Imagine having a pair of shoes that recharges your phone as you walk, a shirt that lets your coworkers know when you’re in a bad mood and contact lenses that project directions straight onto your eyes. This will all happen in the future, at least according to Time Magazine.
This is great news for an industry that is always looking to improve the experience of attendees and organisers alike. Wearable two-way beacons that generate heat maps of crowd flow and a jacket that can recharge your iPhone are just some of the ways events are stepping up.
In this post, we’ll go over some of the latest wearable technology trends and how they’re changing the world of professional events forever.
Got a badge? Just walk in
At the moment, badges are the necessary evil of professional events. These let organisers know you paid to be there and informs other attendees of who you are and where you work. Other than that, it’s just a tacky necklace that hangs from your neck for a couple of days — that is until beacon-to-beacon technology is implemented.
These small devices work using BLE (Bluetooth low energy) which allows them to transfer information between beacons constantly and for long periods of time. Much like a lighthouse, this chip sends a signal to other devices like smartphones and apps. They’re small and lightweight which means you can insert them into compact spaces, like badges.
Okay, that all sounds very fancy but what good are they for? Smart badges have the potential to enable automatic check-ins, exchange contact information between attendees (leave the business cards at home) and even alert you when someone that matches your networking goals is close by.
As for event planners, smart badges also have the potential to generate heat maps of where the most activity is happening at any given time. This technology allows organisers to keep guests informed of the latest happenings. Companies like Loopd offer these services for professional gatherings.
Breeze through presentations (literally)
Have you ever had problems with a clicker throughout a presentation? We’ve all been there. It’s either too sensitive and goes through slides too quickly or the opposite, and you have to click more than once to get it to react. It also happens that sometimes it won’t sync with the computer or (the worst possible scenario) someone forgets to charge the batteries!
Luckily, tech companies are working on technology that will allow us to go through entire presentations with just a flick of our wrist. An example of this type of technology is the MYO by Thalmic Labs, an armband that syncs with your computer and you control with the muscles of your forearm. At the moment, it will set you back $200 but as time goes by, we’re sure the technology will only become sleeker and cheaper.
Your T-shirt told me to buy it
Branded T-shirts have become a common staple at congresses and other professional events due to their many benefits. Because they’re easy to produce and relatively cheap, they offer great ROI but at the same time, there’s hardly anything groundbreaking about them.
Which is why companies like CuteCircuit develop new ways for clothes to improve the experience of the user. They’re mostly known for creating smart fabrics that can connect to other devices via BlueTooth. One of their earlier pieces allowed users to control the lights projected in the garment via smartphones. But their latest product is the HugShirt which allows you to send ‘hugs’ to other people who wear the same shirt.
Illuminated apparel is also another company that’s creating exciting possibilities for T-shirts. Using luminescent ink, you can draw virtually anything onto a garment and watch it glow. It fades over time which allows you to change the design constantly.
Thanks to advancement in printing techniques, recreating AR prints on clothes is now possible. Curiscope created a T-shirt line with the purpose to educate children about the human body but the same technology can be used to promote a brand or teach a potential customer about a product.
What? Let me put on my headphones
Those of us who have attended international events understand how problematic language barriers can be. There’s always the possibility to hire a translator, of course, but these can be expensive and they can make conversations move at an unnatural pace. It can get awkward, or worse, you could lose a lucrative deal if you end up with a bad one.
Thankfully, nowadays we have devices that can translate what someone else is saying in real time. Waverly Labs and Google both sell cool-looking headphones with the potential to become your best friend when dealing with foreign tongues. The first offers the Pilot Translating Earpiece, which can translate up to 15 languages for $250 and the second just released Pixel Buds which offers translations of 40 languages for $160.
Forgot your charger? I’ll lend you my jacket
Thanks to wireless chargers and clothes with strategically placed solar panels, running out of battery will be a thing of the past. Yes, you read that right, clothes with solar panels!
Dutch fashion designer Pauline Van Dongen has found a way to adapt solar panels to clothes that is not only functional but also looks good. On one of her latest projects, she got together with clothing brand Blue LOOP Originals to design a sustainable jacket. The end result was a garment made of organic materials that featured a power-bank inside the lining to charge smartphones and other devices.
A dead phone is a legitimate can give even the most professional of CEOs a meltdown so having garments that can quickly charge your batteries will make the life of those who have to spend long hours at events easier.
Only time will tell how far wearable technology will go but if these devices are any indication of what’s to come, then the future of the events industry is going to be an exciting one.
This post was brought to you by Printsome Insights. A blog for the young professional of today. An individual that’s not afraid to work hard but also knows when not to take things too seriously. We talk about design, entrepreneurship, event planning, self-improvement and more!