Four Trends Shaping 2015

Four Trends Shaping 2015

1​ - The Internet of things Perhaps one of the most accessible trends to emerge, the internet of things will play a bigger role in all aspects of our lives in 2015. This trend refers to smart or internet-enabled objects and at the moment most of us are likely to experience it via wearable devices ('wearables'). Prominent examples include, Nike's Fuelband and Fitbit. This year we anticipate that growing numbers of people will have access to such devices as a whole new wave of 'wearables' come to market. These will include clothing and jewelry that will monitor heart rate, skin temperature, breathing, sweat gland activity and even blood pressure. While it is clear that wearables will have a positive impact on our health and fitness, it is likely that they will really start to shape the meetings and conference sector in combination with other trends. Trendwatch have identified 'the internet of sharing things' where wearables combine with the consumer driven trend for sharing resources and services (think airbnb and uber). Breather is a great example of how this might have an impact on meetings and events. This service enables people to find unused urban spaces to rent for as little as 30 minutes, to recharge or work in. After making a booking, users are granted temporary access to unlock the property via the NFC (near field communication) keyless entry system. In the longer term, this trend is likely to impact on customer expectations of who meeting spaces are booked, paid for an accessed, whilst opening up a whole new set of choices for people who want to book meeting rooms. 2 - ​Occulus Rift Occulus rift is a virtual reality head mounted display, which was originally developed for gamers. The company was purchased by Facebook last year for $2 billion and the involvement of the social media giant is likely to make this technology increasingly affordable and relatively mainstream. From a events perspective we can see two applications. It is ideal for live events, adding something cutting edge and different to an exhibition stand, for example. This is a piece of tech which can add a totally immersive brand experience on the stand, while helping the exhibitor stand out from the crowd. At an earlier stage in the process, it can enable potential delegates to experience virtual tours of destinations and venues. This could be a particulalry powerful method of removing some of the risk that comes with booking a large scale event or even signing onto that expensive conference. 3​ - Fast-Laning A consumer driven trend identified by trendwatch, which reflects the fact that customers will expect to be able to be provided with an optional 'fast-lane' through waiting times. Effectively this involves offering a multi-tiered service provision. While this may not be suitable for all situations (as if handled badly, fast lanes will just draw attention to sub-standard normal service), it can have a positive impact if the solution benefits all customers. A great example of this in action is the recent test at Hyatt and Hilton hotel chains, which enabled guests enrolled in their loyalty programs to check into the hotel via their apps and use their mobiles as room keys, in order to avoid wait lines at the front desk. Fast-Laning could be used to add value to larger events and conferences by enabling pre-paid delegates to skip on-site registration or check-ins. 4 - ​Mobile Payments Many industry experts have predicted that 2015 might finally be the year where mobile payments finally makes a break through to prominence in e-Commerce. Apple Pay now has over a million active users, while Google reported a 50% increase in transactions, with new user sign-ups doubling for its Wallet application in the month after Apple Pay was released. A recent report by global consulting giant Deloitte has already predicted one in 20 smartphone owners making a mobile payment with their phone by the end of the year. The current thinking is that mobile payments have gradually gained acceptance within the mainstream and that we have approached the 'tipping point' where the improved ease, accessibility and understanding of mobile payments finally wins over the masses. The applications for meetings and events is relatively easy to appreciate, with the manner in which delegates pay for access, upgrades and accommodation changing radically.

Author: Gary Burgess

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