Facebook has once again announced some significant changes that reinforce a firm belief that events is where the tech game is at. Here is what you need to know.
It is once again a great day for event technology. Facebook made announcements that confirm a very keen interest in events. Why is this good news for the event industry?
When Facebook makes such big product announcements a whole ecosystem of developers follow the trend. We've seen it again and again. Airbnb becomes successful, and venue marketplaces start to pop up. Live streaming is living a second life; a multitude of startups pops up, offering variations of crowd streaming.
So What's The News?
Facebook made a few announcements over the last week that have a deep impact on events and how we use technology to enhance live experiences.
1. Facebook VR
While on the surface this may just seem a creepy version of Second Life, the implications are quite substantial for events. Second Life was getting some traction in creating attention for virtual events. You could interact with your avatars in a virtual environment and experience the event online.
You can play chess, handle objects, draw, take selfies. Zuckerberg showed the interaction during the Oculus Connect event. See the video here:
2. Oculus Avatars, Rooms, and Parties
Oculus Avatars are different from the avatars above and are made to represent you virtually in the Oculus environment. They resemble Second Life Avatars and have a billion combinations of customization.
Oculus Rooms are the venues for Avatars. Virtual environments where users meet virtually. Collaborative spaces for avatars to interact.
Oculus Parties are events with groups of up to 8 people where you can interact socially with other users.
3. Facebook Events App
Facebook has announced a standalone app for searching, keeping track and attending Facebook Events.
You can quickly see where your friends are going, who's attending what and sync events with your phone calendar.
You can also take actions such as RSVPing to events.
The implications are quite massive and in line with what we anticipated here. Facebook is betting real resources and capital on making the online and offline meet. They are trying to succeed where many have failed.
Hybrid experiences are still in their infant state. If you've attended hybrid events, you know what I am talking about. Representing online audiences via means of virtual reality is the use of the tool we all asked for, and finally, it is happening.
What they announced is very basic, but it is at the same time revolutionary. Facebook is creating an ecosystem for virtual events to happen and to interact with offline events.
The high investment Facebook made in a standalone app also signals a true belief in the power of social media around events. They are also trying to give a final answer to the primordial question we all have 'What event should I attend next?'
What About You?
Smart events can immediately take advantage of these tools as soon as they get released. Virtual attendees can be involved from home or distributed locations around the world. Their experience can be finally priced similarly to a full attendance ticket.
Up to date event professionals should optimize for Facebook events. The use of Facebook has evolved over the past few years. From being a nonsensical sharing of personal bollocks, it is now a networking and business validated tool where events can count on many sophisticated tools to boost attendance.
Users have also aged, meaning that more decision power is now hanging out on Facebook. This should ring a bell with the MICE industry.
Where Are the Others?
LinkedIn, Twitter - where are you? The other big two of every event social mix are burying themselves into a chronic lack of innovation. The way events are still not taken seriously by these social giants is disheartening. While Snapchat seems to have immediately grasped the value of live experiences, new #eventtech startups keep missing the mark.
If you are a developer creating products for the event industry, you need to start looking into bigger problems, more challenging issues affecting the event industry. Being a me-too product doesn't cut it in 2017.
What should you do next? Inform yourself about the latest changes and think about the match and implications for your target audience. Can you think of ways to monetize this flow of innovation coming your way?
The thing is that such waves are very rare and we have to make the most out of them.
Get informed and get ready as we hope that more developers will follow, things are looking up for #eventtech.