Wearable tech is not a new phenomenon. Electronic devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers are already established products used by the masses. But the technology is evolving, and its advancements continue to bring a wealth of benefits to the event space for both planner and attendee alike.
What is wearable technology?
In simple terms, a wearable device is a hands free gadget driven by a microprocessor, with the ability to send and receive information via the internet. Generally, they are worn as an accessory or embedded into an item of clothing. The most common devices used in the events space are smartwatches, smart badges and wristbands.
Whilst the future of wearables seemingly knows no bounds (the technology can even be implanted into the body or tattooed onto the skin!), what practical uses and benefits can the currently available devices bring to your next event?
The benefits of wearable technology for event attendees
Streamlined experience – Time is a valuable commodity for the event attendee. Lengthy waiting times for registration or breakout sessions can severely impact on their overall experience.
By utilising wearable technology at your next event, you can streamline otherwise time consuming processes, offering more opportunity for real time engagement. What’s more, some wearable technologies allow you to notify attendees of upcoming sessions through light paging, meaning they can effectively manage their time and make the most of all your event has to offer.
Efficient networking – For many attendees, networking is a priority on the event experience checklist. However, business cards are easily misplaced and manually entering contact details into a mobile device is both time consuming and distracting. The result of these outdated processes is ineffective and redundant networking.
Wearables use Near Field Communication (NFC) technology that allows the immediate transfer of information between devices in close proximity. Attendees can easily exchange details by simply tapping their wearables. Data is accessible post event through their personal profiles, and time is better spent building valuable connections face to face.
Increased access to information – The amount of information on offer at any given event can be overwhelming, so it may seem counterproductive to offer more. But allowing attendees to choose the materials they access is likely to lead to increased engagement and better information retention.
By installing touchpoints around your event space where supporting resources are downloadable via wearable technology, you offer a personalised educational experience. The attendee can access and save information of interest for a later date without detracting from the real time event experience.
The benefits of wearable tech for event planners
Instant access to data – Data collection is an essential part of the event planning process. It allows you to evaluate success, identify areas for improvement and assess audience engagement.
Post event surveys and feedback are time consuming, and even efficient methods of data collection (such as those conducted through an event app) require attendee participation. Wearables, on the other hand, collect data in real time without the need of input from the wearer. Your audience is free to enjoy your event as you gain instant access to their activities and levels of participation. You can even use this real time data to make changes as the event unfolds, such as managing footfall.
Increased attendee engagement – A successful event requires maximum attendee engagement. You want your audience to be fully focused on the event experience at all times, without external distraction. And the most prominent distraction in the event space is an attendee’s smartphone.
The majority of actions needed to navigate and participate in an event can be managed by wearable technology, meaning attendees get more face to face, and less screen time. Ultimately, this leads to increased engagement and a far more productive event experience.
A sustainable solution – Sustainability is an increasing concern among event planners. What small changes can you implement to make a big difference? Alongside all their technical capabilities, wearables are also an environmentally friendly solution.
They eliminate masses of paperwork, marketing materials and resources by digitalising the whole process. They remove the need for nametags and business cards. And, dependent on your wearable of choice, they generally have a lifespan that justifies the impact of their initial production. Whilst it may seem like a small step, by adopting sustainable practices you encourage your attendees to do the same, and that can lead to big results.
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