30 Nov 2015

I was struck the other day by the extent to which we’re always gazing down at our handheld devices, not up at the world around us.

In just a few years, our phones have gone from being something we use to make the odd call, to a 24/7 entertainment system – bringing us news, games, weather, maps and a never-ending stream of social media content which we feel the need to constantly check as part of our FOMO – fear of missing out syndrome. Add to that the prevalence of tablets and kindles and our ever connectedness and it’s a wonder we ever see the world around us.

Events provide quite a powerful opportunity, I think, in helping us break that mould. At exhibitions or experiential events there’s so much going on, so much to see and interact with, so much to distract us from our handheld worlds that we really do get fully involved and absorbed. The ability to meet face to face, to see, hear, hold and touch, to make a connection with a real person and build a relationship is why events are so powerful – they give us the opportunity to have real discussions unfettered by distractions.

When our mobile devices do come out at an event, instead of being a distractor I think they can be a powerful way to share experiences, to make them better and to extend them. At festivals, the selfies, facetime, video, Facebook photos and status updates are all a way of enjoying an event experience more deeply by sharing it with people who can’t be there. At exhibitions, sharing content or things you’ve seen is simultaneously a way of reaching out to others who may be at the event that you could connect with, while also bookmarking that you want to learn more about that product or solution.

But the prevalence of mobile devices and tablets at exhibitions has also provided an opportunity for technology providers like us to deliver digital content directly to consumers.

Our BrandWallet technology, which provides personalised data targeted to an individual visitors demographic profile, can use the cloud to deliver information direct to someone’s phone or tablet. We’ve created mobile augmented reality software that enables visitors to look through the camera of their phone to see additional annotated information about a product, or to see static pictures become animated and reveal additional information. We’ve installed software solutions on exhibition stands that use the phone or tablet camera and when specific images or patterns are recognised, triggers specific content so that visitors are “gaming”, unlocking content through participation.

Other technology providers have turned phones into microphones, or have enabled visitors to use their phone as a voting device in conferencing. The opportunities, when you think about the power in a phone today – are limitless!

It’s remarkable to think that just five years ago my phone was pretty much just a phone and will be interesting to see what the next five years brings and how it will impact on events.

If you’re looking for innovative ways to make technology work smarter for you at events, get some inspiration at www.dbpixelhouse.co.uk or call us to see how we can help 0345 226 3083.

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