No More Poker Face – Decoding Attendees’ Real-Time Reactions

We've written here about how the government is looking at facial recognition to improve security and make access to places and data more efficient. While the policy and technology challenges are worked out within multiple government use cases, event planners can look to the same technology to improve how they deliver content and education.

As this article points out, surveys provide a snapshot of audience reaction to an event, but they do so in days, even weeks after it has wrapped. Additionally, there is a lot of effort that goes into getting survey responses back and analyzed, and even then, the sample size may not be statistically valid.

Good speakers and planners know the power of reading the room and adjusting on the fly to keep and increase audience interest and participation. But bright lights, sheer audience size, and general logistics make that problematic. Tracking social media can also provide a real-time pulse on how attendees are digesting and reacting to content. But getting this feedback is dependent on attendees using these platforms and using them in real-time. With facial and biometric technologies, event planners and marketers can remove these challenges and dependencies and collect attendee feedback without having to ask anything of those attendees.

Audience engagement tools using biometrics can identify attendees' emotions without identifying the face or person. In one implementation, video cameras mounted at the side of the stage film the facial expressions of the audience. This feed is run through AI-powered software to identify and track expressions of the people watching the stage and what emotion they are expressing (fear, anger, happiness, etc.). A raw look at this data is available, but within a couple of minutes the software can more fully analyze it and provide a quick view if the audience is reacting positively or negatively.

Following the event, speakers can go back through the data to see where there were emotional peaks. From there, speakers can update their content based on the points that made the most significant connection with the audience.

Pricing can vary depending on the type of technology used and the analytics being run. On average, costs fall in the $5,000-$10,000 range. Some companies offer pricing per attendee, and others have a flat fee. While this can be a large investment, if you weigh the cost of facial recognition against the costs associated with speaker fees, and the event budget in general, spending money to find the effectiveness of sessions makes a lot of sense for future planning.

What are your thought on using facial recognition technology for event planning and management? Have you tried it? Do you want to? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Events On-Demand

We're living in an on-demand world - streaming video, same day delivery, peer-to-peer sharing, and more - and events have also adapted to consumer desire for content where and when they want it.

On-demand events tend to be in a webinar format - an educational, one directional presentation. While these events may lack the networking component of live (and even some live streamed) events, they are a great option for learning and training, providing just-in-time information. Continue reading

The Real Scoop on Virtual Events

With fall upon us and colder weather coming, our "hibernation" instinct kicks in and people start to stay in more. But even if you are ensconced in layers of blankets with a pumpkin latte in hand, you can still grow your professional knowledge base. Virtual events have been growing in popularity among event planners and attendees alike. In the government market specifically, over 60% of federal employees surveyed reported attending one or more webinars in the past year. 46% of government marketers surveyed are planning on investing in webinars in the coming year.

The allure of virtual events is cost and time savings. With no physical venue to rent and no need to travel, both planners and attendees save money as well as time. These virtual meetings run the spectrum from basic webinar-type presentations of power point slides, to interactive video demos, to fully immersive virtual worlds with online tradeshow booths that include the ability to chat with exhibitors. But no matter the format, all virtual events share a key challenge - how to engage and keep the attention of attendees who are in an environment full of distractions. Meeting this challenge requires commitments on the part of attendees and event planners. Continue reading

So, You’ve Got an App for That. Now What?

A mobile app launches in the App Store, but no one downloads it. Does it make an impact? Unlike the philosophical exercise of the "if a tree falls in the forest" question, this similarly worded one has a definite answer -- if no one is using your mobile app, the work and resources you've put into it are wasted.

The ubiquity of mobile devices, the comfort with apps, and the options for no-code development all have made apps a real option for all types and sizes of events. With app adoption, event organizers can reduce paper, create more interactivity with the audience, and gather data on their experience before, during, and after the event. Today, we want to focus on making sure people are using event apps so that these benefits can be realized. Continue reading

Did We Get it Right? 2017 Government Events Year in Review

It's the beginning of 2018, and with it brings reflection on goals and actions of the past year. Today we take a look back at our predictions for government events in 2017 to see how we did.[Tweet "Did We Get it Right? 2017 Government Events Year in Review. #GovEventsBlog"]

  • Focus on Change - Going into 2017, we knew that we were no longer looking at business as usual with the new administration coming in. While we could not have predicted the numerous changes and events of the past year, we did know that everyone involved in government was going to need a refresher in change management. We predicted a larger number of events focused on the formal practice of change management as well as change being a theme in a number of events. This year we had 22 events specifically focused on change management versus 14 in 2016, so there was a slight uptick.
  • Changes in Speaker Line-Ups - In anticipation of agency directors being replaced, we expected to see some new faces in the speaking line-ups for government events. We also thought some of the newly appointed agency heads would be speaking, leading to a fresh crop of speakers across the government event landscape. While this prediction did not necessarily come to pass, we did notice that more events were using big name speakers to draw attendees and to differentiate their shows. We saw speakers associated with interesting, high profile cases and news events. We also saw more government events using leaders from the commercial side of business to share the latest details on technologies and best practices that can be applied in government.[Tweet "GovEvents takes a look back at our predictions for government events in 2017. #GovEventsBlog"]
  • Increased Use of Data - Working with our event partners, we are seeing this trend come to fruition. Organizations are interested in feedback from us on their GovEvents' campaigns. Specifically, they want to know where leads are coming from (email vs. ads), and want to track those leads once they get to their site. They are using this information to better tailor their marketing and outreach to grow their audience.
  • More Video - The ubiquity of video on social media is making video a must-have as part of event promotion and marketing. In our recent survey we found that 31% of respondents have added streaming video to their events in the last two years. It's a trend that we're excited to see continue and evolve, as it livens up the content presented at events.

[Tweet "In a year of change, the event market for government has been a steadying force. #GovEventsBlog"]In a year of so much change and uncertainty, the event market for government has been a steadying force. Attendance at and availability of events has remained stable, proving that events provide a place for colleagues to come together and have meaningful discussions about challenges, successes, and concerns. Now more than ever, these venues are proving their worth in bringing the government community together to discuss the issues that impact their mission.