Written exclusively for Event Tech Live by Daniel Groves.
2021 was a year of change for everyone, due to the pandemic. The event industry was hit particularly hard, as various restrictions forced venues to close their doors to the public. Instead of in-person events, people could attend virtual conferences, book launches, training events, and even concerts online.
Technology has helped us adapt to these changes. Technological innovations have allowed us to connect with loved ones, work and learn remotely, attend doctors appointments without leaving the house, order online, and so much more. The possibilities are endless.
Now, as we move into 2022, hope is on the horizon. Restrictions are lessening and the events industry is slowly recovering. Many of the innovative tech solutions launched during the pandemic are being adopted by events companies who are keen to relaunch in-person events. By utilising event technology, venues are able to host successful events that are bigger and better than ever before.
In this article, we will be discussing event technology and the innovations venues should utilise in 2022.
1. Event Payment Technology
People attending in-person events in 2022 will be expecting a smooth and convenient operation. Having spent the past two years receiving content, work, medical care, deliveries, and more with the help of online technologies, we have adapted to convenience.
According to Forbes, “you want to enhance the journey and create a better experience for all […] where friction exists, frustration exists – and frustrated buyers and customers will seek out the path of least resistance.” When it comes to the events industry, one of the most common difficulties people face is a complicated payment process.
Whether they want to purchase tickets at the door, buy merchandise, or hire a service provider, they are often faced with tricky card machines, receipts that won’t print, and long queues. The future of event purchases looks very different in 2022.
When cashless technology isn’t available, utilising payment tech like portable card machines make accepting payments easier than ever before for events. Event participants can make contactless payments and, because it’s completely portable, vendors aren’t restricted to a stationary register. This reduces queues, allows for payments to be made anywhere at any time, and provides the ultimate convenience for event participants.
2. The Metaverse
The metaverse is one of the most significant advancements in technology as a result of the pandemic. One of the most affecting struggles individuals faced during the pandemic was social isolation. Without being able (or even allowed) to meet in person, many people struggled with feelings of loneliness and increasingly difficult mental health symptoms.
The metaverse has been used to help create connection, to allow people to see and interact with each other without being in the same physical space.
According to The New York Times, “the term comes from digital antiquity: Coined by writer Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash,” then reimagined as the Oasis in the Ernest Cline novel “Ready Player One,” it refers to a fully-realized digital world that exists beyond the analog one in which we live.” The most obvious form of the metaverse, for those of us who are unfamiliar with it, are video games.
The metaverse is like an online world where you can create your own avatar and interact with other people and journey through different life experiences. But where does this fit with the events industry?
The metaverse provides a fully immersive experience and while this may not be suitable for every type of event, for some it could be an excellent way to engage new audiences and promote specific causes.
Events in the future will be less about sitting and listening to long speeches at packed conferences and more about exploring venues and interacting with people. Events held in the metaverse may reduce cancellations and increase audience participation.
There is, of course, a lot of tech that is required to host an event in the metaverse. Participants will need virtual reality headsets and this isn’t always possible on a large scale. However, events hosted in the metaverse are expected to increase in popularity as we move further into 2022 and technological innovations are adopted more widely.
3. Always-on Events
Since the pandemic and the huge uptake in remote working, many people have been offered more flexible working arrangements. They can choose where they work and when, managing their professional commitments around their personal schedules so that home lives and work lives can coexist in more peaceful harmony.
This asynchrony is helping forge an upheaval of traditional event hosting formats and rules. Events held in 2022 will no longer be held at certain times of day but instead will be ‘always-on’ so that participants can log in and out when it suits them.
This form of asynchronous content is still in the early stages, but experts believe that events will soon be run in this way so as to attract wider audiences, engage a distracted generation, and cater to the flexibility people have adapted to.
4. ID Verification that’s Contactless
Every event needs to verify the ID of its participants. This ensures tickets are given to the right person, numbers are accounted for, and only those who have paid are allowed access. However, verifying peoples’ identification can take time. In the past, participants had to bring a form of ID, such as a passport or a drivers licence, however in 2022 ID verification is set to look very different.
Since the pandemic, our ‘new normal’ has been a very isolated, individualistic way of living. Due to various restrictions, we haven’t been able to see friends or family members without social distancing, and we’ve been warned against making physical contact with others for fear of contracting or spreading the virus. It has been very difficult.
While 2022 brings a New Year full of new hope, the world is still fighting against COVID-19 and what we can and cannot do is being changed on a regular basis. As such, companies hosting in-person events have to be sensitive to these regulations and utilise technology that keeps everyone safe and well. That’s why many event planners are opting for contactless ID verification. It’s called Verifiable Credentials and Biometric shares how it works:
“Verifiable Credentials are essentially the 21st century equivalent of physical documents like passports, driving licenses, or any type of qualification certificate – but with new digital superpowers. Just as those documents are held in purses, wallets or filing cabinets, these are stored in a secure, tamper-proof, and privacy-maximising fashion within smartphone wallet apps.
Now, with the tap of a button or a QR code scan, an individual can share an instantly-verifiable set of attributes from these digital credentials.” And it is changing the way identifications are confirmed at large events, reducing the need for queues, reducing the likelihood of forged documents, and also providing a seamless sign-in experience for participants.
Looking to the future…
When it comes to the world of event technology, there is so much we could talk about! However, the 4 new innovations we have shared above are perhaps the most significant for the event sector to utilise in 2022.