Impact Publications : MiceBTN_64
MICEBTN - augusT-oCToBEr - 2016 • Page 33 About DArren eDwArDs Darren Edwards is the founder of Invisage Creative Services in Australia. With more than 22 years’ experience in the meetings and events industry, Darren continues to explore and develop creative design and innovative technology products to the ben- efit of the global events industry. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pokémon does not Go with everything it’s in the news and it’s on everyone’s phone. i’ve read countless articles about Pokémon go, and that’s just within the events industry! So how should a trade show organiser react? Let’s look at it from a strategic B2B perspective. Since Pokémon Go launched, event organisers have already started jumping on the Augmented Reality (AR) band- wagon. But just like any other engage- ment initiative, there are key things to consider before taking the ‘virtual’ leap. There is a reason AR gaming has gained in popularity. The target demo- graphic age range is 7-30 year olds. They do not hesitate to jump on new technology fads and they’re familiar with the Pokémon brand and primed for this type of engagement. They were practi- cally born with smart phones in hand. But if we look at this from an histor- ical perspective, tactics designed to increase event engagement through gamification have been around for years. Think back to the days of paper bingo cards and stamps. More recently, mobile apps have facilitated immediate feedback with leader boards and partici- pation reporting. And with the increase of Millennial professionals becoming a highly tar- geted attendee demographic, folding gamification into event experiences has gained even more traction. But I remember when the QR Code was going to change the world and the game Pog was popular. So I put together a litmus test for understanding if event organisers should explore an AR game at their event or not. 1. Know your audience What is your demographic? You know your audience better than anyone. Have you utilised some sort of gaming in the past? Was it successful? Do you know how many people participated and why they participated? The analytics don’t lie. If your gaming play fell flat with your audience, AR gaming most likely will as well. Just because 13-year-old kids like it this week, doesn’t necessarily mean you need to realign your entire event strategy. They also enjoy subversive Instagram Memes and Trap Music, is that right for your show? 2. Understanding Your ROI Who really benefits from the game? In app gamification is a great way to direct attendees’ attention to specif- ic places and engage them in ways you couldn’t previously. However, is it worth it to invest the time and money it takes to not only develop this type of augmented reality game but also the marketing? Just because you build or deploy it does not mean your audience will play it. 3. Fad or fact? Augmented Reality seemed to surpass innovations in Virtual Reality in a matter of weeks. This reiterates how rapidly technology advances. How quickly will your audience move on to the next shiny thing? Will this fail as quickly as it rose? 4. Safety first. You’ve already heard it on the news and probably first hand from either your children or friends’ children. People falling into manholes, running into things, walk- ing into oncoming traffic! It seems crazy to me that people can be this wrapped up in a game. But it’s a reality and as an event oprganiser, it’s your job to keep your attendees safe and to help them engage. A lawsuit over an injury isn’t something to take lightly! 5. This is the future, be proactive. In a recent edition of Standford Univer- sity’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leadership Podcast, Astro Teller, artificial intelligence expert and head of Google’s X Program said he didn’t think people would ever use their mobile devices to take photos of themselves. Clearly he was, admittedly – wrong. So while the naysayers debate the relevancy of AR games in the trade show space, you need to trust that your technology vendor will dig in to under- stand the implications for their event technology platform and services. You may not know what a Poke Gym or Poke Ball actually are, but don’t concern yourself with this. You just need to know how to recognise a trend. That’s what being on the forefront of event technolo- gy is all about. Understanding the trends, the business and technical implications, and how to actualise innovation so your events can leverage it for the future.