Ever wanted to walk in your attendees’ shoes? Experience the event the way they do? Understand why they would flock to one booth and desert another? This requires reliable real-time data and insight into your customers’ journey through your event.
The depth and richness of the data you can collect now is unprecedented. From footfall and adoption rates to more qualitative data, like opinions and biometric happiness-related measurements, you can dive further into the attendee experience than ever.
But how do you know what to collect? What data leads to actionable insights that improve your event year over year? And how should you collect it?
While check-ins and surveys have become staples, they don’t necessarily deliver the richest data available. Event apps offer real engagement metrics, but are there alternatives that let you collect them while keeping attendees’ attention on the event rather than their smartphones?
The answer: wearables.
They are about to change events for event planners, exhibitors, and attendees.
In this article, we will review some exciting developments in wearable tech and show you how you can use them to improve everybody’s experience. We’ll address the following questions:
- keyboard_arrow_right What wearables are available on the market?
- keyboard_arrow_right Why is it important to consider them?
- keyboard_arrow_right How do they compare to similar functions on event apps?
What Are Wearables?
When we talk about wearables, we are referring to those devices that basically reinvent accessories or items of clothing with a new layer of functional technology. What usually comes to mind first are health and fitness related items (e.g. Fitbits) or Smartwatches. But there is a lot more to it: think glasses, clothing, earwear, even tattoos.
The market for wearable devices is expanding quickly with a forecast increase of 26% between 2018 and 2019 (as shown in Gartner’s latest research).
IDC research also predicts a rise in eyewear and other clothing with built-in tech that capitalizes on the growing interest in smart assistants.
So chances are that you will find them everywhere in a not so distant future. Here are the main types of wearables that you might want to consider for your next event:
- keyboard_arrow_right Smart Badges
- keyboard_arrow_right Wristbands
- keyboard_arrow_right Smartwatches
- keyboard_arrow_right Earwear (e.g. real-time translation for international conventions)
- keyboard_arrow_right Eyewear (e.g. facial recognition on smart glasses)
- keyboard_arrow_right Clothing (e.g. recharge your phone as you go through your T-shirt)
The first three on the list are now widely used, and event engagement platform klik is already making advancements in using smart wearables to gain event data and convey those insights through their software.
While the other ones still need more technological improvement to completely integrate within an event strategy, they are exciting developments for the future!
How Do Wearables Compare?
Wearables collect data passively at all times, without any cost to engagement or concern over response or participation rates (another advantage).
Event apps are great for aggregating the data and providing a complete dashboard for the attendees and exhibitors alike, but they only generate data when people actively decide to use them. Badges require an army of QR code-scanning personnel at every entrance or booth.
While these remain necessary and useful at events, wearables can be used to bolster data collection. Wearables collect data passively, in real-time, through participation in event activities themselves; attendees are not required to scan something, answer questions, or enter the data manually.
Immediately actionable insights.
Real-time data can be collated into dashboards and translated into feedback on areas of improvement, which you can use to make adjustments during the event. This is a huge advantage over slower data-collection methods, like surveys, which take time to process and are mostly used to provide feedback for the next event.
Wearables require less in the way of onsite manpower. While wearables might require an initial set-up of infrastructure and hardware, depending on the wearable, the onsite staff required to manage them during the event is less than most alternatives.
Many partners like klik include an onsite staff member from their own team to assist. As such, wearables make it easier to get insights without delay and with minimal manpower involved – an advantage over data collection methods that consume a lot of time/manpower but yield comparatively limited benefits, like post-event surveys.
More productive meetings.
More focused attendees means higher productivity. Wearables offer a controlled environment that delivers everything the attendee needs to navigate the event – without sending them to their smartphone, where the chance of distraction is particularly high. (How many times have you pulled out your phone to set a timer and been distracted by a text message?)
The wearer rarely has to stop what they’re doing to feed the device information. Even if they do, their interaction with the device is minimal and limited to that action.
Better face-to-face interactions.
Connecting with others finding business opportunities, and learning are the main reasons why people attend events, making it important to keep people engaged with each other. Technology should boost these aims rather than distract from them.
While event apps are very useful, they can reinforce an already problematic behavior: interacting more with their phones than with other human beings.
Wearables, on the other hand, can easily capture another person’s information, just by touching two attendees’ wristband together or clicking on a badge. This information can then be retrieved later on through the event app. For example, klik smart badges, sleeves, and buttons allow attendees to exchange information with a single “click” of the wearable.