Beyond Smart: Smart Thinking About Smart Devices

By Siân Legg, Event Manager, and Jacob Palmer, Project Manager, both from Smyle’s Virtual & Hybrid team

In today’s digital age, smart devices are completely integrated into our everyday lives. Whether it’s a smartphone, smartwatch or whatever comes next, people rely on devices and AI technology-powered experiences for everything from communication to entertainment. Unfortunately, event professionals often see devices as an audience distractor – but have you ever considered how smart devices can enhance and improve your event? 

At Smyle, we believe that smart devices are your friends, and they can create incredible opportunities to improve experiences for all audiences, whether in-person, virtual or hybrid.

A more equitable experience for all.

Our industry is on a journey to more equitable experiences for all audiences. With the increased focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (“DEI”) in recent years, we’ve made progress, although Smyle and our industry peers are still far from perfect. Smart technology can help meet DEI needs to enable all attendees to get equitable value from events. By leveraging innovative technology, we can ensure everyone can access high-impact event content and interaction opportunities.

  • Attendees with visual or hearing impairments can use smartphones to access closed captioning, audio descriptions, or other assistive technologies.
  • Event organisers can show closed captions on screens at speaking events, both in person or on a virtual screen.
  • Hybrid technology, such as Bizzabo, can mean that someone who struggles to leave the house can get the same value as someone who attended an event in person.
  • Wayfaring apps that give visual descriptors can help people navigate an in-person event. The smart technology already exists with NaviLens and it’s already being used successfully in New York subways.

Hyper-personalised experiences.

We can create hyper-personalised event journeys, where content is customised to the participant’s interests and needs, and evolves throughout the event based on their actions. Smart apps and data analysis can enhance their experience through this level of personalisation and ensure they get the most out of the event.

AI-fuelled technologies can take event journeys further by using smart devices to facilitate personalised, geo-targeted matchmaking. For example, generative AI could help someone pose a question in a session or open up a conversation with a stranger. All creating authentic connections and meaningful networking opportunities, once again ensuring attendees are getting the maximum value from an event.

Think outside the screen.

Three years ago, Covid forced events online in an unprecedented way. For the first time ever, virtual was the only option for brands to communicate with their audiences and for businesses to speak to their stakeholders. Throughout the pandemic, smart technology fuelled activities like gamification, mixed and virtual reality and other interactive experiences were needed to create content that resonated with audiences. 

At Smyle, we are already using gamification in our experiences. For Samsung, we created an award-winning interactive film that delivered a one-of-a-kind customer experience and up-leveled audience involvement. Through a series of vignettes, viewers could watch and shop simultaneously, not so much e-commerce but rather “e-xperience”.

By thinking outside the box, or rather screen, and exploring the ever growing world of smart technology it’s possible to level up virtual, hybrid and in-person experiences.

Use data to improve future events.

Smart device data and AI-assisted behavioural analysis gives us the insight to understand how people move through experiences, whether in-person or virtual, meaning we can better optimise event layouts, address pinch points and improve audience participation.

Tools like mobile polls and surveys capture feedback at the right moments, helping you understand what resonates (or not), and what you might improve for future events. Mentimeter is one example of software that provides this functionality, allowing presenters to gather feedback on their content and encourage audience participation.

We can integrate tracking of interactions and touchpoints for 360 attendee profiles. It’s also possible to marry event participation data with other profile data, such as a CRM or HR database. This helps us understand attendee behaviour before, during, and after an event and gain deep insights into their preferences and needs.

Increase the event reach long after it’s finished.

Smart devices can also help increase reach post-event. Post-event content and experiences keep attendees interested long after the event by delivering value and continuing to impact perception and behavioural change.

Personalised post-event videos, using smart technology like VideoSmart, can share follow up information and further content from attended sessions or activities that the attendee interacted with – all with closed captions and other accessible features.

How can Smyle help?

At Smyle, we use creative thinking and digital expertise to leverage various technical tools and partners to implement breakthrough ideas. We have specialist teams with expertise in virtual and hybrid events and a dedicated digital team working with the latest mobile technology and trends.

Smart tech creates incredible opportunities to improve event experiences, up your data game with attendee insights, and increase event impact for all audiences. Just about everyone is using smart devices, so it’s essential that we take advantage of the opportunities they present. The time to embrace smart devices is now.