By Christine Frank
Future meetings will be more accessible, more “clean,” better tracked, and more personalized.
An unintended consequence of the two-year slowdown or outright cancellation of in-person meetings as a result of COVID-19 is the realization of the benefit of, first, meetings being held completely online, and then hybrid meetings.
With the pandemic ongoing and the potential emergence of variants, more than 78% of event planners see alleviating concerns over safety as crucial for hybrid events, according to an Interprefy study. Vendors have rushed in to address these concerns.
Intelligent Hybrid Event Management
Onsite services leader Omnievent offers “Intelligent Hybrid Event Management.” This package includes:
- Adjusted registration pricing for attendees who attend from home
- Options for speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors to have a virtual and live presence
- Live streaming of onsite sessions including downloadable content
- Individually packaged hygienic registration supplies including badge holders, lanyards, pre-printed all-in-one badges, and promotional items
- Plexiglas partitions at the registration table to protect staff and attendees
- No-touch check-in options
Hybrid meetings increase the likelihood of attendance from those who cannot afford travel or are otherwise confined to home; those who find crowds and enclosed spaces difficult; and those geographically isolated. As an unintended consequence of that consequence—greater audiences from hybridization—meetings are now, well, bigger. Audiences are drawn from larger pools of people, including worldwide.
Remote Simultaneous Interpretation (RSI)
Real-time translation services can dramatically increase participation by removing language barriers. Remote simultaneous interpretation (RSI) software allows attendees to select their language—no need for accommodating interpreters. RSI supplier Interprefy sources the interpreters, who then work remotely. Eight percent of their respondents were planning multilingual events this year.
AI company Summa Linguae produces a guide for writing for a global audience, with suggestions like these:
- Adapt language and graphics for an international audience. Be mindful of untranslatables, such as cultural expressions, idioms, and jokes advising speakers of language “traps” like words that have multiple meanings or a risky meaning in another language.
- Frame suggestions in a positive manner: “Do this” rather than “never do. . . “
- Be mindful of telephone numbers: include the country code first, and nothing cute like 1-800-GET-AWAY (difficult even for attendees from one country).
- Use the simplest form of verbs: “use” rather than the rarely needed “utilize” or “build new” for “reconstruct.”
- Use words consistently. If you are demonstrating software, stick with “press”; don’t mix it with “enter,” “push,” “click,” or “hit.”
Entrance and Attendance Management
Many local governments have established new precautionary measures, including having a digital visitor list for contact tracing.
Ungerboeck’s newest multilingual feature, Visitor Tracking, was developed to help keep records of event attendee lists and more. It will allow a self-serve sign-in for visitors with the option of asking about recent travels or current state of health and create an alert for any high-risk attendees. The app also has an option to send the attendee an email, including a unique check-in code to be scanned at the entrance of the venue.
Similarly, the CrowdPass Messenger platform may require prospective attendees to upload their vaccination cards or test results. It is customizable as to what questions may be asked. It also enables sending emails to users. The approval email sent directly from the app then serves as the ticket to the event.
Physical and Virtual Safety
The topic of safety will continue to be prominent through the next year, including the event sector. Expect to continue to see pre-screening requirements, socially distanced layouts, protective personal equipment, specialized cleaning crews, and advanced air-filtration systems.
EventScan offers on-site testing and PCR tests through Vac Verify. Vaccinated guests can be cleared for entry, and non-vaccinated ones receive a rapid antigen test, with results verified within minutes.
Data Collection During and After Events
Once everyone’s been safely admitted, big data can help event planners conserve resources by providing instant feedback.
Bluetooth low energy (BLE) event beacons, small radio transmitters that broadcast BLE signals within a given range, work both in live environments and virtual events, tracking clicks, how long a user remains in a presentation, and who they interact with. One such is SmartTrac by Hubvents, a small two-way beacon attached to each attendee’s lanyard, with proximity sensors in exhibit booths, meeting lounges, meeting rooms, and other areas. This can provide companies valuable insights into who their target demographic is and what they want. They can also work for more mundane tasks such as determining which rooms need refreshments refilled or where more staff is needed.
Christine Frank is a contributing writer from St. Louis.