upon us, technology is lending a helping hand. From increased efficiency to higher engagement rates, conferences are enjoying all the benefits of technology. And that means attendees have so much to look forward to as well!

Planning the perfect event

Planning a conference is a huge undertaking. Technology has undoubtedly streamlined these processes, taking over from the older, paper-based systems. Tools such as platform-as-service event technology — a system of cloud computing devices which creates a space for users to work in real-time together, have proven invaluable for organisers, and beacon technology are already leading towards a shift in connectivity at industry events. The beacon, a small device, connects with a mobile app and delivers content based on the geographical location of the connected user. Apple unveiled their iBeacon in 2013, designed to provide interactivity between connected devices, such as by welcoming attendees or facilitating live audience polls. Everything from lunchtime menus to table plans can be shared this way, creating instantaneous communication with the audience. Beacons are used for a whole host of reasons, why not follow suit from a Romanian festival which used beacons and connected devices to stage a mass treasure hunt. In conference context, beacons can help to deliver content efficiently, improve audience networking and reduce waiting times in venues; allowing organisers to get creative with their exciting, adaptable features.

Effects that are remembered

Particularly with industry events, there’s a lot of information of attendees to remember. Now, many conference events utilise audiovisual technologies, providing live streams through social media platforms, which can also be used to create time-lapses and keynote recording. This content can be distributed to attendees of the event afterwards, to maximise the longevity of the ideas covered in the event with the recipient. In a similar way, virtual and augmented reality can offer venue tours, facilitate virtual attendants and deliver remote speeches. This kind of technology provides an immersive experience in the conference setting, and it also adds clarity to engagement rates throughout the audience. The immediacy of audiovisual aspects contributes to the real-time elements of sharing ideas and concepts, even from beyond the conference itself. This would also help engage employees for team building days more effectively. Impact international offer services that connect people strategy with business strategy.

An app for everything

Conferences are becoming a beacon for app potential. Apps of this nature are used on a regular basis, and they are a great way of communicating with attendees ahead of and during the event. They provide a portal for event hosts to distribute useful information, adding to the modern conference experience. Conference agendas, check-ins, hotel recommendations for commuters and often messaging options. Some event planners are using these apps as a loyalty scheme, wherein attendance at an event is recorded and rewards may be given after a certain amount of conferences. This technology has also served to change the conventional conference, building them into unique communities based on their point of interest.

Transformative spaces

Part of the appeal of conferences is the space they are held in. The recently refurbished Woodland Centre, a leading conference venue Milton Keynes, utilises an array of new technologies, including advanced optical front projectors, digital flipcharts and wireless HDMI facilities. The venue has channeled a £3 million investment into providing an immersive, digitised experience for conference attendees, and Craig Warner, IT Director at Wyboston said ‘IT is now a key consideration for conference and event planners when selecting a venue’, ‘we have taken it one step further to ensure that our digital ecosystem is future proofed’. From adjustable lighting to panoramic display screens, the resort is finding innovative ways to support events in all sectors. The Woodlands Event Centre offers smart, convenient additions, such as built in applications and 1.3gb of high-speed internet, ensuring that conferences run seamlessly.

Technology is on hand to help both event organisers and attendees get the most out of their conference experience. It’ll be exciting to see where it takes us next year!

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