Now more than ever, delegates crave a memorable and interactive experience from events, with technology increasingly looking to enable this. From immersive tools and live streaming options to mobile apps that offer greater levels of personalisation, CEI Asia looks at the next big things in event technology and what planners can expect for 2017.

Live streaming

Social media sites are increasingly getting in on the live streaming act, with Instagram Live joining the likes of Facebook Live and Twitter’s established Periscope. Instagram’s option includes videos that disappear as soon as the broadcast ends, and which are not available to replay (à la Snapchat) – which should encourage immediate views – particularly from those who have a fear of missing out.

Uniplan appoints new MD in Hong Kong
Uniplan appoints new MD in Hong Kong
Brand break-up: When event sponsorship goes wrong
Brand break-up: When event sponsorship goes wrong
Why the Alibaba conference marks the future of events
Why the Alibaba conference marks the future of events

“We believe that events need to be available live online for those who are unable to attend in person,” says Jennifer Chan, field marketer, Greater China at Meltwater. “Participants no longer need to be present at the venue at the particular time to contribute to an event.”


Mobile events app provider Double Dutch added several new features in 2016 to its live engagement platform, including the ability to personalise in-app content. It also devised an in-built business card scanner for Global Initiatives’ Responsible Business Forum in Singapore, enabling details to be instantly added to phone contacts. 

Tactify’s Tappcards, meanwhile, resemble credit cards and can instantly download apps and files onto mobile devices, by tapping the card to an NFC-enabled phone or via a QR scan.

“Given an event’s myriad of activities that include schedules, venue information and workshops, the mobile generation demand the ability to monitor simultaneous events from a single platform, and one that can automatically offer guided wayfinding based on event choices,” says Steve Wood, vice president, Asia Pacific at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

Sprintr is the brainchild of Entegy (left) and AV1 (right)

Digital event registration

Sprintr, which launched in July 2016, offers portable, customisable, digital registration kiosks on-site – a digital version of traditional registration systems. Planners can use the product for on-the-spot event registration and ticketing as well as automated name badge printing, while QR barcode scanning and branding opportunities are also available for sponsors. Another option launched in 2016 from Boomset features the ability to print personalised, oversized ID cards on-site at an event to create eye-catching visual badges.

More immersive technology  

Virtual reality has become easier to implement with hardware such as Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear, while developments in LED walls – such as the addition of touch sensors and motion detection and the ability to create floor-to-ceiling walls, are making events both immersive and interactive.

“On behalf of the Australian Tourism Association, we invited over 400 guests on a journey to Australia’s most beautiful beaches and underwater worlds – from our location in Shanghai,” says Darren Chuckry, chief client services officer, Asia at Uniplan. “We created a 360-degree LED screen, fully immersing our guests into their surroundings and using virtual reality technology which allowed guests to interact with the unique Australian wildlife.”

Last month, UFI's Open Seminar in Singapore used Konduko technology to give delegates the power to personalise event content. Besides a meeting app, delegates could scan their ‘smart badges’ against an interactive wall (below) to select event content that was then emailed to them in one comprehensive PDF download. Delegate response exceeded 80 per cent.

UFI's Open Seminar featured an interactive wall for personalised content

Next gen event management software

The merger of Cvent and Lanyon, announced in November, is likely to push the boundaries of event management software further still so watch this space.  

Start-ups such as US-based Shoflo have also been making waves, winning the Tech & Innovation Watch Award at IBTM World 2016. Its platform, designed for event planners who want to go beyond Excel, enables teams to create show and event schedules and invite collaborators to build with them, all in real time. Recently launched Event Geek provides event project management and analytics software.

“Customers are very often looking for the best fit in terms of technology,” says Sam Lay, director, Greater China at BCD Meetings & Events. “This could also mean that technologies have to offer flexibility and the option to be ‘modularized’, such that clients are able to pick the parts that they need and scale up subsequently.”