With technology advancing at an ever-increasing rate, new solutions can simplify event processes, boost efficiency and increase attendee footfall and engagement.

However while tech can bring big benefits, you should avoid jumping on the bandwagon just for the sake of it.

Before adopting a technological solution, you should ask yourself what value it can bring, and if the pros outweigh the cons for your organisation or the specific event.

That said, innovating and keeping on top of tech is essential to stay ahead of the curve. Here are some of the latest digital solutions that can shape event planning in 2020.

AI chatbots

Artificial Intelligence chatbots have been increasing in popularity and have great potential for the events sector.

Chatbots can improve user experience by responding to generic FAQs such as ‘Where can I park?’ or ‘What’s the Wi-Fi password?’ as well as offer personalised information such the time or location of the attendee’s next meeting.

All this information would be delivered in real-time and with great accuracy.

For the organiser, customer service chatbots free up team members to deal with more important issues and can remove the need to hire temporary staff, thus increasing cost-efficiency.

Chatbots are also a great tool for feedback collection. Apart from the ability to send surveys and polls to guests, they continuously collect important data through user interactions and can deliver anonymised reports back to the organiser.

AR and VR

Augmented and virtual reality are a hot topic in many industries, and the events sector is no exception.

Both are great tools for product demonstrations. While AR can enhance a demonstration by adding digital information to the real-world product through the use of a device, a VR headset can enable completely digital product demonstrations.

This is useful especially for products that are either too expensive or too difficult to transport to the venue, or for upcoming products that might not be on the market yet.

As the technology further improves, VR will likely also spark an increase in hybrid events (where some people attend remotely), which are cost-efficient for both organisers and guests.

Networking apps

One of the most important aspects of events for attendees is making connections, so networking apps can completely change guests’ event experience. Highlighting an event’s networking opportunities through technology can increase attendance and retention.

Networking apps are constantly adding features to improve functionality. Some must-have features include integration with social media platforms, a chat platform within the app that enables communication, and most importantly, matchmaking software, which helps people make the most out of the networking opportunities.

With matchmaking, the networking app can connect people with similar interests (business or personal) to facilitate connection. Especially for large events, guests need to be able to quickly identify relevant people.

Facial recognition

Facial recognition technology for events will likely become more popular, improving registration and check-in speed and security.

The software is constantly evolving to improve accuracy, and there’s a lot of potential for future uses.

One scenario is offering guests a personalised experience, not only giving them access, but also information based on their profile, such as letting them know when their next session is, where they should go etc.

As guests might be worried about privacy, it’s important to ensure the supplier is GDPR-compliant, and be transparent, informing attendees of the privacy policies implemented – such as what happens with the data and whether it is used responsibly.