Online, Hybrid or In-Person: Can Technology Save Live Events?

By: Lee Rickwood

January 7, 2022

As the latest wave of corona virus variants continues to impact much of the world’s professional activities and business interactions, the future of live events remains very much in question.

Not whether they will be held, but how we will go.

people move about convention centre

Many in the event management space are hopeful that in-person events aimed at the B2B, trade and marketing sectors will return in 2022. No one should anticipate a return to the old ways, however.

After nearly 22 months of predominantly virtual events, many in the event management space are hopeful that in-person events aimed at the B2B, trade and marketing sectors will return in 2022. No one should anticipate a return to the old ways, however.

We have seen what might be possible with online virtual gatherings, conferences, and meetings in the past couple of years, and although the steps may have not been all that smooth, they do point to a creative blend of online, in-person, interactive and self-driven event styles.

And that points to an opportunity to develop new technological tools for the management of meaningful and productive event experiences going forward, whether virtual, in-person, or a unique combination thereof.

The Montreal tech scene is among those taking advantage of a booming new sector.

The recently announced $13.5 million acquisition of klik, the Montreal-based event tech start-up that makes smart wearable technology, the accompanying downtown office expansion, and an estimated initial hiring of some 20 new positions (including engineering, operations, and HR roles), speaks to the perceived potential in event tech.

Klik was acquired by the international event experience software company Bizzabo that has developed what it calls an Event Experience OS, a leading data-rich open platform for managing business events and engaging professional audiences. Bizzabo has more than 350 employees in its New York, Tel-Aviv, Kyiv, London and now Montreal offices, as well 15+ remote locations around the world.

interactive badges are shown in attendee's hands

Interactive wearables allow for contact info sharing, content distribution automatic attendance and event timeline management.

Bizzabo will be integrating klik’s wearable technology (sleeves, badges, watches, buttons and more) into its event management platform, now bridging interactive wearable devices, apps, PC dashboards and online components.

Whether you are in-person attendee or a virtual participant, the idea is you can register for and interact with an event with either the bump of a wrist or the click of a button.

Smart wearable technology helps event managers measure attendee participation, engagement, participation, and networking.

With an interactive lanyard around one’s neck, every attendee on-site can be tracked with even greater precision than geo-tracking.

Interactive wearables allow for contact info sharing, content distribution automatic attendance and event timeline management. Klik’s wearables come with a degree of user control over data sharing and interactivity.

Because klik’s wearables also act as a communications device, they can trigger customized recommendations on content, sessions, networking opportunities, sponsors to visit, lead retrievals and more, the developer describes.

hands type on laptopr, interactive badge nearby

Customized post-event analytics based on the unique business goals of the event are available, helping managers determine event ROI. Images from klik.

Of course, customized post-event analytics based on the unique business goals of the event are available, helping managers determine event ROI.

Unlike other event technologies that rely on NFC/RFID capabilities, klik designed and built its software and hardware using advanced Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology (Bluetooth) technology.

“We originally created klik with the vision of enabling genuine connections between people at events and helping organizers create delightful in-person experiences. We know that event organizers seek to engage with their guests in the smartest way possible. This is why we developed klik as a data-driven solution leveraging our smart wearables,” said Vincent Leclerc, CEO of ESKI Inc., the parent company of klik.

Klik is but one of several Bizzabo acquisitions in the past year, including six months, an addition complementing its previous acquisitions x.ai, an AI-driven scheduling and matchmaking company; Whalebone, a sensor technology and big data analytics firm; and TeeVid, a platform for creating, producing, and broadcasting virtual, in-person and hybrid events as a smart TV-like experience.

 

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