AV Tips and Trends for Events

Interactive and entertaining AV is the future of events. Millennials and the digitally native generations that follow (including Generation Z, those born between 1995-2015) expect to be engaged by the events they attend.

Millennials recently overtook Boomers and Generation X as the largest demographic in today’s workforce. According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials make up 35 percent of the workforce, while Generation X is 33 percent, and Baby Boomers comprise 25 percent. The remaining 7 percent is the start of Generation Z entering the workforce and a few from the silent generation who are holding off retirement.

In only a few years, those numbers will look very different. According to the most recent U.S. census, the Gen Z population of 73.6 million puts them just behind Millennials (79.41 million) and significantly ahead of Gen X (65.72 million). Those numbers are about to make a significant impact on the workforce while Boomers and Gen X start to age out. According to research by MNI Targeted Media, Gen Z will account for 40 percent of all consumers by 2020. Soon, Millennials and Gen Z combined will dominate the workforce.

“If it’s not interactive, they’re not going to stay at the meeting. They need to be entertained, and they’re looking for those ‘Instagramable’ moments,” Cindy Lo, President and Event Strategist at Red Velvet Events, said in an article on Skift.

“Maybe they’ll tweet about it, or even write a blog post, but unless they are inspired, they’re going to let it go because they don’t want people to know they wasted their time.”

Engagement is a crucial concern for today’s event planners, and it will continue to be going forward. Fortunately, the latest in AV trends are focused on both making a splash and inventively engaging an audience.

Holograms

Holograms have been around in some form since the 1960s. Yet, it is conceivable that the most significant advancement occurred in 1977 when R2-D2 projected a hologram of Princess Leia imploring Obi-Wan Kenobi for help. That was a defining moment for a generation. While no one really thought that lightsabers and spaces battles were around the corner, holograms seemed futuristic but possible.

Well, that future is here. Recently, an activation at Wrigley Field enabled attendees at the Chicago Cubs opening game to play against a hologram of second baseman Addison Russell.

Today, you can have a hologram greeter who welcomes attendees and answers their questions. It’s basically a virtual assistant with a face. Most holograms require glass, smoke, or water to bounce off light, but advances are using a plasma laser to float a 3D image in mid-air. It’s pretty rudimentary right now, but how long until this technology will allow a CEO to give a presentation to a crowd from an ocean away?

Projection Mapping

How would you like to be giving a speech and have your podium suddenly start asking questions and interacting with you? Or suddenly have a wall appear to become translucent? Or have an entire background become an animated jungle or vibrant urban landscape?

It’s possible with projection mapping.

Projection mapping uses video projected on surfaces to create a realistic illusion. The technology helped bring the exterior of Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia cathedral to life. The church’s façade combines a variety of art styles including Gothic and Art Nouveau and the activation added movement and splashes of color to the exterior. Projection mapping was also used to make the iconic sail shapes of the Sydney Opera House’s ripple and swirl. The tiles moved and changed colors while people danced across the roof.

LED Video Walls

LED video walls have been around for a couple of years, and they still make a big impression at an event. The displays now link together closer than ever, which gives a greater perception of seamlessness. The screen resolution is higher than ever, so the image on the screen(s) is brighter and clearer.

LED video walls can reach massive sizes and be programmed to show one consistent image across all screens or an image per screen with hundreds of possible variations. Video walls can be used for social media displays or as a showcase for user content, as a leaderboard for gamification efforts, for multimedia presentations, and more.

Digital Display Blocks

Take the video wall concept off the wall. These Digital Display Blocks can be set anywhere, arranged in a variety of shapes, and placed at different depths to create a 3D effect. There are unlimited design options possible, including:

  • Steps

  • Arches

  • S-curves

  • Columns

  • Any geometric shape or shapes

  • Stripes

Digital Display Blocks utilize DLP projection and LED technology to deliver image quality with super fine resolution and stunning colors. These modular structures can be stacked or hung on walls without any special rigging or custom-built walls. Once assembled, the blocks fit tightly together to produce a nearly seamless display.

Similar to a video wall, each block can showcase unique videos, or one video can play across multiple blocks. Also, to increase the opportunities for audience interaction, a touchscreen overlay can be integrated into the displays.

Interactive Product Display Boxes

Product Display Boxes have one job, and they do it well: showcase valuables and other products that are either too fragile or small to allow a crowd to handle. The main problem is that these types of displays put a barrier – a physical and emotional distance – between the public and your product.

An interactive product display box removes that barrier by replacing the display’s glass with a transparent LCD screen. You can have content that plays around the products on display, or you can have interactive content with touchscreen navigation. The LED screen works in portrait and landscape orientation and has a bright display with vibrant colors and crisp image quality.

The displays can be customized to any size, and the content shown is entirely up to you. For example, if you’d like to have a dramatic product reveal, the screen can go partially or entirely black to remove the transparency. Then the screen can fade in to disclose the wares. The display allows you to tell a complete story.

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Digital Signage

Not only is digital signage engaging and eye-catching, with its ability for lively colors and movement, but it also enables management to adapt to the needs of the event on the fly. The massive influx of data available to planners has transformed events and the events industry. Planners and managers now can customize experiences and oversee an event in real-time. With digital signs, you can personally welcome attendees to an event by name, seamlessly change the location of sessions, and redirect foot traffic to prevent floor congestion.

Digital signage can have cost-saving benefits, as well. While the initial equipment requires an upfront cost, digital signage should help you save money. With digital signage, there are no storage issues, printing costs, waste management, or shipping fees.

Today’s AV is helping planners to create the personalized and engaging experiences of their dreams. The more AV you utilize, the greater the spectacle; however, it also dramatically increases the complexity. That’s where working with an event specialist can help. By outlining your objectives and target audience, an event specialist can help you create activations that energize and engage your crowd.

TTG Marketing