Augmented Reality, Wearable Tech & Live Events

Activate - the agency

Augmented reality (AR), an up-and-coming trend in the digital world today, could prove to be a game changer for event marketing professionals. AR is a real-time, real-life environment with elements that are augmented via digital, computer-generated enhancements such as sound, video, images, photos, games, GPS data and even 3-D imagery.

Of course, the ability to use a smartphone and other devices to add to an experience is still a relatively new concept, even for the most cutting-edge marketers. This may be the reason AR has gotten a tough rap in the event marketing world thus far. However, this technology does hold plenty of potential for digital marketing professionals in general and event marketers in particular.

Examples of AR being used by event marketers

One of the most intriguing aspects of how augmented reality will be included in events is how it can showcase wearable tech — Google Glass in particular, and similar devices in the future. As these technologies become more mainstream, marketers will have to consider the new angles that these gadgets offer, from how consumers experience live events themselves to how they share them with their personal networks via social media. What's more, which tactics related to wearable tech will be adopted across and verticals - or better yet, how various ticketing professionals will innovate themselves.

AR techniques have been applied to museum settings to increase their educational potential - as well as visitor engagement and entertainment (which will then increase repeat visits, social media shares as users post pictures and videos of their experience, and more). This technology brings the often static displays in museums to life and simulates impossible experiences, such as reviving extinct animals or historical monuments.

Movie theaters have also gotten in on the AR game. For instance, AMC theatres have created an app that allows users to make movie posters virtually come to life via their smart phones, along with the ability to make an immediate in-app ticket purchase, view film trailers, and more.

Sports teams have used AR by including practical information such as traffic updates, call-a-cab tools and other features that make the game-day experience as simple as possible. According to Mashable, giving users the ability to buy team merchandise, watch highlight videos, see messages from players, view statistics and other analysis of recent games and even see 3-D views of the stadium are also excellent options for ticketing professionals responsible for sports teams.

AR and Wearable Tech

Google Glass and its ability to make apps seamlessly appear in My Glass (no need to download - removing another barrier for marketers) has gotten by far the most hype in the AR industry, but there are other types of technology that marketers should consider as well, such as Fitbits, Nike+ FuelBands and other workout-tracking devices. For instance, at participation-friendly athletic events like marathons or other runs, there is an opportunity to interact with target markets via in-app purchases or subscriptions to sign up for future messages from event marketers. And, even non-fitness events could eventually take advantage of wearables as well, especially as they become more mainstream and new options and features are developed. The various types of smart watches are also an interesting option - and this technology is likely being increasingly common, particularly as Google recently announced the creation of Android Wear, a smart watch that has many of the features we've come to expect from our mobile phones.

In addition to cutting-edge trends such as Google Glass, marketers interested in taking advantage of AR technology should also consider how event attendees can use their smartphones, tablets or other "second screens" to add another unique layer to a real-life event. Wearable technology can also be used by on-site employees to create a better experience for attendees. Employees can use this technology to communicate with guests and each other as well as gain immediate access to information in real time.

How AR is newly valuable to event marketers

Econsultancy recently covered the reasons why marketers should revisit augmented reality in 2014. Many professionals have dismissed the technology as a fun trend, but that doesn't mean that it can't have a lasting impact. AR makes the most sense for retail events, but there are plenty of other ways AR can come into play.

Social media is just one of many reasons, although it is probably the one that gets the most press. Augmented reality can easily be integrated with social media so visitors can share an event with their friends and family via their smartphone, tablet or other device. Marketers should appreciate the opportunity AR could provide them to get attendees to opt in to future brand messaging as well.

Overall, AR and its various uses are one digital trend that savvy event marketers should be paying close attention to, even if they don't have an immediate reason to deploy it.

By Activate the agency.