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VR not the essential event tech for 2018 according to QHotels’ Event Profs Panel

Event engagement apps, live content projection and wireless presentation systems are the technologies that are going to be most popular for 2018 conferences, according to QHotels’ Event Profs Panel.
In the latest roundtable event, the panel highlighted that the must-have tech used at conferences is not about having the latest gimmick, but tools that support the management of the event and help deliver real-time engagement.

The findings came as a team from specialist event production company, Universal Live, showcased how emerging tools can be used to enhance an event, and even improve how delegates and event organisers can communicate with one another.

As part of the event hosted by QHotels, managed by Redefine|BDL Hotels (RBH), the panel members got to test and sample how Meetoo, Smartmarker content capture and sharing technology, ClickShare and virtual reality (VR) headsets work and how they could be used in a C&E capacity.

Lizzie Thomas, Event Manager at Brief2Event, commented: “Whilst some hardware is really impressive, they’re not always practical for a conference. As event organisers, we must think about how tech is going to assist with event functionality, rather than just how it’s used for entertainment. The engagement app, Meetoo, stood out as a system that could provide the best of both worlds: helping event organisers communicate with one another and assisting with delegate participation.”
• Meetoo
Out of all the technology that was presented on the day, the panellists voted this event organisation app as the most likely to be adopted for future conferences and events. This web and app based platform helps both delegates and event organisers to communicate before, during and after a conference. The application also allows for live polling and is an ideal way of getting delegates engaging with each other and speakers.
• Smart Marker
This nifty piece of tech allows content to be transferred from any kind of surface, such as white board or clear screen, on to a larger projection in real time, as well as allowing the user to stream content to attendees’ computers or mobile devices. Initially the panellists assumed that incorporating this would be costly, however that’s not the case. It’s also easy to set up, which had not been the expectation from the group.
• ClickShare
Operated using a central dongle, connecting multiple devices that allows presenters to share their screen easily without the need of swapping computers and switching wires. ClickShare enhances the smooth running of events as it facilitates an easier change between presenters. Most of the panel stated that they were aware of how the use of this type of tech is growing, but that’s because it’s become an expectation from delegates to have a more efficient handover between speakers.
• Virtual reality
Falling to the bottom of the list of tech considered to be big in 2018 was VR. Whilst it’s relatively low-cost to buy the headset, the panel were concerned that the content creation side required a lot more time and could therefore become expensive. Some members of the panel felt that there would be more benefit in using VR to show clients around potential venues, rather than having it as a feature at an event.

Jon Eden, Technical Director at Universal Live, commented: “10 years ago the thought of using some of this event technology and social media at events was alien. Five years ago, we were introduced to wearables and 3D printers. The growth and development of technology in events is not slowing down, in fact it’s speeding up and it’s our job to ensure that we keep up with the current trends.

“We talked the group through our research which has revealed the exciting tech that we can expect to see incorporated into the everyday event in the next few years, including Augmented Reality, projection mapping and holographic images. These types of technologies used to be exclusive to big budget productions, but tech is now far more accessible to everyone regardless of the event size, and is therefore becoming more prominent within smaller events to.

“It was interesting to learn the panel’s view on virtual reality. Although it fell short in their opinion, we do believe that with the advancements this tech is set to see in the next year, it would be worth posing the same questions to the panel 12 months down the line to see if their thoughts have changed.”

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