What’s on the horizon for event technology?

By Andrew De La Cour and Derek Anderson

It is safe to assume that the technologies most in demand by meeting planners this year foreshadow what’s to come. Most notably, there were three standout event technology solutions last year that created a buzz among meeting professionals. Of the three, only a couple were embraced by your peers – the other, not so much. Here’s a recap.

  • What’s on the horizon for event technology?Video dominated information consumption methods at events. Whether it was shaky camera phone images or professionally shot and edited footage, video has been vital to extending the life and reach of a message via social media, live webcasting or video archiving on a website post-event.
  • There was – and will continue to be – a steady increase in electronic methods of disseminating information at events. The best example of this was the transition witnessed this year from traditional paper poster presentations to ePosters (electronic posters) at medical and scientific conferences.
  • Mobile apps, although they have been around a while now, have had somewhat limited success to date. This is mainly due to the various models and capabilities of mobile devices on the market, as well as inefficient Internet access to handle the constant volume of mobile devices attempting to connect within meeting spaces. That said, with the continued move to web-based (“cloud”) apps, and the improved browser capabilities of the newer mobile devices, the industry is likely to see an increase in the use of web-based apps with lower costs at meetings.

What do AV technologists predict?

Another year of audio-visual event technology tradeshows has come, gone and left AV professionals in anticipation of new technological possibilities. Now that the tradeshow buzz has worn off, let’s review the top technologies determined by the tech world in 2013, and determine whether they will truly be viable for corporate meetings and events this year and beyond.

  • LED light fixtures were everywhere. Conventional (tungsten)-based light fixtures are a dying breed. In about five years, conventional-based fixtures will become more of a niche product, rather than the dominant light source, as manufacturers improve the efficiency and light output. Conventional Par Cans in particular have all but been replaced by LED Par fixtures. Meanwhile, traditional LED wash fixtures have been getting smaller and brighter, while using less power.
  • LED-based video/effects panels were also very visible on show floors, with many new products and designs. There is a very evident downward trend in pricing, driven by the influx of cheaper off-shore LED panels. In addition, the is a growing number of specialty LED display products – such as curved, flexible, sheet and linear LED elements – that can be used in creative ways to display motion video or lighting-type effects.
  • 2K-resolution (2048×1080, 2 megapixel) cinema cameras, processing and workflow – the darling of past shows – are so yesterday, with the launch of multiple 4K-resolution (4096 × 2160, 8 megapixel) cameras, recorders and workflow solutions. What’s more amazing is that tradeshow floors were already abuzz about forthcoming 6K and 8K cameras and related equipment. This is turning into a “resolution race,” similar to what happened to the consumer digital SLR market over the past four or so years. DSLRs in particular are a force to be reckoned with, in terms of HD video capture in the film industry.
  • 4K-resolution has the potential to impact corporate meetings and events over the next two years, as the requirements for high-resolution blended backdrops increase. These high-resolution files, combined with up-and-coming 4K-resolution projectors, will transform the look and feel of events in the future.
  • 3D is no longer a hot topic. In professional AV, there was almost no visibility of this technology on show floors, a stark contrast to the two previous years. 3D has moved to its rightful place as a niche product, with little impact beyond the consumer cinema, gaming and professional specialty arena (i.e. medical, geological and aviation).

A busy season is upon us, so only time will tell which of these technologies will make the biggest impact on the corporate meetings and events industry.

About the author

Andrew De La Cour is National Director of Technical Inventory and Derek Anderson is Director of Digital Services for AVW-TELAV Audio Visual Solutions, a company that connects people in meaningful ways by enhancing the power of meetings, conventions, special events and trade shows through leading-edge presentation technology solutions.

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