Airport-style body scanners and real-time biometric monitoring
for security and feedback will become a familiar sight for event
delegates and attendees in the future, according to new research by
QHotels commissioned expert futurist, Dr Ian Pearson, to lead a
workshop with QHotels' Young Event Profs Panel, to examine the key
factors that will shape the C&E industry in the next five
The panel identified that changes in methods of travel, Virtual
Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), new ways of making
payments and an emphasis on the importance of maintaining personal
face-to-face relationships will be key trends impacting on event
attendees in the coming years.
The conclusions were reached after panel members were asked to
complete a series of exercises to investigate what effects changes
to population and demographics, technology, future living,
transport and home and togetherness, would have on the industry and
event attendees over the coming years.
The key findings included:
Security at events will become significantly tighter and
With fears over safety, event attendees are likely to face
biometric authentication tests to confirm their identities,
including airport-style body scanners, facial recognition software
and retina and fingerprint scanning, when registering at events.
They may also be required to have their movements tracked while at
In addition to physical security, attendees will be handing
over greater amounts of personal information to venues, AV
providers, software and app providers and other event
professionals, raising concerns over data security and how that
information is stored.
Real-time biometric monitoring will allow for instant
Real-time biometric monitoring of brainwaves, or via
iris/retina scanning, will allow for instantaneous feedback on an
attendee's enjoyment and engagement levels while at an event. This
will allow organisers and event presenters to make live changes to
content and even itineraries, in order to improve the overall
experience and make events more personal and
Travel to and from events will change
Improvements in public transportation and a drop in vehicle
ownership, as the sharing economy continues to develop and cars
become self-driving, will mean that transport to and from events
will need to be included in event costs. There is also likely to be
an increase in the sharing of transport by attendees and even
dedicated event transport.
While we are already getting used to contactless payment,
this will continue to evolve and ultimately won't require the need
to carry any additional technology or device. Wearable and
implanted technology, including epidermal electronics such as skin
chips are likely to play a role by allowing gesture-related
payments such as handshakes. This will make it far quicker and
easier to make purchases at events, offering a wider range of sales
opportunities for organisers.
More likely to attend personal events than work-related
Technology and specifically VR/AR will reduce the need for
smaller meetings and specific training events. However, they won't
change the need for face-to-face meetings.
Personal celebrations and events will remain largely
unaffected, but attendees will find that work events they do attend
will be more focused on developing personal relationships and
interpersonal skills, and establishing business culture, rather
than technical skills and learning.
QHotels' Director of Marketing, Claire Rowland, said:
"Conferences and events have remained largely unchanged in their
format for many years. Whilst a number of the trends we have
identified are already beginning to influence the industry such as
VR/AR and contactless payments, it's fair to say that someone who
was attending events 20 years ago would recognise the conferences
"However, that is now likely to change within the next few
years. New security measures will make registrations unrecognisable
and the adoption of technology, which allows for real-time
feedback, means that events can change and adapt as they are
happening to create unique experiences for each attendee.
"The changes taking place are focused on providing better and
more personal event experiences, but they require attendees to
allow greater access to their personal information than ever
before, which might be a concern for some. It's important that
venues and organisers are aware of these potential trends and work
together to make sure attendees are aware of what they may
Dr Ian Pearson added: "We're all used to technology playing an
increasing role in our lives and, in most cases, we appreciate the
greater convenience and security that it provides us, such as
fingerprint scanning on mobile phones and banking apps. However,
people might not be aware of what this technology is actually
"In looking at the conference and events industry we wanted to
look beyond 2017 into some of the likely applications for
technology, but also what effect that might have on the sort of
events people would be attending or whether they would be attending
events at all. There will always be a need for people to gather
together, but the reasons for being there and how they get there
look like they could change significantly."
View the full infographic here.
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