How 5G Will Enable Better Audience Engagement at Events

November 24, 2020

Ray McCarthy Bergeron

As Digital Experience Director, Ray McCarthy Bergeron leads InVision Communications’ growing portfolio of digitally native and integrated work. Operating at the intersection of creativity, technology, and storytelling, he develops innovative and strategically grounded digital solutions that drive audience engagement.

Imagine an events ecoysystem where speakers can present remotely via engaging holograms. Where online events can have unlimited attendees and virtual reality can transport those attendees to unexpected and immersive environments. Where brands can geolocate customers at an event, make relevant recommendations based on their past buying behaviors, and distribute hyper-personalized content every step of the way. 5G technology will soon make it all possible.

With ultra-low latency, massive network capacity, and superior reliability, 5G — the fifth generation mobile network — is poised to reinvent the mobile ecosystem, connecting nearly everyone and everything. And it’s a development that will have a transformative impact on audience engagement.

Indeed, before 3G arrived in the early 2000s, we couldn’t have envisioned how mobile data would change our lives. When 4G penetrated the market a decade later, mobile broadband shifted the paradigm once more. And with the broad adoption of 5G — by 2023, a great many of us will be walking 5G hotspots — the influence will be markedly greater.

There’ll be no more breaking the Internet.

Any event marketer who’s tried to prompt a big social media moment but got stymied by sluggish uploads knows the pain of bad bandwidth. 5G will change that. Brands will be able to drive almost limitless interactivity, without compromising the inner workings of the web — or the smooth execution of their brand experience. It’s why an increasing number of venues are investing in 5G.

Thanks to this technology, you can reach exponentially larger audiences, via virtual and hybrid events. Your remote audiences can have an experience just as rich as that of their in-person peers. And by delivering optimum connectivity for your in-person audiences, we can amp up opportunities for their engagement. Consider the potential impact on your experience when you can stream videos, issue audience surveys, invite participation in live activations, leverage interactive tools, and more, in near-instantaneous fashion.

5G will effectively transform mega-events into one-to-one engagements.

As attendees navigate your event, you’ll have access to such detailed information about them that you can hyper-personalize their experience. You can serve up custom content that compels them to visit a specific activation based on their past buying behaviors; you can help them experience your brand before they buy; you can organically trigger the kind of next steps that will usher them through the sales funnel; and you can keep them engaged and entertained with Easter eggs that pop up along their path. In sum, 5G will enable you to become prescriptive to their needs.

It’s a bit like the world of Minority Report arriving a couple decades sooner than the film predicted.

Brand experiences will be increasingly immersive.

Enabling total fluidity between the digital and physical worlds, 5G will inspire and power innovations that are more immersive and more engaging than ever.  

As phones and other mobile devices become more powerful and portable, we’ll be able to deliver high-quality, high-fidelity connected experiences without requiring your audience to be tethered to the equivalent of the high-cost fiber that’s delivers the Internet to your office or home. 

Augmented reality and virtual reality, mixed reality and extended reality may all soon move from novelty to standard fare, thanks to the secure, stable connectivity 5G affords. And as 5G matures, novel technologies are sure to emerge.

They’ll be seamless, too.

In live events, the arrival of 5G means presenters can set up for breakout sessions and keynotes in seconds, instead of fiddling with cables. Attendees need not bother with downloading event apps or plug-ins, as they can engage fully through a website on any browser. And content consumed even via phone — whether a presentation, a full-length movie, or a robust gaming experience — won’t be delayed by buffering. 

It allows you to give event attendees what they want: The ability to step out for a cup of coffee, seamlessly bringing the keynote presentation with them on their phone. The ability to peek into any given session’s video stream, reducing a need to make an Olympic 15-minute run to a breakout that ultimately didn’t even suit their interests.

If we’re trying to use technology to solve for customer’s pain points, this certainly fits the bill.

By embracing and planning for 5G today, brands will be ready to deliver the kind personalized, immersive, and seamless experiences that will, before too long, be the price of entry. By taking it one step further — experimenting with 5G, proactively and purposefully — we will be prepared to maximize marketing creativity, audience engagement, and business impact.

InVision Communications SVP of Strategic Solutions Jon Paul Potts and Tim Smart, InVision’s VP of Experience Delivery and Senior Production Designer, also contributed to this post.

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