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By Alistair Barton, Project Director, SWM Partners

While even pre-2020 we relied on technology in both a professional and personal sense, our reliance on it no doubt increased during the pandemic.

This has given rise to the digital transformation trend, which refers to companies’ adoption of digital technology. Statista, for example, has revealed that worldwide spending on digital transformation technologies rose from US$0.9 Trillion in 2017 to US$ 1.8 Trillion in 2022, and this figure is set to increase to US$ 2.8 Trillion by 2025.

It’s clear that organisations recognise the power of digital, and there are many benefits associated with incorporating it into in-person, hybrid and virtual events today. While no two companies, events, or audiences are the same, below are five considerations when it comes to incorporating technology into your meetings and events.

Event apps that enable interactivity and connection

A tailored, branded event app can be used to send attendees personalised session and matchmaking recommendations, as well as informative content once a meeting ends, based on their demographics, interests, and the way in which they are attending an event. This ensures they get the most out of the experience, and that its key messages remain at the forefront of peoples’ minds well into the future.

Furthermore, these apps are effective when integrated into virtual and hybrid experiences, in that they can be configured to include interactive functionalities such as polling, voting and Q&As, so that regardless of where an audience member is located, they are able to actively contribute to the conversation in real time.

Bespoke platforms for driving engagement and ongoing education

While virtual event platforms were readily adopted when face-to-face experiences were not possible, they continue to have a place in 2022. Many attendees now expect to have the option to join an event remotely, meanwhile for some global events, virtual is required due to varying COVID-19 restrictions in different countries.

The key to success in virtual environments, is to work with a partner on the creation of a bespoke platform that reflects your brand, objectives, and audience. This will ensure the platform resonates, and may mean employing strategies including: condensing sessions to maintain engagement, staggering these shortened sessions over multiple weeks, and injecting an element of fun – and therefore serendipitous networking – through tactics such as gamification.

From a hybrid perspective, creating opportunities for both in-person and online audiences to take part in the experience, as well as connect with one another, by allocating time for scheduled meetings or roulette style networking, is key. If there’s an in-person demonstration element that won’t create the same impact when viewed from afar, for example, it’s important to transform the experience for this audience, ensuring they receive the same level of information and education, albeit in a way that strikes a chord with them specifically.

These portals remain relevant for solely in-person experiences too, as they provide event hosts with the opportunity to film sessions and house them for on-demand viewing, as well as key resources for virtual and in-person audiences to access at a later date.

Continuing the conversation through hybrid communities

We’ve heard much about the metaverse over the last 12 months, and it seems the healthcare sector is embracing this technology trend – research from InsightAce Analytic valued the global metaverse in healthcare market at US$ 5.06 Billion in 2021, and predicts this figure will increase to US$ 71.97 Billion by 2030.

While we are seeing brands invest in the space, Gartner notes it is still in its early stages of development, yet when it does come full circle, the transition to the metaverse could mirror that of the shift from analog to digital.

From a meetings perspective, more affordable and immediate ways to achieve a metaverse-like experience include creating virtual worlds for specific communities, which they visit as often as they wish to connect with like minded individuals, as well as join virtual sessions or events.

These can be complemented by face-to-face experiences for the dedicated groups, a move that ensures your event strategy remains varied, engaging, and importantly, helps you achieve your overarching goals.

Embracing the power of video

Video content, namely animations, are an effective tool to leverage in the healthcare space, as they allow for complex data to be distilled and communicated in easily digestible ways, through a highly visual medium.

Ways to leverage video content include illustrating key study facts and figures, providing step-by-step guides which detail how a product should be stored or administered, and showcasing how a trial has positively impacted participants.

The beauty of this type of video content is that it can be shared in physical and virtual spaces, and sent to event apps and portals for attendees to reference in the future.

Reducing our impact with event sustainability tools

In a positive move, sustainability is being addressed in the events industry to a degree we’ve not quite seen before. While there is a lot to be done from an organisational and supply chain perspective – the latter of which involves re-considering venues, material providers, caterers, transportation, and other supplier partners, technology has an important role to play here, particularly from a measurement and ROI perspective.

It’s key to note here too, that the same approach should be applied to virtual and hybrid events, not solely in-person ones. Their impact might be lower, however they are not immune from producing carbon emissions, for example.

Measurement technologies can be used to assess an event’s potential impact at the planning stage so adjustments can be made, as well as provide powerful data both during and after the event, which can shape the design of meetings in the future.

One thing we know for sure, is that digital transformation is set to continue. This means embracing technology within events, regardless of format, is one of the ultimate contributors to success both now, and in the long term.

To learn more about digital technologies as they relate to healthcare meetings and events specifically, get in touch with our team:

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