Expocheck's Top 10 Trends for 2017

Tech Trends of Events Industry

Expocheck's Top 10 Trends for 2017

Guest Contribution: Christian Funk,

“The accomplishment of digital transition is the no. 1 management objective of our times”, said Bitkom president Prof. Dieter Kempf. 70% of all German businesses consider digitalization to be a major challenge, and 55% of these have or will change their business model as a consequence of digitalization. These findings are the result of a sample survey staged by the German digital association Bitkom. The important issue is now to maintain a clear overview of trends and hyped-up vocabulary and terms such as Big Data, Sharing, Gamification or Virtual Reality. We‘ve compiled a list of what we consider to be the most important trends for the event industry.

1. Big Data

According to Bitkom, 35% of businesses in Germany already use Big-Data analyses for evaluating large amounts of data. “Innovative data analyses are gaining in significance when it comes to business-related decisions“, said Dr. Axel Pols, GM Bitkom Research. The analysis of data gained from event-apps, beacons, e-mails and social networks, movement data generated by portable phones and visits to websites, etc. is capable of producing extensive lists of potential participants in particular for expos and large-scale events. You will, of course, know that Donald Trump is certainly not the first politician to use Big Data for fueling election campaigns.

2. Data protection

If you’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound, and in the case of Big Data, that pound is compliance with data protection regulations, which is currently a hot potato in politics. The German federal ministry of the interior (BMI) must transpose the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation GDPR into German national legislation by May 2018, to replace the German Data Protection Act. A first draft law on data protection submitted by the BMI has already been turned down. German chancellor Angela Merkel warned that excessive data protectionism could turn Germany into a digital bush-league country.

3. Livestreaming of events

The hybrid design of events is certainly no longer really a topical trend, and a lot has happened in terms of how contents of expos and conferences are best transmitted online. With tools such as Periscope, Meerkat or Facebook Live, almost anybody can easily communicate what is currently going on at an event – infotainment in real-time. Did you watch our live reports from the Best of Events in Dortmund, and did you know that the e-commerce agency “hmmh” used livestreaming to recruit staff members? They streamed six so-called Open Talks via Periscope to give job applicants a convenient opportunity to get to know the agency.

4. Augmented and Virtual Reality (VR)

Critics like to argue that virtual worlds are frequently not very real, that it’s no fun to wear VR glasses and that this technology is too costly. That might, in fact be true, but nowadays lecturers in Madrid can deliver their speech as hologram on a stage in Berlin, congress centers have virtual walk-through features, sites may be explored with VR glasses and on-site experience at expos and fairs can be considerably enhanced as well. This technology is certainly on the advance. Have you ever had the opportunity to experience the “VRoom-Service“ available at Marriott Hotels? Guests may have VR glasses brought to their rooms to embark on virtual tours of dream destinations such as the Andes Mountains.

5. Gamification

Pokémon Go has prompted so many couch potatoes to go on chases in the open air that the American Heart Association actually commended the game. Based on the popularity of such games, it is absolutely conceivable that the use of augmented-reality applications such as Pokémon Go or geocaching games will become almost a standard feature at events. Since 2014, the turnover generated with games has been higher than that gained with films. And did you know that gamers with the help of the game Foldit developed by the University of Washington for field research within ten days managed to decipher the protein structure of an AIDS virus? It had previously taken scientists 15 years to arrive at the same findings.

6. Software integration

To optimize processes is at the top of the list for many event planners in particular as relates to an organization. Various software tools are being used for everything ranging from event procurement to admission control at expos. There’s a distinct trend to linking event management systems or booking platforms with own customer-relationship management.

7. Sharing Economy

It has become almost common practice to stay overnight in Airbnb accommodations to avoid paying exorbitant hotel prices charged during expo season. Business travelers also no longer consider it preposterous to inquire about car-sharing. But time marches further on: Spacebase is an online platform for booking meeting rooms based on the Airbnb principle; the portal Winstonclub brings together strangers to share hotel rooms - and thus also accommodation costs. And have you ever heard of the flight-sharing platform Wingly?

8. Marketing Automation

There are numerous options for utilizing automated mailings specifically in the event-staging industry, and that not only in the pre-event phase to solicit visitors. Communication at expos and congresses is also much simpler to accomplish. Market operators such as Marketo or Silverpop are at the head of the field in the domain of marketing automation; event management service providers such as Doubledutch or Etouches have been cooperating with these businesses to further exploit the potential for live events.

9. Crowd Thinking

Using swarm intelligence or crowd thinking is coming into fashion. The Swiss think tank Foraus (Forum Aussenpolitik) this past summer over a period of three months organized the first crowdsourcing for migration politics in Switzerland. A crowd of more than 200 active users on a platform input over 100 innovative ideas and reform proposals focused on the labor market, asylum policies and pluralistic society. You will certainly have read that Messe München has applied the same principle to an Open Innovation platform.

10. MOOCs 

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) are college-level online education programs. However, contrary to widespread misconceptions, these are not merely filmed lectures but comprehensive study courses, videos, supplemental texts, test questions, discussion forums, etc. The webcast professionals at meta-fusion are pursuing this strategy of sustained imparting of knowledge instead of merely recording lectures and sharing them on the Internet. Their streams, for example, covering the UEG Week, feature full-text search based on the speaker’s foils as well as direct foil navigation. 

About the Author:

This guest blog has been exclusively written for Ungerboeck by Christian Funk of offers more than 22,000 trade show dates in 4000 locations and editorially checked m+a trade show data. Furthermore, it provides professional insights into the global exhibition industry as well as profound data depth.


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