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  • Writer's pictureAdam Malik

What is a Sustainable Digitised Event?

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

We wanted to put some shape to what constitutes a sustainable Digitised Event and develop a blueprint for achieving this objective. In the case of defining each purpose, we focused on the core outcome definition and avoided any constraints around features and functions.

Digitised Events, whether in-person, blended or virtual, exist to maximise the information exchange between all participants within a clearly defined timeframe. These exchanges must increase knowledge rapidly and effectively to enable participants to act on their desired outcomes with significantly increased confidence levels.

Sustainable Digitised Events is also a movement towards more earth-friendly commercial interactions as it carries an enormous potential to reduce carbon emissions associated with in-person events and tradeshows. By shifting information exchange online, in the long term, we will significantly reduce the adverse impacts of long-distance travel, high energy consumption, and waste generation.

Digitised Events need to be re-factored, re-imagined, and highly data-driven to realise rapid knowledge and action shift. Digitising Events is about aligning digitisation with these outcomes in a measurable and evidence-based way by creating CVI + CVO Radars around four key results.

  1. Knowledge Shift

  2. Action Acceleration

  3. Engagement Increase

  4. Information Exchange

The CVI CVO IAEK Radar Diagram
Fig 1. The CVI CVO IAEK Radar

How do we do all these? We will use three digital event prototypes to challenge our work around this vision. These prototype event challenges are doable in a highly data-driven and evidence-based manner. These will be difficult to achieve, but they are worth pursuing to drive more sustainable and impactful events.

Digitised Event Prototypes

The 30 in 90

This event prototype aims to orchestrate a 90-minute online event for 30 people with a more robust and measurable information exchange and action than a one-day in-person workshop.

The 150 in 2

This prototype aims to create a more significant shift in domain understanding, information exchange, and actionable outcomes in 4 hours in a purely online environment for 150 people than in a two-day in-person event.

The Starling

To engage 4,000 people over three days in distributed, localised physical environments supported by digital confluences to create a measurable shift in understanding, information exchange, and personal outcomes for each participant.

The Knowledge

A one-day in-person event that creates such a significant knowledge shift for all participants and creates deep connections, resulting in substantial action in a significantly accelerated time frame.

A conceptual image of people enjoying a distributed event

Manifesting Digitised Event Success

In orchestrating a Digitised Event, we need robust measures of an event's effectiveness beyond who registered and attended and whether the sessions 'feel' busy. We must look at all the relevant data and factor it into new success measures that fit the digital age. And use that information to design more innovative executions in form and function.

We have compiled a list of accessible tech with an application to measure participants' engagement and show how an event impacts the knowledge shift. Digitised Events can use these signals to improve their effectiveness continually.

  1. Eye tracking technology can measure where attendees look on their screens during an online event. By analysing eye movements, you can determine which parts of the event are most engaging for attendees to help improve the content and online environments.

  2. Facial recognition technology can analyse attendees' facial expressions during an online event providing insight into their emotional state, such as whether they are happy, engaged, or bored.

  3. Gamification involves incorporating real-time game-like elements into the online event in a frictionless way.

  4. Social listening can provide valuable insights into attendees' sentiments and engagement levels.

  5. Heat maps to track attendee activity during the event show which parts are most engaging and where attendees spend the most time, although these may throw up false positives.

  6. Audience response systems allow attendees to respond to questions or prompts in real-time during the event.

  7. Natural Language Processing (NLP) can deliver real-time sentiment analysis during live events providing insights into their emotional state and level of engagement.

  8. Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) use sensors to measure brain activity and can be used to track attendees' emotions and engagement levels during live events. (This technology is still in its early stages )but has the potential to provide valuable insights into attendee behaviour and engagement and could give the route to simulating events before full-scale delivery.

  9. Wearables & biometrics, such as smartwatches or fitness trackers, can track attendee behaviour and engagement, tracking attendee movements, heart rate, and other biometric data to provide insights into their level of engagement.

  10. Holographic displays can create immersive and interactive experiences that engage attendees in new and exciting ways. For example, you could create a simulated product or new technology experience.

  11. Artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms can analyse attendee movement patterns and identify areas of deep engagement giving real-time alerts of spontaneous confluence events.

  12. Gesture recognition technology can track attendee gestures and movements to identify the most popular interaction and engagement points.

  13. Chatbots and voice assistants can provide real-time information and support during events but must factor in situational awareness.

  14. Interactive videos allow learners to engage with the content in real-time by making choices and answering questions as they watch, giving signals of comprehension and knowledge transfer immediately and in a more engaging way.

A image of lots of tech signifying too much choice

Where To Begin?

To orchestrate 90 minutes of more powerful information exchange than a one-day workshop, we need content creators, UX designers, engineers, data scientists, behavioural psychologists, software engineers, and digital marketing specialists, all working together in concert and using a shared language to achieve this goal.

Digitising Events is about creating the shift to evidence-based and data-driven event design and performance management across the whole lifecycle and event forms.

The current model of trade shows and virtual events needs an update for the digital age, and there is a significant need for disruption and innovation. Digitised Events that combine physical and virtual elements can provide a more sustainable and practical approach to trade shows while also providing opportunities for innovation and experimentation. As technology continues to evolve, future trade shows will likely look very different from those of the past.

Current attempts to digitise events focus on replicating the physical experience rather than exploring new ways of engaging with attendees in a digital setting. Exploring new ways of leveraging digital technology is essential to create a more interactive experience for attendees.

We must spread the net wider, expand the skills engaged in the events ecosystem, and explore new technologies to digitise events more effectively. We list some examples below:

  1. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR): These technologies can create immersive experiences that simulate environments, especially where exploring physical products is essential.

  2. Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants could provide personalised recommendations and assistance to attendees, helping them navigate the event, connect with others and fully maximise their experience.

  3. Gamification: Incorporating game-like elements into digital events can increase engagement and provide a more interactive experience for attendees aligned to maximising synergetic information exchange for all participants.

  4. Interactive Content: Interactive content specifically designed to maximise information exchange to help each participant achieve their desired outcome.

  5. Data Platforms & Insight: Using real-time signals to orchestrate highly personalised experiences for each participant and being aware of content formats, location, behavioural needs and the learning evolution of each participant to shift the experience for each individual like a murmuration of starlings.

  6. Spatial Personalisation: Situationally and location-aware personalisation to create meaningful interactions and new connections in real-time.

We see several areas where we can and should explore the digitisation of events. The following are fundamental areas where we can build authentic digital event experiences.

  1. Attendee Experience: Start by focusing on the attendee experience and identifying ways to make it more dynamic and interactive by exploring new technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality, gamification, deep spatial personalisation, and peer-to-peer video.

  2. Digital Journey: Take a holistic design thinking approach to the digital journey to build in moments of elevation, insight, pride and connection. AI and machine learning will be the key to hyper-personalising the journey at scale for each participant's desire for information exchange.

  3. Technology Stack: Evaluate the technology stack used to power this outcome. It will likely not be a single monolithic platform but a collection of microservices and point solutions underpinned by a decentralised data architecture to react to signals.

  4. Tune to Information Exchange: The fundamental CVO of any event is the maximised information exchange and engagement of all participants; this CVO must be the guide for all decisions relating to the orchestration of the event.

  5. Sustainability: The planet must have a voice in all decisions, and the sustainability impact of digitised must be to reduce the event's carbon footprint, for example, only using renewable energy sources to power servers and the event.

  6. Repeatability: In time, the Digitised Event ecosystem must and will navigate towards repeatable designs orchestrated on top of engines tuned to digitise events.

The grounding principle to Digitising Events is to focus on maximising the information exchange between all participants to promote action with the most beautifully designed experience tuned to this outcome.

Key to this vision is a fundamental shift in our thinking that will transform our attitudes and practices toward timely and relevant outcomes. To get on the front foot, we must apply design thinking aligned to creating maximised information exchange. In this fast-moving digital age, it is crucial to carve our niche, where we meticulously develop digital products that resonate with our event participant's experiences.

We do not speak to our participants; they belong in the narrative. So we must unlearn the features-and-functions approach of the past and take a holistic approach to the digital orchestration of events in a much-needed, human-centric, symbiotic relationship with technology.

What better way than Digitising Events at scale?


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