Hi, I’m Ben. I’ve been CTO at ShowGizmo for about 75 hours. It’s an amazing time to be getting into this industry – smartphone hardware is really starting to get sophisticated and people are starting to get their heads around what’s possible and build some brilliantly innovative stuff on top of it. For me personally it’s a privilege to be able to work with the ShowGizmo team and technology partners like Crowdmics.
Julius Solaris’ roundup of the trends he sees being big in the event industry in 2016 was a great primer for me and is a must read for anyone who’s working in this area. Some of the themes he identifies are of particular interest as we think about our feature roadmap for 2016. There’s some technology out there which will give us great features on its own, but it’s when you start to look at making mashups of some of these technologies that it really gets exciting.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been at Ignite (formerly Microsoft TechEd), or another conference, where I’ve been dithering in the hallway not knowing which talk from the n which I wouldn’t mind seeing this session to go to. Or I’ve turned up on time to a popular session… and it’s been full. How good would it be if the app said “Hey, you’re outside the session on security and the internet of things. Someone’s streaming it. Want to take a look?”. Microlocation, using one of the new breed of beacon + sensors + wifi + anything else that the device can find technologies, plus Periscope or Meerkat, and this is a reality.
Digital swagbags plus cashless payment plus NFC equals lots of downloads and happy attendees. Download the app and get the delegate discount on the ipad, seamlessly.
Mapping and microlocation, teamed up with our existing personalised schedule, opens up the reality of pushing useful reminders to attendees – “Time to head to Ballroom 1 for Ivan’s session”. Microlocation also gives us some exciting possibilities around auto-checkin – are your attendees actually going to the sessions they said they were going to? Are they staying for the whole session? Should they be getting professional credit for attending? Add social media to the microlocation cocktail and you’re able to start telling attendees where their friends are, so I won’t have to decipher “nxt 2 bar. cnt c u?” to meet my mates at the afterparty, which will make me happy.
We’ll be taking a look at wearables too and seeing how we can make use of those to enhance the eventgoing experience. Notifications is the obvious choice but that covers a lot of things – including but not limited to, a more natural way of delivering reminders to leave for sessions and telling you that someone you’ve made a note to talk to is at the next booth.
Corbin Ball’s trends for 2016 has some great stuff in it too and he rightly picks up on the fact that event apps are going to be delivering a lot more in the way of analytics. With the increasing amounts of data we’ll be able to collect (microlocation being just one part of that) we’ll be in a position to provide event organisers with increasingly sophisticated insights into who and what their attendees are engaging with, and how. And our Customer Services team will continue to develop the analyses and frameworks to help you know the ‘So What’ about that data – what to do with your sophisticated insights to be make your events more awesome.
VR and AR are right at the top of Corbin’s list. From our point of view the technology isn’t something we can integrate with yet, and I’m wondering how these technologies will work on the show floor. We don’t yet seem to be at the point where they enhance the event experience, we’re still at the stage where they interrupt it. But you can be sure that we’ll be watching developments in this space and constantly thinking about how we can make use of whatever emerges. My pick is that the next generation of Cardboard or Hololens will give us tools which will let us look at creating a whole new set of experiences – immersive ones – for eventgoers.
So the technologies that I’m excited about for the the first half of the year at least are Microlocation, Maps, and Microphones, followed by the slightly more nebulous Mashups. We’ve got the opportunity to integrate some cutting edge stuff and produce fantastic experiences. I’m fired up about delivering some killer features in 2016.
Ben is CTO at ShowGizmo. He likes clean code, apps which don’t make him think, and not having to read text messages at after parties.