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The pace of technological and sociological change has never been faster than it is today, as the whole world is looking for ways to adapt to the limitations of the lockdown. How we connect and move around, is very different now as compared to how it was previously.
This is largely evident in the event industry as well, which has pivoted its base from in-person to virtual, owing to Covid-19 restrictions. This shift from physical to virtual setups lays new emphasis on technologies like VR, AR, AI and robotics. Though all of them are still in their early stages, they look promising for the industry in the years to come.
We all know that 30 years down the line, our events and exhibitions will be largely attended by Generation Alpha. To appeal to the changing times and evolving mindsets, organizers will have to rewrite the event rulebook. Will the connection between physical and virtual events get stronger or will physical spaces simply lose their importance?
Here are the five major trends that could massively shape the events industry in the year 2050.
The pandemic has given us a clear indication that using digital methods to enhance event experiences will yield bigger returns for event planners. With event hosts bringing attendees both physically and virtually, it is quite evident that hybrid events have started taking the lead in the event sector.
By 2050, hybrid events will successfully evolve and take the front seat. These events that combine physical and virtual set-ups, thus complementing one with another, will spearhead the revamping of the event industry. Virtual sessions that allow people to connect irrespective of geographical boundaries and time, will make for a more inclusive experience, with technology allowing a degree of connectivity we cannot fathom. Moreover, AR (Augmented Reality) will blend the distinction between ‘physical’ and ‘virtual’, creating an experience that will be memorable and worth attending!
A lot of forecasts have been made about artificial intelligence (AI) taking over the world in the future. But let’s be happy that for us, it probably won’t happen the way it does in Terminator or The Matrix.
Essentially, AI is no longer a concept that business owners and marketers can afford to overlook. With virtual events taking centre stage now after the pandemic, it is safe to say that AI will be one of the most powerful tools available for putting together world-class experiences in events.
It will be the most used technology, being relevant in almost every aspect of the event experience, from the logistical - venue, ticket sales, transport booking, and attendee management - to the experiential. Chatbots already offer an automated responsive customer service, but artificially intelligent chatbots will take the process a notch higher by 2050.
To add on, almost everything an attendee does while attending an event could be tracked and measured. What web pages they visit, booths they go to, who they interact with, and what subjects interest them, everything will be stored as data. Using this data, predictive analytics will be able to predict what the consumers want before they ask for it. The give and take loop will be spontaneous and valuable.
Engineers and computer scientists around the world are devising ways to create robots that are more perceptive and adept. They are trying to give robots human-like cognitive ability, and we aren’t far from the day when we’ll be greeted by tray-holding-robots at physical events.
Even though driverless cars are yet to dominate our roads, it isn’t unreal to assume that pickup points at airports will be automatically operated and VIPs will be seamlessly driven from the airport to the event venue.
And if predictions on augmented intelligence by Mark Zuckerberg come true, and Elon Musk’s efforts on ‘neural linking’ bear results, then all it will take is for an attendee to think about the cocktail he wants when he enters the event venue, and it would be delivered- mixed exactly in the proportion he had thought of.
The amount of automation that robots can bring to events is difficult to fathom. Especially when combined with AI, they have massive potential to turnaround the very process of how events are hosted and conducted in 2050.
The Internet of Things
The web of billions of sensors is increasing and spreading quickly. The day is not far when they will track every move of ours and monitor almost everything we do. For the event industry, by 2050, almost every object we see at a physical event will be smart and intelligent enough to predict and respond according to the attendee's needs. Everything will be linked to everything else, and this will be instrumental in hosting phenomenal hybrid and virtual events.
Smart buildings that can modify the ambience and temperature inside the venue- according to attendees’ needs- are perhaps only a few years away from becoming a reality. We could witness advanced intelligent systems making detailed adjustments in lighting, background music and the aura - through connected sensors that work in response to the audience’s changing mood.
The possibilities would be endless!
Virtual Reality (VR)
VR has the capability to take users to an entirely different space and time with the use of just one device. As an upcoming technology, its application to the event space is something to look forward to. It has the power to take attendees and delegates outside the 4-walled venue, immersing them into an experience like never before.
At CES 2017, which was all about showcasing innovative tech, Intel stood out by using VR extensively in their presentation. A mix of product launches, press conferences, and virtual exploration, Intel gave attendees the opportunity to try their VR hardware during the keynote. The guests could view basketball games from courtside seats, alien spaceships, and zombie apocalypses.
It goes without saying that by the time we reach 2050, and a much advanced and educated generation takes over the world of business, we will be as used to communicating in a virtual world as millennials are on social media currently. If events will even need a physical venue, is a question one is forced to think. If not, and the pandemic has shown us that digital events can deliver results, then the future of events in limited just by our imagination.
EventMind does not endorse any particular virtual event platform or software. We review the platforms available on the market monthly (through a combination of client feedback, test events and demos). If you're looking to make online events simple, or want trusted and unbiased advice, then contact the team today by emailing email@example.com or calling 0330 133 3485. We are always keen to get guest contributors on our blog, if you'd like to write a blog on our site and be fully credited, please email firstname.lastname@example.org