Applied Science: How Digital Disruption Is Revolutionizing The Events Industry From virtual reality boosting attendance and increasing revenue to big data being utilized to anticipate and exceed attendee expectation, here's how tech innovations have disrupted old-school tactics.

By Vee McDermott

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When it comes to bringing people together, advancing technology affords countless opportunities to not only elevate how we do things, but to also re-evaluate the way we approach their execution. While live events have definitely returned following the break caused by the COVID-19 crisis, virtual/hybrid events are here to stay.

In fact, according to recent statistics, "a whopping 72% of event organizations say that virtual event technology will play a crucial role in their event strategy" as they move ahead into the future. It's also worth noting that due to experiences throughout the coronavirus pandemic, almost 73.6% of event planners say they are now more skilled in technology usage.

As an admitted sci-fi nerd, I take great pride in being well informed on the latest trends and innovations on offer in the industry and beyond. For instance, the first time I saw a hologram, I was overtaken by mind-blowing excitement; it was like seeing something straight out of Star Trek. And that speaks to the revolution we're currently witnessing in the events scene, with technology transforming traditional methods. Virtual reality is boosting attendance and increasing revenue, big data is being utilized to anticipate and exceed attendee expectations, branded event applications and other tech innovations have disrupted old-school tactics.

Related: Sharjah Media City Chairman Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa Talks Venture Building, Startups, And Success Rates

Today, the industry has developed a techno-superiority complex- it's all about who can do it first, who can do it the best, and who can do it the biggest. And in this brave new world where micro-events reign supreme, clients expect even more within shorter deadlines and even tighter budgets. As such, embracing trends and researching innovative ways to heighten audience experiences is what powers the evolution of our industry.

As an agency, we at BE. Experiential pride ourselves on not just creating events, but being the strategic architects of experiences. To put it simply, we are artists bringing art to life. As such, we felt we needed to adapt with the times by adding tech-specific services such as augmented reality, hybrid events, holograms, unique light and stage designs, drone shows, and projection mapping to our agency's portfolio. I mean it's not exactly Rise of the Machines; we've simply concluded that a little projection won't hurt nobody!

However, technology can never replace the human need for connection, period. According to a recent university study, "social interaction is essential to every aspect of our health. Research shows that having a strong network of support or strong community bonds fosters both emotional and physical health, and is an important component of adult life." Having said that, technology itself is not a blatantly bad thing, we must simply caution against developments that lead away from core human experiences, which are at the heart of what make events events.

Technological advancements provide us with easier, faster, and more effective communication. Moving beyond the limitations of reality versus the dream sphere, this soon-to-be post-COVID-19 world demands adaptation. By adopting the ideology of working smarter (and not harder), and with the introduction of what have now become key everyday tools, technology has provided us with a better way. The path ahead has been made clear, with technology illuminating the way. And far from just allowing it, I think we should warmly, eagerly embrace it.

Related: Standing The Test Of Time: Dubai-Based DLC Events Owner Lorraine Ludman On Thriving In Her Industry For 28 Years

Vee McDermott

Project manager, BE. Experiential

A New York City native, Vee McDermott has been working in the events industry's private, government, live entertainment, and experiential realms for over a decade.  For the past six years, she has cultivated her career within the region as a freelance event project manager, specializing in the creative and strategic planning of various events, including festivals, concerts, conferences, fashion shows, brand experiences, and luxury and automotive product launches. When Vee’s not working full-time as a project manager at BE. Experiential, you can usually find the “self-proclaimed culture junkie” attending any one of Dubai’s numerous artistic events, and/or attempting to set a new binge-watching world record.  

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