Technology has been advancing at a rapid pace in recent years, rapidly shaping (and reshaping industries). The events industry has been no exception. Those who work in venues where events are hosted throughout the year (perhaps even on New Year’s Eve) will want to take note of the developments impacting their facilities. If you work in a stadium, convention center, hotel, or other facility type where events take place, 2020 can be expected to be another year in which technology will make an impact — so here are 10 tech trends to look out for next year.

This list has been compiled and contributed by Toby Heelis, CEO of Eventopedia, a venue finding online platform. Heelis has spent the last 20 years leading the meeting and events industry operating and marketing event venues. He refined his experiences at the leading large event venue in London, The Brewery, as marketing director. 

events industry1. Sustainability

Sustainability will be a central theme in the 2020 event landscape, as attendees are demanding more eco-friendly practices. Technology is already helping reduce the vast amounts of paper use, but the potential doesn’t stop there. In 2020, we will see more smart tech being used by venues to manage resource use, as well as help them take a turn towards renewable forms of energy.

2. Better Use Of Technology

2020 will also bring a more responsible use of digital solutions in events. With so many new tools entering the market, event professionals need to implement practices for choosing the right mix of technology that will ultimately bring a good ROI, not just jumping on the latest tech bandwagon just for the sake of it.

3. Automated Check-in

Events check-in can often be a hassle due to large waiting times, but thankfully we now have facial recognition tools that can drastically improve the process. As privacy is still a big concern for attendees, the key is transparency, and event planners will have to be clear about how data will be collected and processed.

4. Data analytics

Data is a key currency of the 21st century, and we will see the events industry making more use of data insights in 2020, thanks to the ever-developing analytics solutions. Data analytics can increase efficiency and reduce risk, helping industry players become more proactive in all aspects of the decision-making process through real-time and historical data streams.

5. Projection Mapping

Projection mapping has been gaining popularity and will be more widely used in events in 2020. It is a great tool for visual engagement having a virtually endless potential, and its versatility makes it a good option for any budget. Event planners can decide how simple or complex they want the project to be, and with a bit of creativity, even simple imagery on 2D surfaces can create a strong visual impact.

6. AR & VR

Event professionals will find more use cases for the maturing Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) tech next year. Both solutions are excellent for improving product demonstrations, having the capabilities to also showcase future products that are only currently being developed. Also, with VR, event planners can completely replace physical equipment, which can save both time and money.

Hybrid meetings will also become more common with developments of VR functionalities, which can be a great option for attendees who can’t travel to an event.

7. Gamification

Gamification is not a new practice in events, but its potential has yet to be reached. Gamification is all about taking gaming elements such as competitions, tasks and challenges, and incentives such as points systems, progress bars, leaderboards, and prizes, and incorporating those in a non-gaming setting (i.e. an event). As tech functionalities advance, gamification will be easier to implement in events, and we expect to see more of it in 2020.

8. Personalization

Thanks to tech and through tech, personalization will be a key theme in 2020. To raise attendee satisfaction, event professionals will make use of various channels to deliver a more customized experience throughout the event process. Event apps will play an important role, automating the delivery of personalized content and event suggestions based on the guests’ profile, interests, and other similar info.

9. Security Drones

Improving event security will be a central theme in 2020, and drones can be an incredible tool for monitoring large events and checking for any incidents or threats. As opposed to fixed CCTV, drones are agile, can enter small spaces as well as monitor large areas, produce minimal noise, and can even be equipped with night cameras.

10. Virtual Event Planning, and Automation & Integration

Event planners won’t need to do as many site visits next year. Virtual “site visits” will become more common in 2020, saving money and time for busy event professionals, especially when organizing non-local events.

With the advancements and more widespread use of video site inspections and online venue maps, event professionals can clearly visualize what various venues look like, and what they offer in terms of meeting spaces and functionality.

Automation and integration tools are offering benefits for event professionals. Events planning is a complex job and luckily, there are more and more available tools that can make a huge difference in efficiency and accuracy, through automating tasks and streamlining responsibilities.

Integration goes hand in hand, and we believe event management automation platforms will also improve their ability to integrate with other software and further improve the organization process by offering a one-stop platform. Thus, 2020 can bring a positive change in the functionality of event planning technology, enabling event and facilities professionals to improve productivity, collaboration, while reducing risks.