Agency Forum: Event technology remains in the 'Wild West'

Speaking at C&IT's Agency Forum 2015, Jez Paxman, creative strategy director at Live Union outlined the industry's feelings on event technology and what might be coming next.

Jez Paxman, creative strategy director at Live Union
Jez Paxman, creative strategy director at Live Union

We’re in the ‘Wild West’

"There’s lots of new technology and apps springing up and a lot of them are in the beta stage," said Paxman. "This leaves us in a sort of ‘Wild West’. We’re not an industry that likes to take risks and we won’t pitch new technologies to our clients unless we’re completely sure of them." Paxman suggested this was one of the reasons the events industry is lagging behind while other industries become increasingly digitalised.

Personalising events will offer great opportunities

"Technology is allowing us to create more personalised events where people can shape their own experiences," said Paxman. "This is where we reap the benefits from the internet of things." He explained how it is becoming the norm for delegates to participate in content sessions and shape them in the way they want to get the information they need. They are also able to arrange meetings with those they want to see in advance, rather than relying on luck as in the past.

Delegates might be microchipped

"Forms of technology we think are too 'out there' now may become the norm in the future," explained Paxman. "We will be able to collect all kinds of data on the delegates to shape the experience for them, and who knows – one day delegates might be microchipped and using those to touch in at events!" Paxman also suggested that automatic check-in techniques such as iris recognition software might be used more at events in the near future.

When it goes wrong

Paxman argued that event technology went wrong when it was brought in for its own sake. "When agencies have a creative idea and bring it to life through technology, that’s when it really works. It’s not about just ‘plug in and play’, you have to find interesting things to do with it." 

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C&IT's definitive report on the key trends and challenges facing the UK events industry in 2015 and beyond.


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