Jaguar Tracks Fans Emotions At Wimbledon

What do luxury sports cars and Wimbledon have in common? Other than an expensive price tag, they both make your pulse race… or so Jaguar says.

The luxury sports automaker collected masses of data to track excitement during the professional tennis tournament last week. By distributing GPS-enabled wristbands to select spectators, they were able to track both atmospheric and biometric levels. The branded cuffs used sensor technology to measure heart rate, audio levels, and crowd movements. While the crowd’s energy was measured through wristbands, overall opinion (sociometric) was determined via social media by using the hashtag #FeelWimbledon.

Partnered with Mindshare UK, Lightwave, and Maido, Jaguar used these metrics to create an emotion-based picture of Wimbledon. The data-driven heat map pulsated when certain players entered the court or key shots were won.

Chris Cardew, Mindshare’s strategy head, explains the visualization in AdWeek.

“When Andy Murray walks onto the court and everyone suddenly shoots up and moves around, that’s about pride and anticipation the match provides the moment in the story and the data validates it.”

Fans were able to view each individual metric (atmospheric, biometric and sociometric) on a live feed with charts, photos and explainers.

While Jaguar literally made it to center court with this marketing gimmick, measuring emotions of spectators isn’t exactly groundbreaking.

In 2014, Beyond Verbal, a company that uses speech to measure emotion raised $3.3 million. Their app, Moodies, tracks speaker’s mood and tone and then displays the results in an animation which users can agree with, disagree and share the results on their social platforms.

Beyond Verbal demonstrated its capabilities last year during IIeX, a market research conference with more than 500 attendees. The voice-reading app was downloaded by attendees and then used to measure their moods throughout the event.

“It was really useful to understand the ebbs and flows of emotional states throughout the day,” said Leonard Murphy, chief editor and principal consultant at GreenBook. “As event planners it made us step back and realize there were some things we could do structurally to the event to reinforce the positive and reduce the negative.”

Although Jaguar’s campaign was more for entertainment purposes than big data, implementing emotion-reading technology could make a serious impact on the structure of major events.

Industry Leader Interview: Cassandra Grabowski With High Beam Events

She doesn’t go to the pool without packing three different types of sunscreen.

“I’m a Type A planner,” admits Cassandra (Cass) Grabowski.

Although it drives her crazy at times, Grabowski’s formulaic nature has contributed to her success as the Vice President of High Beam Events.

Tell me about the path that led you to event management.

I started in Destination Management Services (DMS) in Arizona. DMS provides assistance for corporations that are coming into town. We would arrange transportation to and from the airport, plan activities for the guests to do in between meetings, coordinate their dinner functions, and anything else they needed. And before that I worked for a team building company, also in Arizona, We would put on things like barbecue cook-offs, build a covered wagon events, and all these really fun but silly team building exercises for people to get to know their coworkers. And then following that I went to South Korea for a year to teach English and actually met my fiancé there. He lived in Austin at the time so I ended up moving here with him after our contracts were up. When I moved here I landed a job at High Beam as a seasonal employee. Every year we hire event contractors to help with our South by Southwest planning because that’s our biggest account — it’s really the bread and butter for our business. I was chosen as one of those people to come on for the season, and our company policy is that we don’t hire anyone until they’ve survived South by Southwest planning. From there I got a permanent job and have been working at High Beam for the past five years.

Tell me about the different services you offer and events you plan.

We can help coordinate all different types of events. We’ve done birthday parties to the Tribeza fashion show. We’ve planned non-profit events for Texas Advocacy Project and different schools in the area. And then we do destination management work — we’re looking to really expand that here in Austin with all the hotels that are being built. And then we do our South by Southwest experimental marketing.

What do you think makes High Beam different from other event planning companies?

I think our staff makes us different. We have a lot of people from different backgrounds and everyone contributes in an organic kind of way. The owner, Sam Staples, really allows us to have the creative freedom to continue to grow and work on the projects that we are passionate about. The company is unique and fun because we all love the environment that we are in and we get along so well. On top of that, we really just like creative challenges. We want people to approach us with a wide range of creative projects, even things we haven’t done before. And if it’s something that sounds interesting to us then we’ll take it on even if the budget is lower or higher than normal.

We are always learning and growing. We even do boot camps over the summer to better educate ourselves. Some of our planners right now are taking courses at ACC on design software. We’ve built a tent at a rental company together so that we understand and appreciate what goes into it and how it works. We go to lighting warehouses and do the same thing. We are always trying to educate ourselves and be exposed to the different elements. I think it’s a combination of all those aspects that makes us stand out.

Tell me about one of your highlight events.

A couple years ago we did a really unique activation for Nokia during South by Southwest. We flew in a huge projection dome where you could project from the inside and see in from the outside. It was talked about a lot because it was something that had never been done at the festival before. I think we have a competitive advantage because we helped build the South by Southwest party program so we know everything that’s been done and what works. It’s coming up with those really out of the box ideas that makes us stand out.

We also did the activation with Grumpy Cat and Mashable a couple years ago and that was the most Tweeted event that year.

Personally, I do the interactive opening party every year for the festival. It’s their official kickoff party.

So High Beam is the official South by Southwest event planner?

Yes, we hold the contract to produce all of their official events. We don’t produce all of them because there are just so many, but we do produce a lot of them. That kick off party has been very fun. It was my first party on my first day of South by Southwest. We had around 5,000 people that year but we’ve scaled down a bit since then because it was getting so big. This past year we had the event on the JW Marriot pool deck and that was a great turnout.

What’s your schedule like? What’s a normal week for you?

It definitely changes a lot. My role involves taking a lot of the inquiries and fielding those calls so I have a lot of meetings throughout the day, and I’m also managing our team. We kind of take multitasking to the extreme because we are usually working on 80 things at once — our schedule is really all over the place.

How many events do plan per year?

That’s a tough question because we do so much during South by Southwest. So we did somewhere between 200 to 250 events for this past South by Southwest. We are preparing all year for the festival and that amount of parties. And then the rest of the year is a bit more infrequent. So our planning season is basically August to April for South by Southwest.

What kind of technology do you use to plan and manage these events?

We use FileMaker to do our planning. During events we are always looking for new technology. That’s what we are doing now, during our offseason. We are researching companies all over the U.S. that are doing something interesting that we want to bring to Austin. We are always interested in projections and lighting. A lot of that comes from the High Beam owner who used to be a lighting designer. She’s instilled that into all of us so we are always searching for new and cool technology.

What makes an event successful for you?

Happy clients. I think the best part of an event is seeing the dream come to life and your client happy. It’s like showing them a picture and then creating that exact picture — that’s what I think makes an event successful. It’s the culmination of the entire process.

What’s the most frustrating part about event planning?

The part I hate the most is relying on other people when you build such high expectations on the service that you’re delivering. You have all of these vendors and people who are on board to help create and bring that vision to life, and then somebody drops the ball and doesn’t fulfill what they were supposed to. That’s the most stressful part for me because there’s only so much you can do when that happens. It’s like when a vendor only brings half the lighting you ordered and there’s no time to go back to the warehouse before the event so you just have to make it work. I hate that because so many people spent time creating this beautiful space and now there’s nothing you can do to fix it. I think that’s the most stressful and frustrating part of the job.

What’s the best part of your job?

As far as being at High Beam, it’s the clientele that we’re exposed to here in Austin. You can’t get that everywhere else, unless you’re in a major city. I am surprised all the time by all of the interesting and cool projects that I get to be a part of. I thought that I would have to live in New York or LA to get that same level of experience — it’s amazing that we can have that here. I never dreamed of working with MTV and here we are producing the Woodie Awards every year. The best part of my job is being able to work on those interesting projects with interesting people, and helping bring a vision to life and stand out.

Industry Leader Interview: Chris Perez With Citygram

Three years ago Chris Perez found himself at a crossroads where he had to choose between continuing on the safe path or taking a leap of faith and starting his own digital magazine.

Today the founding editor of Citygram steps out of his perfectly Austin office with a huge smile. He is beaming with pride as he introduces his team of writers and photographers. We walk through the shared work space where trees hang from the ceiling — it perfectly embodies the creative community.

He notices that I’m intrigued by the eclectic decor and begins telling about the origins of the building. It becomes clear that he chose the right path.

Describe Citygram in one sentence.

It’s an Austin lifestyle magazine designed to read on your smart phone and tablet.

What was the inspiration behind it?

I was an engineer at IBM when I started doing photography for Apartment Therapy on the weekends. I needed a creative outlet so I took this random position and didn’t know where it was going to lead me.

I met a lot of people and got connected to the creative culture in Austin when I was doing photography for this national design blog. It was just so energizing. Everyone I met had a story and they were all doing something that they were passionate about. But I was just doing this on the weekend and still worked my full time job during the week. Eventually it became the whole “Do you work for money or do you work for the joy of life?” But I had a home, car, and family to support, so I knew it would be tough.

I needed a business idea out of it.

I knew I wanted to layer all of my skills so that I wasn’t just writing or taking photos. I needed to take advantage of my engineering background too. I loved media and digital magazines, and the ones I liked the most were the ones that were really well designed for a tablet. Austin had nothing like this at the time so that seemed like an opportunity for me. I downloaded the software, I made some concepts and showed it to the people I trust. There was an overwhelming response telling me to go through with it. So that was the start of it.

Why Austin?

It started in Austin because I was connected here through my past media work. It’s a small town where you have less than six degrees of connection, so that really helps you gain traction. And so many people here read media online already, whether it’s a blog or social media, so that also made it easier to punch through.

I got some of the top writers in all the sections that we cover: fashion, arts and culture, design, everything. We gained leverage right away when they used their following and trust to speak on my platform.

What is the best part of your job? What excites you the most?

The best part of my job is that I get to help people. There are a lot of facets to that.

First, I feel like the stories we write highlight people that may be under the radar and don’t get the same attention from other outlets. While many outlets are just pushing out content like a list or short summary, we try to write long stories and do these people justice. This is one of the reasons that we launched in the app space – we don’t have to compete for Google clicks with those sites.

The other part of helping people is all about the team that we’ve developed at Citygram. I love being able to transfer knowledge and feel like I’m helping my team. Today everyone is so multi-talented so I like to challenge my team and have them do multiple things and watch their confidence grow. It’s so rewarding.

What aspects of your job do you find most stressful?

The most stressful part is running a business. It’s figuring it out and then going somewhere with it but not knowing exactly where that is.

You host events and meet-ups. What is the goal with them?

We’re a digital magazine that can be downloaded or deleted at any time so we have to live not just by our space on social media, but also a physical space. Events are one way for us to do that. And the whole brand loyalty aspect. If they like what we do at the event, they will respect what we do as a company too.

It’s outreach. It’s marketing. It’s connection building. It’s brand loyalty.

What has been the highlight event so far?

The last event we had was our biggest one. It was a 3-day festival called One by One Texas that featured 100 Instagram artists and their work. That was very successful.

Instagram is our most popular platform so that’s where the connection was. Everyone spread the word on their own accounts whether it was the food truck catering the party or the artists. Then when the guests showed up, it was even more than they expected. This is the experience I want people to have within our app. It is getting people to check you out and then having those conversions whether it’s at an event or within the app.

How do you select the location and vendors?

At Citygram, we try to be tastemakers of the city and tell you about things that we really love. This works the same with our events. We choose what we would want, so with One by One event it was a lot of barbecue and beer. We choose what we think is the best in town and would make a fun experience.

What about the smaller events like the one where you had a bartender teach guests how to make craft cocktails?

Some of those are pitched to us. We are a media company so restaurants and bars will pitch ideas to us. Sometimes it’s organic and we find each other and other times it’s them asking us to be part of it, but we wouldn’t agree if we didn’t think the event would be cool.

How do you promote these events?

Social media mostly. We post it everywhere but we get the most reach and feedback on Instagram. It’s the media platform of the moment.

What makes an event successful for you?

The amount of people who show up. I always have a number in mind and if it meets or exceeds that number then it’s successful for me. We were hoping for 1,000 people at the One By One event and ended up getting around 3,000 throughout the weekend so that was a success.

In what ways has Citygram changed the way you look at Austin? Has it at all?

It has. There’s good music, art, and design everywhere… but there’s something about the people in Austin. We try to tell interesting stories about people through our app so now when I go around Austin I’m trying to find those people and those stories. When I look around I don’t just see another building, instead I think, “Who is behind that? Who is developing it?”

And then on the business side, you start seeing the linkage and network behind everything. Before Citygram that wasn’t something I looked at. It’s about seeing who the influencers are and realizing things like “oh that restaurant is there because of that person.” You start seeing where those people planted their seeds and how other people are growing from them. It’s really cool to see the lineage and how it all works.

What is the ultimate goal with Citygram?

I want to tell stories. I want to bring back some of the joy that people had with print, whether it is the photos or the long stories that you can spend an afternoon reading. We want to bring that into the digital world. In this fast paced world where people are just pushing out content at such a high frequency, we want to be the breathe of fresh air. I want to give people who are proud of their craft a digital platform to showcase their work.

Anything else that you want people to know about Citygram?

Check out our new issue and let us know what you think. We’re always interested in feedback and respond to everything we receive. Be part of the conversation.

You can download Citygram in the app store (iTunes, Google Play) or check out their site:

Photos courtesy of Citygram. 

Industry Leader Interview: Madeline Fauntleroy With Pier Sixty

From 3,000-person Super Bowl parties to opening nights on Broadway, Madeline (Maddy) Fauntleroy’s job is never uninteresting. However, planning events in New York City is a lot more than glamorous venues and VIP guest lists. Maddy gives us a glimpse into her daily life as an Event Manager at Pier Sixty.


Tell me about the path that led you to event planning in New York City. 

Thanks to city college courses, I ended up graduating high school a semester early and using the ‘hectic pre-college period’ to try and figure out what in the world I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t exactly figure it all out, but I did end up with an internship at The Goleta Historical Society. I worked with the Marketing Director to plan small events and oversee the venue. The internship helped me narrow down my interests and seek acceptance to the Tisch Center for Hotel & Tourism Management at New York University. On a site visit with one of my classes, we ended up at Pier Sixty & The Lighthouse, two event spaces on the Hudson River in New York City, and I’ve been working for Abigail Kirsch Catering Relations at Pier Sixty, The Lighthouse and Current (our brand new venue!) since I graduated in 2012. We plan, cater, and host over 500 social and corporate events per year between our venues. I started as a Sales Assistant with the company and was promoted to Banquet Administrator a year later where I am responsible for managing our 100+ person in-house banquet staff and making sure the details from every department come together to produce a flawless event. I was recently promoted to Event Manager and look forward to planning weddings on my own and running our corporate events!

I’ve seen The Wedding Planner but I’m guessing there’s more to it than what J-Lo shows us. Tell me about the process of planning an event. 

I happen to love that movie and definitely wanted to be a wedding planner after seeing it. While the movie accurately portrays the countless details that go into planning a wedding, there is one part that irritates me a bit… her high heeled shoes and fitted two-piece suites. The day of the wedding I may be on my feet for 12 hours – from the arrival of our vendors and staff all the way through to the last guest’s departure at the end of the night. Realistically, I’d be rolling myself home in a wheel chair after a week of running events in those heels and tight skirts. My respect goes out to any planner pulling off a wedding in high-heeled pumps!

What is your schedule like? Do you have a daily routine?

I am a very routine oriented person, but it’s difficult to maintain a set routine in the event industry. As you’ve probably noticed, people prefer to have parties on evenings and weekends therefore my schedule adjusts accordingly on a weekly basis. Every weekday at 11am our planning team has a “Banquet Event Order” meeting to review the final event details for the next 48 hours. I spend a lot of time in front of the computer corresponding with clients, staff, and vendors. Fortunately, my time in front of the computer is balanced with time on my feet meeting clients and working the night of the event.

What’s the best event you’ve ever planned and why? 

First off, I cannot take full responsibility for any of our events. All of our events are the joint effort of five departments full of extremely talented people. One of our biggest productions was a media event for the 2014 Super Bowl in NYC. The open-air parking lot leading up to the front doors of our Pier Sixty venue was completely enclosed and filled with food vendors from around New York City. There was a massive 25-bartender bar in the middle of the lot along with separate beer stations. The space was filled with over 3,000 guests who entered through a long white tunnel. It was about 10 degrees that day in February so it was a challenge to keep the outdoor space warm, but the event ended up being a great success despite the cold.

Another of my favorite events featured design by David Stark for the opening night of the Broadway musical “The Last Ship.” We had a VIP lounge filled with celebrities like Sting, Blondie, Melanie Griffith and Queen Noor. The VIP lounge was set on our Glass Terrace on the Hudson River with vignettes of leather couches, ottomans, and oriental rugs. The main bar in the ball room was set under a few hundred champagne glasses hanging from silk ribbons — when a guest ordered champagne, a glass was cut from the installation and used for service.

Most recently we featured our brand new venue Current with a cocktail reception that displayed our signature Abigail Kirsch roving carts including a slider cart with crab cake and duck foie gras sliders along with a deviled egg bar and Asian food station (the food was to die for!) Our culinary team did a spectacular job designing the menu and the event perfectly represented the endless opportunities for our new space.

Any event horror stories? 

Always! I don’t want to divulge too much but I’ve seen everything from university seniors who mobbed and completely crushed a square quad bar at their senior formal to the police being called during a wedding due to a badly behaved bride. There are always going to be horrors that pop up unexpectedly and our job is to deal with them in a manner that impacts the fewest number of our guests possible. If we’ve done our job, most of the guests will leave with smiles on their faces and no clue as to what went on behind the scenes.

What kind of technology do you use when planning/ managing events?

Our new venue Current features an entire ceiling of LED lighting covered with wavy white panels. The LED lights can be changed to any color on the color wheel acting as a dramatic mood-setting feature for any event. GOBOs are used often to control the shape of light being emitted. We use GOBOs for many corporate events to display the company’s logo. We’re currently looking into a coat check system that scans and logs every item onto an iPad and texts your coat check ticket number to your phone. The technology is amazing and opportunities seem to be quite endless so long as the client is willing to pay!

What is the most frustrating part of planning process?

I used to get very frustrated with all the last minute changes. I’ve since learned to roll with the punches as it’s the nature of our business. We are constantly making adjustments based on ever changing guest counts and table changes. Dietary restrictions have also become an important part of our planning process. It is no longer enough to have a fish and vegetarian alternate available, we make sure to check in with client’s regarding all guest’s dietary needs including gluten-free, vegan, dairy free, sugar-free, cilantro-free, no strawberries, no nuts, no shellfish (the list is endless!)

What makes an event successful for you? 

My success is directly measured by the success of our clients in reaching the goals set in place for their event. If we are planning a fundraising event, we succeed by creating an environment that effectively displays auction items and by supplying ample amounts of liquor to encourage bidding. A wedding is more personal and depends on the planner’s ability to create a day that will go down in history as one of the happiest of the couples’ lives. Ultimately my success is measured by the happiness of our guests at the end of the event. The positive feedback from guests is how we know we’re doing a good job.

There are so many steps and “to-do’s” when planning an event. How do you manage all of them?

To-do lists! I write down everything and keep a detailed calendar on my PowerBook. I never expect to get through the entire to-do list by the end of the day; I simply move the unchecked items to the following day’s list. I also try to respond to emails on my phone during my 30-minute walk to the office. This way I face a much more manageable inbox by the time I arrive. Writing everything down sounds simple but it is the technique that keeps me on track. I have become very good at prioritizing, since I know I won’t get everything done, I make sure to at least do the most important parts of the list.

What is the best part of your job? 

The best part of my job is the fact that I get to design an environment for people to gather and create positive memories. I also love to watch the spaces transform from one day to the next. It’s incredible to take a blank space, dress it up, tear it down and then do it again in a completely different style the next day. I’m blessed to work with an amazing group of people who love what they do and make going to work something I can look forward to.

SXSW Without A Badge

Don’t want to spend $800 or more on a SXSW badge? Luckily for you, there are thousands of people every year who do South by Southwest without a badge. Here are a few ideas for those of you are who are courageous enough to brave the streets of Austin, TX, during SXSW without a badge or a wristband. 

  • Firstly, it’s important to note that in order to attend many SXSW (especially music and film events), technically you don’t have to have a badge. Many times, if you’re willing to camp out early and get a good spot in line, you can get in immediately following folks who have badges or wristbands. So if there’s an event you really want to go to, go for it! Just know that even though you wait in line, there’s still a pretty decent possibility you won’t get in. At most SXSW events, admission is granted in the following order.  
1. Badges
2. Wristbands
3. Everyone else in line (you’ll likely pay a cover so bring cash)
  • Attend smaller shows. If you are looking to discover new music, then doing SXSW without a badge may actually be in your best interest. While the well-known bands will have mile-long lines and require ID, wrist band and blood sample to get in, many of the best new artists in the country world head to Austin every year for SXSW, and they’re not always in the official venues. If there’s a stage at SXSW (or a corner, or a bridge, or a bar, etc.) you can bet a band will be playing there 24/7. Most of these smaller shows are shorter (30-45 minutes) and either free or low cost (think $5).
  • RSVP to everything. We really can’t stress this enough. If you plan ahead, you can get on some selective lists without a badge or wristband. In addition to following social media accounts to hear about new events and get on the lists, we recommend scouring the internet for SXSW RSVP options. It’s a good organizational idea to create a separate email address for RSVPs and monitor it closely. 

The moral of the story is that SXSW is a unique experience for each person. If you don’t buy a badge but are willing to wait in line, plan ahead and be flexible, you will still have a fantastic time. It’s good practice to pick one to two things you definitely want to do each day but don’t be afraid to let the wind take you from there. Some of your best SXSW experiences will likely be unplanned surprises! 

Hungry for more SXSW details? Check out our other articles here.

CES Shows The Future Of Events

CES 2015 is officially in the books. With over 170,000 attendees and 3,600 exhibitors we watched the hype unfold. For a week we heard all about everything from self driving cars, to 3D printers all the way to multi-tasking washing machines. We’ve combed through the impressive list of products and have compiled the best products for event managers!

Nabi Big Tab:
Imagine the possibilities of a 43, 55 or 65 inch tablet available at your booth. The products you showcase, the demos you’re able to perform. These tablets will let your attendees be hands on. No need for slide shows or presentations, let them dive in themselves.

Compute Stick:
What on earth is a compute stick you may ask? Oh you know, just a computer that fits in the palm of your hand! This Intel Compute Stick will come loaded with Windows 8.1 or Linux, so there is no longer a need to bring all of your big desktops to your booth. All you need is a screen and your stick and your good to go.

SuperStar BackFloat Speaker:
How could we not include a speaker designed by Shaq! He teamed up with Monster to create the SuperStar BackFloat, a wireless, waterproof, Bluetooth speaker. This may not be necessary at an average event, but for those outdoor soirees you’re throwing, this is a must-have!

Allie Camera from IC Real Tech:
This is a product just perfect for event managers. This camera has duel 360-degree cameras for full coverage viewing. It allows you to live-stream and control from your mobile device. The best part is the price point which make it a completely affordable option to record or live-stream your events so no one misses a beat.

CES was buzzing with wearables this year and one of our favorites for event managers is the Ring. This product also happens to be a 2015 CES Innovation Award honoree, so don’t just take our word for it! All it takes to use is one gesture. Unlock the potential of customized gestures with this, still stylish, Ring wearable device.

Open Source Virtual Reality can not be missed! While it may not be the easiest to implement at your events, since it’s more targeted towards gamers, I think we’re going to see a lot of growth in this area over the next year. It will be interesting to see how this evolves, but certainly should not be overlooked. If you’re hosting any type of gaming event, this is a must have!

Drones with Spatial Awareness:
In 2014, we saw the rise of the drone. The technology is quickly improving and we predict drone usage will become much more mainstream in 2015. With the affordability and the ability for video and photos from such a unique perspective, drones at conferences should become commonplace. Intel debuted Real Sense, which actually gives the drones senses so that they avoid objects they may be approaching. This is a big first step in drone safety and we can expect to see more of this as drone usage evolves.

E Ink Prism Color Changing Walls:
We had to save the best for last, as this product is the perfect match for event managers. E Ink has developed Prism, a material that lets you change the colors and patterns of walls on the spot. Imagine the ability to have custom textured exhibits or animated walls. Every exhibit could be custom for every tradeshow or conference because designers have the ability to customize endless options of changeable colors and patterns.

While we’d all like the self-driving Mercedes-Benz, for the time being we may just have to settle on some of these new up-and-coming products to make our lives, as event managers, a little easier and a lot more innovative!



Event Trends 2015

Predictions: Event Trends 2015

This is the time of year where it is important to reflect on the current year and predict what is to come in the next year. The predictions for event trends in 2015 are here. The ever popular Event Manager Blog published their annual report, citing that the word defining the event industry in 2015 is “drench”.  They state that, “The event of 2015 will drench attendees. It will make them feel they own the space and the content being presented. The role of technology will be crucial in facilitating this incredibly immersive experience.” View their full report and all predictions here: 10 Event Trends for 2015.

Corbin Ball Associates also released a top 10 trends for 2015 list and we think they’ve hit the nail on the head with these predictions in particular:

  • Mobile event apps have become mainstream and will continue to grow in 2015.
  • BLE (Bluetooth low energy) and iBeacon will provide a wealth of new options for planners and participants.
  • Analytics will emerge as one of the most important benefits of mobile event apps.
  • The transition from “attendee” to “participant” will continue.
  • Aerial (drone) video will provide new perspective for event photography (if regulatory hurdles are passed).

The IMEX Group has identified these as four key trends for 2015:

  1. ‘Play’ gives new meaning to profit – According to IMEX guest speaker, Creativity Guru, Rhea Blanken, Einstein reputedly said: “Play is the highest form of research.” Gartner has been predicting for the last few years that in 2015 up to 40 percent of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification as their primary mechanism for transforming business operations
  2. 50 Shades of Apps – Apps continue to be ‘sexy’ (in advertising parlance) and their strength and novelty will be unbounded in 2015. But this is not apps for app’s sake, as paper swaps or standalones. Rather meeting and event apps will be seamlessly linking across other media platforms, and especially websites, in line with customer/community market needs and pain points, deeply connected to real-time analytics and incorporating interactions such as live messaging, polling and other instant engagement and feedback mechanics.
  3. Let’s Take it “Outside” – In 2015 expect to see meeting spaces and formats going through even more of a revolution as the principles of meeting design become more firmly embedded throughout the supply chain. Where wifi allows set meetings free to ‘roam’ it also creates a subtle pressure to be ‘always on’.
  4. Wellness is Fit as a Fiddle – Beyond drinking water, eating protein-laden nuts and taking a quick, rejuvenating massage there is a higher level of spiritual awareness starting to make its way into meeting keynotes, sessions and formats.

So what do we think?!

The High Attendance team put their heads together and we have some thoughts around some of these predictions, as well as some new predictions of our own.

  1. We completely agree with Corbin & Associates and IMEX, we too believe that we will see a significant boost to gamification during events in 2015. We saw a little bit of it during 2014, like at the Dell UnConference, and each time it was a huge success with organizers and participants alike. Event gamification will continue to get more advanced, the attendees will truly turn into active participants and a whole new door of possibilities will be opened.
  2. Traditional event management tools for organizers will not go away, but they will become simplified. Event managers do not have time to produce tens or hundreds of events a year while using and maintaining multiple tools for each event. The need for spreadsheets, an event invitation and registration site, a mobile check-in app, analytics platform, Salesforce, Marketo or Eloqua and so on is just crazy! It’s an antiquated way of putting on events and we’re seeing a shift away from this. Out of the box just doesn’t work for everyone – there is a need for a customized tailored solution to simplify and streamline this process into one tool, like we’ve done at High Attendance (Captix).
  3. Personalization will rise. With today’s technology, the ability to access so much data is right at our fingertips and the tools are making it easy to connect on a personal level. At events, the use of NFC, RFID and iBeacons allow organizers the ability to follow the participants around, know exactly what they’re looking at, where they’ve been and who they are talking to throughout the event. This knowledge allows event staff to personalize communications, messaging and follow-ups.
  4. There will be greater pressure to see ROI from events. With event budgets expected to increase, the need for clear data, easily showing ROI (Return On Investment), will become critical. Executives want to see what the return is on this increased budget and it will be on the event managers to provide this data. Something we hear consistently from event managers is that they feel they are constantly trying to prove their worth and lobby on behalf of the need for events; ROI is the simplest way in which this is accomplished.


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What are your thoughts? We want to hear your predictions!