The event technology landscape is confusing.
With so many different kinds of events and so many different tools out there, it can be difficult to know which ones will be the best fit for your event – especially as a lot of them look very similar on paper.
But more than that, most event tech suppliers are prone to exaggeration. You know, they’ll tell you their product is all-singing, all-dancing, and they’ll beef up what it can help you realistically achieve.
Which means that sometimes you’ll end up disappointed.
And because events are in-the-moment, one-off happenings, you can’t go back and try it again with a different tool or type of tech.
In this post, we’re going to go ahead and unpack four different event tech products so you can get a better idea of what purpose they serve and how they might fit into your event.
1. Video Walls
Video walls do exactly as the name suggests.
They are simply large screens that display video content on a continuous loop. You might have seen them running through a stream of ads, offering an introduction to new arrivals, or promoting the event sponsors’ content.
Unlike other types of interactive event displays, video walls can’t display different content or information at different points during the day – that is, they have to be set in advance to run through the same stuff over and over again.
Perhaps the biggest problem with using video walls, though, is that, unless the content is really captivating and relevant, it takes away from the visitor experience by showing the same thing on repeat. Let’s face it, that can get boring really quickly, right?
On top of that, the video content displayed on these walls tends to run for longer than 15-30 seconds, which means it doesn’t get the message across quickly and concisely. People these days have incredibly short attention spans (shorter than a goldfish, in fact, according to some research), and displaying lengthy videos in this format will turn people off almost immediately.
That being said, video walls can and have been used very successfully on exhibitor stands.
2. Twitter Walls
Twitter walls are big screens that display a live Twitter feed.
At times, you might also see them sharing slides as well. When executed well, Twitter walls align nicely with a wider social media strategy and are a great way to determine the engagement of visitors at any one event.
You can set up specific hashtags for visitors and exhibitors to use and display a variety of media, including user generated images, video, and reviews.
A good-looking Twitter wall can generate tons of buzz around an event.
The biggest downfall of Twitter walls is that the screen only serves one purpose – to showcase Tweets.
And, if it’s unmoderated, it can lead to all sorts of PR disasters which might in turn lead to a negative experience for visitors and those following along from home.
3. Event Apps
Event apps are interactive tools for visitors to use to gain their own unique experience of an event. From the comfort of their own device, visitors can browse information about the event, exhibitors, and talks, with the app acting as a little pocket guide.
We’ll talk more about the specifics of event apps in a moment.
4. Digital Signage
Digital signage refers to a network of connected screens that are dedicated to displaying event information, including calls-to-action, live social media feeds, and short, animated digital adverts.
The signage serves two key roles at an event: to display important, time-sensitive information (like what talks are up next and directions), and to help visitors discover interesting exhibitors and content.
The interactive nature of them means visitors are served up the information they need when they need it, creating a smooth visitor experience with a mixture of engaging content.
Digital Signage VS Event Apps – Which One is Best For You?
So, in many senses, digital signage and event apps serve a similar purpose – to dish out information to visitors as and when they need it to create a streamlined experience.
Let’s talk a little more about event apps.
This kind of tech is a very polarising topic among event organisers. Some think they’re essential, while others think they are an overhyped pile of rubbish (here at EventIgnite, we tend to side with the latter group, but there are some caveats).
So, to boil it down to the basics, both event apps and digital signage deliver information, but they deliver it in very different ways.
The main difference is the way they are utilised by visitors. Event apps allow visitors to access information on the go, whereas digital signage showcases timely information and adverts on large screens around the show.
The Argument For Digital Signage…
Digital signage screens are much easier to reach and read due to their size, and they provide a more seamless experience. Visitors get the information where and when they need it without having to install or download an app.
Plus, they create a uniform visitor experience, where visitors can see the same information at the same time throughout the event.
The Argument for Event Apps…
On the other hand, event apps allow visitors to search for and access important information on the go. Directions, timings, exhibitor listings, and other information is all at their fingertips – but it means they might just have their faces in their phones all day.
Choosing the right way to display information is vital for user experience, and which type of tech you use will depend entirely on what type of event you’re running and the visitors who will be attending.