This article originally appeared in the Sept/Oct issue of Arizona Business magazine
Advances in technology have revolutionized the way we live our lives, and this is no different for events and meetings. Many new technologies have either replaced the old methods or have opened entirely new areas that were once only possible in science fiction. From digital signage and holograms to augmented reality and interactive video, event technology has never been more exciting so let’s jump right in!
While true holograms are still a way off, we have several technologies that are mimicking the effect with astonishing results. The simplest version is a spinning fan of LEDs that creates the illusion of a floating image. The fan spins so fast, you don’t see the blades and all you see is the moving image. These fans are about two foot in diameter but can be synchronized with many units to create massive displays. Individually we’ve used these hologram fans for simple logo displays to attract attention to a booth or attention to sponsors. Trust me, they’re definitely eye catching. Check out HYPERVSN for more info.
Other types of hologram technologies have hit the entertainment market with deceased musicians making guest appearances at concerts or performers manipulating visuals in mid-air like on America’s Got Talent. This is all done with a special scrim fabric that is invisible to the eye until a video projection hits it from a hidden angle. From an event perspective, imagine a CEO on stage manipulating a PowerPoint presentation like Tom Cruise in the movie Minority Report. Or maybe a hologram of an honored guest that couldn’t make it to the event standing next to the presenter on stage. Hologram-like technologies are quickly evolving and could be very exciting for the event industry.
Augmented Reality apps are also a step closer to real life holograms. Much like the game Pokémon Go, users can interact with objects that aren’t really there all with the help of their phones, tablets or special glasses. We’ve seen users scan an item in a booth with their phone and the screens comes alive with all types of brand information or interactive content that really brings audience engagement to a new level.
Want something more interactive? What if your guests could trigger a logo display or video message on a wall or floor by walking by it? While this technology started out as games or educational displays in museums and schools via LumoPlay, we’ve used it at events to create magically appearing logo projection on the walls as guests walked by. Another time we used an element from a logo to create a “carpet” of multi-colored triangles that scattered away as guests walked through it to reveal the event logo. For PBS Kids day event we projected a coral reef video on the floor and as kids walked through it, the water would ripple, and the fish would scatter. All different purposes, but the result was the same – higher brand engagement.
We’re always looking for new ways to accent a special moment or grand entrance at an event. Confetti, fog geysers, and search lights are fun but now you can have 16 foot indoor /outdoor firework fountains right on your stage. Talk about a wow factor for your event! Imagine every award winner walking on stage to a backdrop of real firework fountains or “waterfalls”! Cold spark technology makes this possible. And just like the name says, it’s cold to the touch with temperatures only at 62 degrees. That’s colder than your body temperature! It’s safe for indoors and completely non-flammable. But how do you ask? It’s a special mix of titanium and magnesium that is ground up and shot out in a geyser of sparkles. This effect will definitely make your event memorable! check out Sparktacular to find a cold spark provider in your area.
Have you been to a concert lately or seen the Olympics opening ceremonies where the entire stadium lights up in waves of color to form patterns or words? This is a cool new technology from companies like PixMob. While you might not have events that large, you can use these led bracelets for corporate or social events. One way is to simply use these as fun party favors for your guests to wear all night that you control the color to match the music or event. Or for corporate events, we’ve used them to color code large groups and notify them when to come to the stage for their award. This technology has come way down in price and is very accessible for events and meetings.
Whatever technology you want to use at your event, you should ask yourself “how will this improve my guest’s experience?” We always think about Return on Investment, but we should also now think about Return on Experience. Our guests should walk away with a more memorable experience which increases brand awareness and loyalty. Or from another perspective, “That was the best damn event I’ve ever been to!”