What Will Attending an Event Be Like In 2020?

What Will Attending an Event Be Like In 2020?
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Smartphones have fundamentally changed the way we order food, get a taxi, and connect with our friends. So why does attending an event still feel like it did in 1995? Sure, you might be able to present a QR code for scanning, but ultimately, the vast majority of events are supported by an infrastructure that fails to incorporate any of the meaningful technological advances made in the last 20 years.

Thankfully, that’s changing. Within five years, event technology is poised to radically transform every aspect of the event experience.

Here’s how attending an event in 2020 will be different than today:

You’ll be buying your ticket in an app, and not on web/mobile web.

Why? The experience is better, hands down. Reading yet another fluff piece about the enduring dominance of Duke’s basketball dynasty and get the urge to buy a ticket to a game? You’ll be able to do it right in the app. As marketers get smarter about how to use deep linking technologies to serve full-service ticketing experiences within different app environments (e.g. ESPN for tickets), we will see this dynamic become more prevalent.

You’ll lose the ticket and enjoy seamless Bluetooth event access.

In five years, it will be standard to have your ticket validated via a unique, low-frequency bluetooth emission from your phone. That’s it. You will literally just walk into the venue. The technology for this exists today, but it’s only being used in places where a tech-focused company controls the entire event experience. 

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You’ll be paying for stuff at the event with your ticketing app.

Ticketing companies are going to have a huge opportunity to be first movers in mobile commerce; you will soon be able to pay using your ticketing app. Your credit card info will either be embedded into the QR code on your ticket, or you will be able to use Bluetooth to pay with your ticketing app using a next generation POS system.  

You are going to do a lot more than buy tickets from your “ticketing” app.

Mobile monetization is not about advertising. It's about understanding the latent intent of your installed base and connecting users with a purchasing opportunity. The latent intent of event attendees is well understood and their behaviors are predictable. For a concert, there are some obvious integrations that can drive tremendous value throughout your evening.

First, you need to get to the venue (hey, Uber), probably want to have dinner before (thanks, OpenTable), you’re certainly open to buying some band swag (E-Commerce/POS), find a place to have a nightcap (Yelp), and get a ride home (Uber, Pt. 2) to your just-in-time hotel (HotelTonight). Ticketing companies understand this, and their apps are already beginning to provide extremely creative and authentic ways to connect you with your needs before you know even realize you have them – all without leaving the app.

Event discovery in your ticketing apps will actually work – and you’ll actually use it.

Sure, “discovery” was 2010’s buzzword, but guess what? From the user’s perspective, event discovery is still abjectly terrible. The landscape (or perhaps graveyard) of participation reflects this -- companies that dedicated themselves to helping users find events have largely failed. Eventbrite is one possible exception, though discovery is largely an immaterial and marginalized portion of their value proposition.

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In the next five years, there will be significant consolidation in the ticketing space – and those that dominate will become de facto discovery engines. You will have a few dedicated ticketing apps installed on your device, and through these you will be able to search for relevant events, set preferences, and get alerts when events that match your interest criteria are announced.

Your event app will be the next big social network…if they’re smart.

Ticketing is an incredibly effective user-acquisition strategy; people simply download apps to access their tickets. Ticketing companies have begun focusing on ways to leverage their installed bases, including pushing people to live-event chat rooms, connecting users, building permanence through user profiles, aggregating content from other publishing platforms, and becoming maniacal about the same data traditional consumer apps use to drive adoption.

Brands will be reaching you through your ticketing app…and you might even like it.

Think branded push notifications, high-quality content being placed in event-specific publishing platforms, and logo placement on digital tickets – all with clear, direct actions for the user to take. And that’s just the beginning. Incorporate the ability to meet latent demand through cashless systems, dynamic promotions, and evolving event footprints, and you begin to see why event sponsorship is about to get a major facelift.  

So what will it be like to attend an event in five years? Yeah, you’ll probably still have the self-important bouncers that let the club owner’s friends and gaggles of teenage girls without ID or tickets in before you. But pretty much everything else will improve.  

This article was written by a member of the AlleyNYC contributor network. AlleyNYC is one of the world’s largest innovation hubs, helping foster the growth of startups in its flagship location in New York City. Entrepreneur Media is a partner and investor in AlleyNYC. If you would like to learn more about AlleyNYC and how to apply for membership visit here.

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