The 5 New Rules of Event Technology
If you haven't noticed, the second era of event technology innovation is well underway ... and actually, it's exploding and rewriting the rules of what event professionals should expect from event tech. Over the last 3-4 years, we have seen an unprecedented number of new technologies and great ideas coming to life that are already improving how event professionals manage their data and their events. And what's more interesting is that these technologies are both improving on previous technologies as well as expanding into new areas. Just think about it ... not only are there better event management software solutions, event registration platforms and event apps, but you are starting to see really interesting innovations in new areas. Social media walls and eBeacons that transmit localized data to on-site attendees will soon be the norm. Electronic check-in will soon be used at weddings and social events as well as at conferences. Hell, we are even seeing great alternatives to microphones (how about using an app as your mic) and real-time polling (raising hands is so last year). During the first era of event tech innovation - the late 1990s and early 2000s - the events industry saw massive improvements in specialized, computer-based software for event management/planning and hotel/venue management. During this era, we also saw the first online event software applications for things like event registration/ticketing and event marketing. So what makes this new era in event technology innovation so different? And why should you care? Here are 5 critical things you should to keep in mind as you evaluate event tech tools.
New Rule #1 - Simplicity and easy-of-use is in (and complexity is out).
- Big benefits - Shorter learning curves; faster adaption of technology by all team members
- Potential drawbacks - None, really
New Rule #2 - (Almost) everything is online.
- Big benefits - Automatic software updates; no software installation or maintenance on your computer/server; automated data backups
- Potential drawbacks - Limited or no access to data if you aren't connected to the Internet
- Your data is usually backed up daily by your software provider, so your data is still intact if your computer is destroyed/compromised or your hard drive dies.
- Most online software companies are constantly innovating and updating their application, and you usually get these updates and improvements without paying upgrade fees.
- You never again have to load, install, or maintain software on your computer.
New Rule #3 - Data and software access across all devices.
- Big benefits - Anywhere, anytime data access; data portability
- Potential drawbacks - Screen size limitations on smartphones; limited functionality for certain applications
- Native app versions of their software for Apple and Android devices; or
- Mobile Web browser versions of their software that you can access through the Web browser on your smartphone/tablet.
New Rule #4 - Consolidation of tools/features (i.e., more all-in-one applications).
- Big benefits - Data and tools all in one place; don't have to pay for lots of separate tools
- Potential drawbacks - Included tools may not have all the features you need
New Rule #5 - No more long-term financial commitments
- Big benefits - Ability to change providers based on your changing needs; never again be held prisoner by a provider
- Potential drawbacks - Portability of your data from one provider to another