Three ways you can use tech to improve your next conference

Using technology for conferences and events management is a given in 2018. Whether it be the simple software advances that enable online registration and check-in, networking and messaging features, practical information about accommodation and leisure options - all via one application on a smartphone. Or, the use of chatbots with live polling and Q&A functions, online surveys or virtual suggestion boxes.

In this article we will be discussing those tech trends and introduce you to some of the new, innovative and creative spaces in our member venues. But, before we get into that, let's take a look out our top three trends for using tech software and hardware at your events.

Audience interaction
Technology is one way to include audience members who are shy about raising their hands to speak up. It can also create new layers of engagement aside from verbal conversation.

Handy apps like Sli.do allow presenters to conduct live polling in the moment. Presenters ask a question, and participants answer via their mobile devices. You then display the results in real-time on a screen on stage. You can also use tech tools like Sli.do to curate Q&As. The audience type in their questions, and speakers choose the best ones to answer live on stage — a digital equivalent to a ‘fireside chat’.

Glisser lets presenters share slides to the audience’s mobile devices during their presentation. In turn, the audience can like, comment on or share those slides to their own social networks. Attendees can also download the slides for later reference or to share with colleagues back at the office. It means there’s no need for printed handouts, saving trees and providing extra convenience for attendees.

Lecture capture
Now here's a bit of higher education jargon, which you'll not here in any other venues, but basically it does what it says, and it’s simple but effective. Essentially it’s a system which allows you to make automatic recordings of your keynote speakers, seminars, workshops or presentations without having to set up a camera, microphone or other recording equipment - recording the audio, the computer screen and your presenter or panel - and the tech is in many academic venues.

So, it's an easy way of capturing all your content, ideal for those who couldn't make the event, or wanted to attend another workshop session. Take this one stage further and the recorded presentation once posted can accept comments across the timeline. All of a sudden the event becomes more than just a few days and begins a broader conversation across an expanded timeline.

Virtual and Augmented Reality
Want to immerse your delegates in your latest communications campaign, or have them experience another part of the world, or see inside your next innovation? Delegates aren't going to bemoan the fact that you don't have VR but there are some ideas and spaces out there that you could check out. And, it can be done relatively cheaply too.

Exhibitors coming to your conference will bring their own kit along, and your delegates will have fun playing virtual games or looking for virtual giveaways on their stands.

The use of devices like the Google Glasses at events has gained a lot of popularity recently. One of the main features that such devices can add to your ‘attendee experience’ is better networking.

Attendees can get to know each other way better with such technology than they would usually do. Think of it this way. What if the professional information of every attendee could be presented right next to them? Sounds like a Sci-Fi? Well, it can be done with Google Glasses.

Augmentation of reality takes it a step further. Though similar to Virtual Reality, the difference with AR is that instead of creating a new different realm of reality, it adds to what already exists. If you've played Pokémon Go, you'll get the idea. As an example, your keynote speakers may want to give an AR speech. You can have some interactive Augmented Reality models and designs prepared before-hand that can assist the speech of your speakers - giving attendees a ‘wow’ experience.

We couldn't finish without giving you some examples of our members facilities that might just make a difference to your event, and are ready for you to book now. 

Saïd Business School, University of Oxford has opened a new virtual classroom, which is the first of its type in the UK and only the second installation in the world.

Named the Oxford Hub for International Virtual Education (HIVE), it is a physical space that takes the appearance of a high tech conference facility, with 27 high definition screens that form a U shape in a seminar room. However, the technology, developed and installed by SyncRTC, and operated by their Mashme.io software – is far more sophisticated than a traditional conferencing platform. It employs robotics, facial recognition technology and 4D high definition projections to create a uniquely immersive learning and teaching experience.

In the Oxford HIVE, class leaders can engage with up to 84 participants, who can access the session via Mashme.io. The technology is fully interactive; the teacher can address the participants individually, split them into groups and conduct real time polls, and participants can see and hear one another.  The software also monitors the level of attentiveness in each individual, which it judges and scores based on their facial expressions and engagement with the class.

We can’t wait to book an event here, click to check it out. 

Over at York Conferences ‘The 3Sixty’ is a 360° audio visual room perfect for impressive product launches or presentations to clients. An audio visual venue with a range of inspiring opportunities.

The 360 degree projection capability and surround sound offers an immersive space with potential to hold a range of different events. Users find themselves in the centre of rich panoramic media, making it a strong environment for capturing and retaining the attention of attendees. Product launches and presentations will be truly innovative in this space, with attendees standing or sitting

Yet another one we can’t wait to check out. Take a look here.