Welcome to our first BLOG of 2020, where we shine the spotlight on TWENTY different event technologies relevant to event marketers. From wearables and augmented reality to voice activation, facial recognition kiosks and haptic technology … the future is exciting!  

In today’s rapidly advancing society, we know that Technology serves a variety of purposes and means different things to different people. Indeed, with over 8 billion devices connected to the internet and an ever increasing connectivity of our smart devices, the very reality is that technology can be found at every corner, and it has become integral in our daily lives. As event managers, we need to keep finding new and quirky innovations to make sure we are on top of our game and ahead of the new challenges we are faced with daily. 

As our very own Head of Strategy and Brand, Gavin Downes, has said,

Technology is awesome, when in the right hands and used in the relevant way. The next decade is going to be very exciting as we see more and more event marketeers embracing the phygital experience paradigm, so they can better plan their events, measure engagement and capture relevant data.”


From some ‘Tried & Tested’ to the ‘Truly Futuristic’ technologies, lets have a look at the ones we see having great potential for 2020 and beyond …


Tried and Tested Technologies

 1. Audience Engagement Tools – There are a number of great web/mobile based audience engagement tools out there, from Slido to Capterra, to name but a few. These platforms allow you to do everything from simple Q&A to live polls, interactive content and much more. These tools can really add a lot to your event and can be used at the pre-event, live event and post-event stages.

2. Mobile Apps  Apps have become a useful tool for event managers and little pieces of technology which we use daily. We love using Instagram to document our experiences which we create for people and also the fun we have along the way. Its inevitable that our lives would just not be the same without these Apps.https://vimeo.com/325400237

Apps can also help us within the world of events. The use of Eventbrite allowed us to check attendees into our busy events via app. Eventbrite combines many elements from registration, the issueing of tickets and finally a scanning solution for event organisers! At Neon we’re all about doing our bit for the environment. Our aim is to reduce our waste and consumption of paper by using apps like this instead of other waste materials. We also love to have a snoop on the Pintrest App for a little inspo. 

3. Social Media – Usually in the form of a website or an app social media allows individuals to create and share content of their own opinion and network with individuals from all corners of the globe and let’s be honest EVERYONE has an opinion these days. Social media is one of the most powerful tools of the 21st century. Although social media gets a bad wrap sometimes we still feel its one of the most influential pieces of technological advances to this day. The amplification of events and brand activations across social media is now a critical part of modern event planning. 

4. NFC & RFID  What do these abbreviations stand for? We hear you..  NFC  stands for  ’Near Field Communication’, while RFID means ‘Radio Frequency Identification’. You’re welcome!

Both NFC & RFID employ radio signals for all sorts of tagging and tracking purposes. We can more commonly see this technology emerging at festivals and concerts with the addition of cashless events. The idea of “contactless” has taken us by storm. We can use our smart phones as digital wallets, making payment more convenient and more importantly quicker. For the likes of festivals and concerts the use of electronic banding systems to pay for drinks and food at events has become increasingly popular. NO CASH NO PROBLEM!

5. Live Streaming  Live streaming expands your audience beyond event capacity. Encouraging attendees and staff to share their live stream with colleagues who couldn’t attend. They can invite people to join Facebook Live events and tweet links to their followers. Even employees who aren’t physically attending an event can support from afar by sharing your stream. As we work with more and more global businesses, streaming, video calls and two way web based communications platforms are becoming the norm.

6. Bluetooth Bluetooth in simple terms is the wireless technology that enables you to create a wireless connection between two devices. It is more useful than you might think. In most cases people use Bluetooth technology for connecting their smartphone or computer with an audio device for wireless audio transmission. Although Bluetooth and infrared seem like a thing of the past we use Bluetooth daily – it is becoming more and more relevant for events. 

One excellent example of this is the KLIK platform. While it utilises a form of wearable badges, it is very much reliant on Bluetooth, yet connects to the web via band end data transfer and provides a one of a kind event experience for the user and a wealth of data for the event organiser. Check out the video below for more info.


New and Emerging Technologies

7. Augmented Reality  Like virtual reality, augmented reality  (AR) is a type of interactive,  reality-based display environment that takes the capabilities of computer-generated display, sound, text and effects to enhance the user’s real-world experience. Alternate reality transports attendees while ensuring that attendees remain connected to the event. 

By using AR headsets, glasses and contact lenses paired with special event planning software you can produce one of a kind unique events like never before.   

8. Holographic Content – Why not take the step into the future and capture people’s attention by using 3D holographic displays? Delivering an immerse experience to your audience. 

What is a hologram you might ask?  Briefly, a hologram is an autonomous three-dimensional image formed by the interference of light beams from a laser or other coherent light source. Holograms are a derivative of Peppers Ghost. This is a technique used as a form of illusion in theatres, museums and TV  to produce a “ghostly scene”. The development of holographic content is escalating! 

Holograms are all about creating one-of-a-kind events. Why not use a hologram for your “instagrammable moments”?  Similarly, holographic mapping is becoming a trend of the near future. Map your scene onto a blank canvas and watch your event come alive. 

9. Virtual Reality – VR enables remote spectators to experience the event  not only as if they were there themselves, but closer to the action than ever before. The virtual  event  space also brings with it plenty of opportunity for partnerships and co-branding. VR can bring a deeper level of engagement. The use of virtual reality at events connects people around the world allowing them to meet in the same place at the same time by simply putting on a headset. It’s used to bring fiction to life and can also be offered as a training tool. VR devices can be used as a major factor in event promotion strategy such as event experience, event marketing, user-generated content and attendee engagement. We think it’s an all-rounder!  

10. Facial Recognition  A facial recognition  system is a  technology  capable of identifying or verifying a person from a digital image. Eliminating the hassle of manual registration desks, cutting-edge technology allows attendees to check-in using only their faces while their full-colour badges are printed instantaneously. This ensures a fast, seamless, personalised, secure and memorable experience for all. Tokyo 2020 will be the first Olympics to use facial recognition technology to increase security at venues. Forget long queues. Easy in/out experience with the use of your smart device. 50% faster than traditional methods.  Facial recognition is easy to use, it’s ECO friendly (no pre-printing involved)  and enables you to complete online registration. Have a look at the video below to find out more.  


Technologies with Huge Potential

11. Wearables – We all know a dedicated fitness fanatic who can’t take their smart watch off their wrist, no matter what the occasion.  Wearables like  Google Glass,  Apple Watch,  Fitbit,  Motiv Ring, and  Oculus Riftpromise to change the way we receive, use, and share data. This wearable revolution is also shifting long-established patterns of how we utilize data in our daily lives and social interactions. It’s a lot more personal and devices have somewhat become a fashion statement. So as the hardware usability increases and software compatibility grows, we can expect to see more seamless technologies that leverage this massive opportunity. 

12. Live social walls – A  Social Wall  is a screen showcasing  live social  media feeds. Essentially, you can see all Instagram and Twitter posts related to your event which your audience can view. Social walls allow you to engage with your audience at the event. Social media walls  show posts and photos tagged with your event hashtag. They generate real-time excitement, encourage attendees to post, and reinforce the right hashtag to use. 

13. Chatbots – Chatbots, also known as Eventbots, have become increasingly popular over the past number of years. They have several benefits including increased efficiency. The use of chatbots rather than human interaction is becoming more popular. Attendees get answers quickly, while staff can work more efficiently. 

  1. 14. Voice Activation – Voice activation  or  voice  control allows the user to  activate  or control a wide range of home automation and AV devices simply using their  voice, as opposed to pressing buttons to using a touchscreen interface device. We can see how this trend is every growing with our new friends SIRI and ALEXA.

15. Beacons – Beacons are devices equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) that constantly broadcast data to any device listening nearby. Taking on a passive role, beacons can communicate with phones or smart devices to connect, inform, and entice event attendees. While iBeacon is an exclusive technology of Apple, Beacon technology is available for any BLE-enabled device, including Android-based devices. 

Have a look at the below video which showcases how Beacons can be integrated into the the app, web commerce and the entire experience management platform at the 49ers Stadium in San Francisco.


Truly Futuristic Technologies

16. 5G Network –  Does the sound of dial up internet haunt you from the early 00’s? We’ve all heard of 3G, 4G and now we have been introduced to 5G mega speed internet. Although it’s been nearly 10 years in the making, it has finally become a reality across the globe. 5G allows for both faster download and upload speeds. it will also dramatically speed up the time it takes devices to communicate with wireless networks.

According to Huawei “5G wireless networks will support 1,000-fold gains in capacity, connections for at least 100 billion devices and a 10 Gb/s individual user experience of extremely low latency and response times,  Deployment of these networks will emerge between 2020 and 2030.”

17. Drones  Apart from event experience, drones are also a great asset in terms of event security. With an array of new and developed drones being launched into the market, drone technology will play a major role in events in the coming future. However, along with technological developments, there are policies and laws being put into place to prevent misuse of drones as well. Don’t get caught spying on your neighbours.

18. Autonomous Driving – Autonomous driving or in more simpler terms is a self driving car.These are vehicles which are capable of sensing their environment and moving safely with little or no human input. How cool is this?

There are 5 levels with autonomous driving. Ranging from 0-5. Level 0 consists of the vehicle being controlled by the driver. Level 5 is where the car is completely capable of self-driving in every situation.

Brands such as Tesla and BMW have been developing this concept for years now and it is really set to be a reality by the end of 2020/ the beginning of 2021. Do you think this is something that could work? Some features of the Tesla include automated braking, lane-changing, and automation of other in-car systems. Is this something we are ready for and how will this impact the future of events?

19. Sophia the RobotSophia the robot is  a unique combination of science, engineering, and artistry, Sophia was activated on February 14, 2016. She is a robot who uses artificial intelligence, visual data processing and facial recognition. Sophia also imitates human gestures and facial expressions and is able to answer certain questions and to make simple conversations on predefined topics (e.g. on the weather).  She capable in displaying more than 60 facial expressions and interacting with humans. Cool or creepy? You decide.

20. Haptic Technology – Haptic technology, also known as kinaesthetic communication or 3D touch, refers to any technology that can create an experience of touch by applying forces, vibrations, or motions to the user. For example One of Apple Watch’s coolest features is the Taptic Engine, which sends you haptic feedback, or a light tap on the top of your wrist, when you receive a notification. It’s so much less annoying than a chime or a vibration.

With the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on the horizon this summer, have a look at how they are really utilising a host of technologies to truly bring the games into the next Tech-ade!

We know that technology has really progressed over the last decade and is going to continue to flourish as we zoom into 2020.  Whether you’re a techno-phobe or techno-phile, let us know if the comments below ….. or feel free to get in touch and see how we can integrate some of these technologies into a one of a kind experience for your event!

Stay tuned for our next blog, as we’ll be covering a new topic each month!


The Neon Team