Predictions for Digital and Event Technology: What’s Ahead in 2019

January 23, 2019

Jessica Fritsche

Jessica Fritsche is the Content Marketing Director at Freeman. She is a seasoned journalist and marketer with a passion for technology, innovation, trendspotting and inspiring thought leadership.

Technology evolves faster every day and that’s a great thing when it comes to the event space. This rapid innovation means there are new event technologies available at a constant pace, bringing new ways to collect data, engage audiences, manage details and more.

But how can event professionals stay on top of these new offerings and figure out what best applies to their needs and challenges?

Read on for our predictions on what’s ahead when it comes to digital and event technology in 2019 and beyond. 

Data Is Driving Everything

Analytics augmented by AI

Jo-Anne Kelleway, CEO, Info Salons: “AI is having an impact on creating strategic, next-generation data and analytics, using machine learning techniques to automate data preparation, insight discovery and insight sharing. Organizers will have access to business intelligence that lets them spend less time exploring data and more time acting on the most relevant insights.”

Everyone is measuring everything

Ken Holsinger, Vice President, Digital Solutions: “We will see the continued rise of a more data-driven culture for marketing, operations, finance, etc. Business intelligence will continue to be front and center as organizers are looking to show the returns to their members, exhibitors and sponsors.”

Data privacy and control takes precedence

Jo-Anne Kelleway, CEO, Info Salons: “Privacy is becoming more and more of an issue worldwide. The events industry is building out in-depth analytics to assist with their success but the question will be ‘who owns the data?’ Blockchain platforms will allow attendees to manage their own data and control the access given to organizers.

DIY data integrations

Tom Vamos, Digital Development Manager: “It's now easier than ever for various tools in our industry to automatically share data with no developer involvement. Organizers can use services such as IFTTT and Zapier to move data around based on triggers and events, such as automatically populating information into a document when keywords appear on Twitter. There will be an increased expectation for this functionality across all platforms.”

New Ways to Interact at Events

Events go cashless with virtual cards

Tom Vamos, Digital Development Manager: “Cashless events have been around for some time, usually involving tokens or RFID wristbands. Soon we’ll see virtual event credit cards that can be put in to Apple Pay/Google Pay to further improve transactional efficiencies and provide additional insight to delegate behavior.

New interfaces onsite at events

Jo-Anne Kelleway, CEO, Info Salons: “We have become inseparable from our smartphones, our locations are constantly being tracked, we use voice control and facial recognition to turn on our phones. Voice interfaces could be deployed that act not only as concierge services, but also for event check-in and access control into sessions.”                       

QR codes are back from the dead

Michael Schaiman, Senior Vice President, Digital Experience, Helios: “QR readers no longer require an app download, and now work natively inside iOS devices cameras. Android is moving in a similar direction. Asia is seeing massive utilization and adoption of the QR code as a shortcut to access information, and that will start appearing more and more in the U.S.”

Next-Gen Event Tech On the Rise

AI in the decision-making driver’s seat

Ken Holsinger, Vice President, Digital Solutions: “There are a number of event technologies beginning to harness AI. With so much data available, we’re now at the point where we don’t know what to do with the data we have. We’ll begin to use predictive data through AI to create a more informed decision-making process. We will begin to be able to leave time-consuming, low-level decision-making behind, instead being freed up to be more strategic and creative.”

Devices on the “edge”

Michael Schaiman, Senior Vice President, Digital Experience, Helios: “‘Edge’ will be the new ‘Cloud’, i.e. the big tech industry buzzword. It refers to IOT devices that have processing power and the ability to communicate with one another, as opposed to having to go up to the cloud.”

A virtual web experience with web-based AR and VR

Jon Fox, Senior Vice President, Digital Creative, Helios: “As new phones get more powerful by the day, software is continuing to catch up and users are going to be able to use their own devices to power VR and AR experiences simply by accessing a webpage at an event. Many of the browser companies are releasing new versions that support these web standards.”

Real-Time Connection and Content

Low-latency streaming makes real-time interaction possible

Bill Mott, Director, Digital Services: “Live streaming has always carried a 30-second delay (sometimes more), which hinders the use of real-time engagement (polling, Q&A, etc.). However, new technology is on the rise that will enable a delay of less than two seconds streaming from ‘glass to glass,’ AKA the camera lens to your mobile device. Look for an uptick in virtual event innovation around this new capability.”

Personalization and integration in real time

Ken Holsinger, Vice President, Digital Solutions: “As the infrastructure at convention centers and hotels is getting better and better, the opportunity for technology integration, exchange and automation will grow. From more frequent updates on event apps to more and more web services for attendee engagement and attendee and vendor networking, all are on a much better playing field for providing a more frictionless experience to attendees. Personalization is becoming a real potential opportunity for organizers to enhance and measure experiences.”

Rise of webinars (again)

Bill Mott, Director, Digital Services: “Webinars are so 10 years ago. True. But as the technology has become much easier by which to produce a highly polished webinar, look for organizations to increase spend and effort in communicating to their audience via such mediums.”


Which prediction do you see coming true in 2019?

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