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2017’s Biggest Event Tech Trends
2016 was relatively slow moving for tech: Apple’s launch parties fizzled, virtual reality didn’t have the predicted impact and there were very few head-turning innovations. In the first few weeks of 2017 there’s been a marked change. This year won’t be about looking for the big new releases, but about looking out for the tech that is ready to mature and take root. A lot of tech that was already out there and causing a buzz has finally grown up. 2017 could be the year that several of these much-hyped innovations finally start having an impact.
What is it? 3D printers allow you to design three dimensional objects or models on your computer and then simply print them to make them a reality. Most 3D printers use thin layers of plastic or other materials to create fully functioning physical objects. Watch a video about how it works here.
Why are they going to be big in 2017? It’s definitely not a new idea, but 3D printing is set to turn a corner in 2017 thanks to the fact that it’s getting smaller and cheaper. That means that it’s now accessible to almost anyone, including startups and home manufacturers. That could have a massive impact on traditional manufacturing industries and creators. Forget expensive design processes and prototypes, anyone who gets hold of a 3D printer can now cut out the middle men and begin making products of all kinds. Think of it like the app revolution. Any kid with a good idea and a bit of time on their hands could start creating products that disrupt the status quo. That could mean huge change and upheaval for a large portion of the workforce.
How will it be used at events? No more commissioning expensive design firms to create the perfect table decoration or cake-topper. With the right tech and a 3D printer in your office, you can design any object or decoration you like and simply print it out, ready to use.
What is it? Gesture control allows you to control technology through simple movements or gestures rather than pressing a button.
Why are they going to be big in 2017? For some reason, tech seemed to miss the importance of gesture control the first time around. Game designers snapped up the tech for Xbox Kinect and similar products, but the rest of the tech world ignored it. I think that’s about to change. A lot of companies are now getting ready to take advantage of gesture control technology. Last year Apple added a ‘raise to wake’ function to their iPhones, and Amazon have been looking at ways to add gesture control to the Echo. It wouldn’t surprise me if we start to see presentation software that responds to the speaker’s gestures instead of requiring a clunky press button. When you think about it, there are loads of opportunities to make the most of this tech. I’m excited to see where it pops up.
How will it be used at events? Presentations could become a lot slicker. Speakers could simply wave their arm to bring up the next slide or play a video.
NFC & RFID
What is it? NFC and RFID are all around us – it’s the tech that powers your oyster card and pet’s microchips. They are tiny digital chips that contain vital information (such as how much money you have on your oyster card). This information can be accessed by specialised machines that scan the chips when they are help close to them.
Why are they going to be big in 2017? There was a collective sigh of disappointment at Noodle Towers last September when Apple’s big tech announcement overlooked NFC for third parties - again. In early 2017 we noticed two newspaper reports about offices and workplaces that were asking employees to get RFID chips embedded under their skin to allow them to move about the building and get automatic security clearance. I’m not sure that you need to have a chip embedded when your phone could so easily do some of things an RFID chip could do, but I get it.
How will it be used at events? In the world of events you need to prove your identity on a regular basis, RFID and NFC offer a quick and easy solution. That’s why we use it as a core product in our event tech at Noodle Live. Remote identification technology has a lot more to offer and I’m hoping that people will start to recognise that in 2017.
What are they? We all think we know what robots are, but in reality they are much more varied than the cartoon robots we’ve all become familiar with. A robot is any machine that mimics or copies human behaviour or performs tasks that humans would usually perform.
Why are they going to be big in 2017? Ok, so I’m clearly excited about the potential of robots. In 2016 we saw loads of interesting announcements about robots that could be put to work in airports or even walk on four legs. Amazon also launched Echo, which is basically Siri for your home. It’s a static AI robot that sits on your countertop and is ready at any moment to answer your questions. With all areas of robot technology growing and developing, 2017 could be the year that we start to see them entering our homes and businesses too.
How will it be used at events? Robots still have great novelty value and they are also becoming useful too. Companion robots could help guests find their way around events and serving robots could offer canapés or top up drinks.
What is it? Virtual reality first became popular in the 90s, but it wasn’t widely used and has only recently seen resurgence. Virtual reality allows users to step into the world of the video they are watching. You can turn your head and move around and the video will move with you, making it feel as though you are really inside the image you are watching.
Why are they going to be big in 2017? It’s been the most hyped up tech for about three years now, but that was too premature. The fact is that the technology works really well and people enjoy it. Very few #EventProfs have managed to convert that into finding genuine uses for VR. Despite that, it’s likely to remain a hit topic of conversation and a key area for experimentation for at least another few months.
How will it be used at events? Experiential events could use virtual reality to transport guests to new worlds. Some brands are using virtual reality to allow guests to experience their products first hand. Take a wander in a remote holiday destination or test drive a car, all without having to go anywhere.
Clemi Hardie founded event tech company Noodle Live in January 2013. Offering event technology solutions and consultancy and using what they believe to be the best tools for the job, Clemi spends a lot of time researching the latest tech trends and innovations, looking for new solutions that will make life easier for #EventProfs and their delegates.