Ask The Experts: Event Tech Question Time Wrap Up

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Missed our first ever live event tech webinar? Didn’t get a chance to submit your burning questions during #EventTechQuestionTime? Need more information about event technology trends? Worry not!

There’s tonnes of new technology in the event industry at the moment. We’re discovering new tools almost every day. At Noodle Live, we’ve been delivering event tech packages for live events for nearly 5 years, so we thought we would share our knowledge and experience with #EventProfs everywhere via the medium of a live webinar hosted on awesome tech by the presentation tech specialists Glisser.

You can watch the video from the webinar right here, and if you have questions that you would like answered, feel free to give us a quick call. We love a good chinwag – especially when we get to talk about event tech.

Our audience submitted some awesome questions during the webinar. We discussed everything from event technology trends such as facial recognition and telepresence robots, securing your Wi-fi connection, boosting audience participation, the future of badge scanners and exciting new technology in the events industry.

Take a look at some of our answers below. We’ve even answered the questions we didn’t get a chance to answer during the live webinar too.

How Much Wi-fi Do I Need?

Thanks to Tim at Activate Events for this question. The answer will vary massively depending on what you are planning to use your tech for. Will it be an event with 1000 people where you want them doing live polling throughout the event, or will it be an event for 20 people where there is not much interactive activity? The wi-fi requirements for those two use cases will differ quite significantly.

There are two key things you need to consider: bandwidth and simultaneous connections.  is the amount of internet pie you need to share around. Imagine your bandwidth as a big pork pie and then divide your pie by the number of delegates you’ve got to understand how much bandwidth you’ve got per delegate. Remember – your delegates may bring more than one device to an event. We usually account for each delegate having 2-3 devices that they need to connect to the network. Take that figure to your event tech supplier and find out whether it will be enough.

The second thing to check is simultaneous connections. Each wi-fi router will only be able to support a set number of simultaneous connections at once. This is especially important to know about if you’re asking several people to perform one action at one time – such as live polling. Talk to the venue about how many simultaneous connections their access points can handle. This can be the biggest cause of live polling failures.

If you’re feeling nervous, ask the venues for case studies and find out where they have done this before.

Need more info? Check out our great wi-fi venue checklist!

How can I use event tech for audience participation?

Thanks to Annette at EY for this one! In our experience, we’ve found that devices that implementing tools on devices that delegates already own is most effective. You can save yourself a lot on your budget and you don’t have to go through the process of providing expensive devices. In today’s world, almost everyone has at least one device. If you’re concerned, you can always ask in the registration process to see if there will be a significant group who do not have devices with them.

The functionality we offer is mainly live polling and Q&A. So you can create a poll for your audience or ask them to submit questions. Over the last few months, we’ve also seen a dramatic rise in requests for gamification. The concept is that you have a reward system in place for any app actions or badge swipes that are made. In the app, you have a task or challenge section where delegates can see what challenges they need to complete in order to gain points. We can then input that into a leaderboard. We did this at a recent event and it was incredible to see the level of engagement.

Another way to boost participation is allowing your delegates to book meetings within the app. That’s another great way to boost engagement. That has also increased in demand a lot in recent months.

The news feed is also a great place to get people engaging. People see the value in social media but there is also a risk in that. The news feed is like a closed social network so the discussions are often a lot more focused. We often get feedback from delegates that it was one of their favourite features.

Get more great ideas for using event apps in our latest blog.

Badging is our major headache – what’s a future-proofed solution to allow our delegates to enjoy the experience and give us the data we need?

Thanks to Amanda from IFoA for this question. The badging requirements involve two main areas: printing and scanning.

We favour print on demand for any events over 300 attendees. You can print RFID badges in 15-20 seconds. We usually allow 1 badging terminal for every 100 attendees. That really prevents any queues and makes the process smoother.

Scanning can be achieved using QR codes or barcodes but we find the RFID solution much faster and you can also use the badge for a variety of useful purposes around the event. If people are entering a session they can use their badge to register, they can also use their badge for cloakrooms or for lead capture etc. You’re also able to capture really great data using RFID name badges and to make the data capture points really attractive to delegates.

Badging can be a headache but even with the migration towards bringing your own device, badging will always exist because it is simply the best way to find someone’s name. Unless we go full-scale interactive and we’re all wearing Google Glass, we will still always need name badges. We’ve seen some great developments where machines scan your face to recognise you and then print your name badge – but the key thing is that they’re still printing a name badge.

Of course, GDPR will play a massive role in this process in future. Confused by how to handle this change? Take a look at our blog on GDPR made simple.

Where is the next step in badge scanners?

Amanda at Howdens submitted this question. In terms of event registration we’ve gone from counting people in using little clickers, we’ve then gone on to barcodes with rented scanners. There is now a plethora of solutions where you can use your own device to scan QR codes that are printed on badges. We now have contactless solutions through RFID and iBeacons.

The contactless scanning is always going to be the fastest solution. Becuase we’ve got screen-based touchpoints it gives a lot of scope for improving delegate experience whether that’s through swapping contact details with an exhibitor, exhibitors being able to use the screen to grade the lead or add notes, or being able to distribute a document when they check in to the session. It is always essential to make the exchange of data mutually appealing.

Scanning people will always be a little messy so it’s important to make sure that data touch points are as attractive as possible. Ask yourself what people are going to gain from interacting with that touch point. Ask your event tech provider for help when understanding incentives.

At Noodle Live, we’ve been working on NFC capability. This is how we use Apple Pay. When you tap your phone to pay for the tube, NFC connects your phone to your bank account. We are just about to launch the first ever NFC enabled event mobile app. That means that instead of tapping your badge at a touchpoint, you will be able to tap your phone and perform the same actions. This means you will be able to print, encode and send out a load of posters you can hang at your event, rather than hiring tablets and screens.

Check out these 10 cool things we’ve done with RFID name badges.

What new event app features and other technology is out there to improve attendee feedback by creating more tailored and unique events?

Sophie at Howdens submitted this question. For Kiarash, augmented reality is the most exciting trend in event tech at the moment. We’ve been working with Zappar to help bring posters and graphics around our events to life via your event app. Kiarash described a situation in which he could imagine bringing up an animated floor map from a simple graphic on the floor.

Personalisation is another huge area for growth at the moment. This could be personalised content, push notifications or travel tokens, hotel bookings etc – anything that could make the tech a little bit more personal for people attending your event.

Hannah also mentioned the rise in robots at events. Telepresence robots allow people to be in the comfort of their own bedroom but simultaneously travelling around an event and interacting with people. You can take as much information away from an event as if you had been there in person.

Anything that Apple put in their phone is bound to be based on a stack of research about the future of tech. We’ve seen them add AR kits that allow developers to add augmented reality quickly and easily. We’ve also seen them add facial recognition now. People often ask us for help with identifying people in the room. It feels as though facial recognition will become increasingly important. You never how what will happen next though – we may well see some huge invention that blows all of our minds and is completely unexpected.

Check out more event industry trends for 2017.

How do you make sure the tech is fully integrated into the event?

One of the first questions we get! How do you make sure the tech does everything you want it to do.

Again – it’s important to be very clear on your strategy and what you want to achieve. Don’t be afraid to ask your supplier this question and to get advice. We recommend making sure the tech is central to the event. With an event app, stack it with useful information that your delegates will want. You can upload floor plans, joining instructions, vouchers – anything to get people using the app. You also need to understand the data that’s required to understand what happened during the event.

Be value-focused – ask yourself what your tech is adding. Avoid gimmicks. Ask yourself what metrics matter to you and then use the event to capture that data.

Fill your event app with beneficial information and use the data to identify the people who have not engaged with the tech yet. You can then send then a push notification drawing their attention to specific content that they may find useful. For example you could point them towards content from a speaker they have shown interest in.

There are people who are tech phoib and that will always be an issue but you need to communicate the benefits. People will persevere if the perceived benefit is great enough for them.

Would you recommend having you guys on site when we are using Noodle Live technology?

It depends on the technology package you’ve chosen. Some packages may be very easy to run and deliver on the day, whilst some may require a lot more on the ground assistance – in which case, we’re very happy to help.

On the ground assistance doesn’t necessarily have to come from our team. When Noodle Live first started we were on site for every single event. Now we’re migrating into offering a mixture of DIY packages and managed packages. Regardless of which one you go for you will still need someone there to assist. People might want help downloading the app, you might need someone to help run a live poll, or train your hostesses to use the badging station. The way we’ve built the platform is to make this as easy as possible but there still needs to be some manpower on the day. That’s usually why people hire us to be onsite. It takes the strain off the people running the event. We have clients who work with us in a variety of ways so we can work with you to find the best solution.

Is there a way of getting feedback from people on the day rather than sending them a link after the event?

Yes! That’s actually a common question. There are a couple of ways we can do that using our event tech. We can put a survey on the app and send out a push notification to remind people to fill it out. You can also incentivise people by not giving out the session information before they have filled out the survey.

You can also use the RFID swipe points. As people are leaving the event they can swipe and fill out the survey there and then. If people do it on site, we find that they are much more likely to fill out the survey.

If I’ve not used event tech before, where is the best place to start?

We usually start by going through a simple intention process. We ask: what are the aims, what are the objectives, what are the problems I’m trying to solve and what does success look like?

If you start from that point rather than going out and looking at the market and asking ‘what could I do with all this tech?’ then you’re much more likely to succeed. Do you need to speed up your registration? Do you need to capture data around session attendance? Do you need to gather feedback about the event? Have you had problems with the exhibitors not being able to use their scanners? Are your marketing department looking to gather feedback to inform marketing content to share after the event? Event tech can help you with all of these objectives.

Once your clear on this, then you can go to your event tech planners. Tell them what reports you need. Map them out on an Excel spread sheet and assess whether the feature they are offering is meeting your need.

Extra tech devices and products can help you to expand and develop, but in your first ever implementation, keep it simple and make sure your tech is helping you to achieve your goals. Keep it simple, look to support the content and the overarching strategy.

What’s Noodle Live’s point of difference compared to other providers of tech?

We really make sure our technology is integrated into our client’s event. We have the ability to work in partnership with our clients. We understand what they are looking to achieve and we make sure it’s fully integrated. We are tech experts and we provide those epxertees to our clients to ensure they meet their goals.

There are a lot of event tech companies that are really just software companies. Providing tech for a live environment is a whole different ball game. We’ve been there when the live polling goes wrong, we’ve been there when the wi-fi goes down. We share that experience with our clients. We have a mix of marketing, tech and events management knowledge in the team so we understand what it’s like to be on site for a live event. 

I saw your post about using RFID badges for the cloakroom. How can you justify the cost for that?

Not many people come to us looking to run an RFID cloakroom alone. Most people start with onsite badging and some form or scanning – whether that’s session scanning or lead scanning. We’ve constructed our pricing at Noodle to match the price to other providers for that service and then you can bolt on these additional pieces of hardware for fairly moderate costs in order to improve the experience in other areas. You may already have a budget for registration and then you can simply add on cloakroom tickets.

How Much Wi-fi Do I Need?

Thanks to Tim at Activate Events for this question. The answer will vary massively depending on what you are planning to use your tech for. Will it be an event with 1000 people where you want them doing live polling throughout the event, or will it be an event for 20 people where there is not much interactive activity? The wi-fi requirements for those two use cases will differ quite significantly.

There are two key things you need to consider: bandwidth and simultaneous connections.  is the amount of internet pie you need to share around. Imagine your bandwidth as a big pork pie and then divide your pie by the number of delegates you’ve got to understand how much bandwidth you’ve got per delegate. Remember – your delegates may bring more than one device to an event. We usually account for each delegate having 2-3 devices that they need to connect to the network. Take that figure to your event tech supplier and find out whether it will be enough.

The second thing to check is simultaneous connections. Each wi-fi router will only be able to support a set number of simultaneous connections at once. This is especially important to know about if you’re asking several people to perform one action at one time – such as live polling. Talk to the venue about how many simultaneous connections their access points can handle. This can be the biggest cause of live polling failures.

If you’re feeling nervous, ask the venues for case studies and find out where they have done this before.

Would you recommend having you guys on site when we are using Noodle Live technology?

It depends on the technology package you’ve chosen. Some packages may be very easy to run and deliver on the day, whilst some may require a lot more on the ground assistance – in which case, we’re very happy to help.

On the ground assistance doesn’t necessarily have to come from our team. When Noodle Live first started we were on site for every single event. Now we’re migrating into offering a mixture of DIY packages and managed packages. Regardless of which one you go for you will still need someone there to assist. People might want help downloading the app, you might need someone to help run a live poll, or train your hostesses to use the badging station. The way we’ve built the platform is to make this as easy as possible but there still needs to be some manpower on the day. That’s usually why people hire us to be onsite. It takes the strain off the people running the event. We have clients who work with us in a variety of ways so we can work with you to find the best solution.

Is there a way of getting feedback from people on the day rather than sending them a link after the event?

Yes! That’s actually a common question. There are a couple of ways we can do that using our event tech. We can put a survey on the app and send out a push notification to remind people to fill it out. You can also incentivise people by not giving out the session information before they have filled out the survey.

You can also use the RFID swipe points. As people are leaving the event they can swipe and fill out the survey there and then. If people do it on site, we find that they are much more likely to fill out the survey.

If I’ve not used event tech before, where is the best place to start?

We usually start by going through a simple intention process. We ask: what are the aims, what are the objectives, what are the problems I’m trying to solve and what does success look like?

If you start from that point rather than going out and looking at the market and asking ‘what could I do with all this tech?’ then you’re much more likely to succeed. Do you need to speed up your registration? Do you need to capture data around session attendance? Do you need to gather feedback about the event? Have you had problems with the exhibitors not being able to use their scanners? Are your marketing department looking to gather feedback to inform marketing content to share after the event? Event tech can help you with all of these objectives.

Once you’re clear on this, then you can go to your event tech planners. Tell them what reports you need. Map them out on an Excel spreadsheet and assess whether the feature they are offering is meeting your need.

Extra tech devices and products can help you to expand and develop, but in your first ever implementation, keep it simple and make sure your tech is helping you to achieve your goals. Keep it simple, look to support the content and the overarching strategy.

What’s Noodle Live’s point of difference compared to other providers of tech?

We really make sure our technology is integrated into our client’s event. We have the ability to work in partnership with our clients. We understand what they are looking to achieve and we make sure it’s fully integrated. We are tech experts and we provide those expertise to our clients to ensure they meet their goals.

There are a lot of event tech companies that are really just software companies. Providing tech for a live environment is a whole different ballgame. We’ve been there when the live polling goes wrong, we’ve been there when the wi-fi goes down. We share that experience with our clients. We have a mix of marketing, tech and events management knowledge in the team so we understand what it’s like to be on site for a live event and we understand event technology trends and the tech that’s really useful rather than fashionable.

I saw your post about using RFID badges for the cloakroom. How can you justify the cost for that?

Not many people come to us looking to run an RFID cloakroom alone. Most people start with onsite badging and some form or scanning – whether that’s session scanning or lead scanning. We’ve constructed our pricing at Noodle to match the price to other providers for that service and then you can bolt on these additional pieces of hardware for fairly moderate costs in order to improve the experience in other areas. You may already have a budget for registration and then you can simply add on cloakroom tickets.

Is there tech that could help hosts find their clients at events where we have say 600 people in the room?

We didn’t get a chance to answer this questions during the live event, so here’s the answer: Yup! There is. You can use beacons to track and monitor the whereabouts of your delegates during a live event. At the moment, we haven’t found this tech to be super useful so we don’t offer it through Noodle Live, but we’re always open to adding to our toolbox if we think it will help #EventProfs create better events.

Getting FOMO? Don’t worry! We’ll be back online very soon with our next webinar, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to join us in person. In the meantime, if you have a question and you need a simple and straightforward answer from our resident panel of tech geeks, feel free to get in touch on 0800 772 0837 or book in for a free event tech demo.

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