How to Leverage Artificial Intelligence at Events
Artificial intelligence can be a frightening notion for those unfamiliar with the technology. For some, it conjures up fears of machines replacing them at work. For others, it’s over-the-top Hollywood films like “The Terminator” that present robots as killing machines that give them pause. Fortunately, the worst of the public’s fears about the technology are unfounded. The reality of AI is that its benefits far outweigh its risks, especially when it comes to marketing. Following is a look at how to leverage artificial intelligence to elevate live experiences—fear-factor not required.
It’s no secret that personalizing the attendee journey is an effective way to increase dwell time and build stronger emotional connections, so why not leverage cutting-edge technology while you’re at it? That was Amazon Prime Video’s approach at New York Comic-Con, where it promoted its reboot of the superhero series “The Tick.” To bring the show to life, the brand erected a life-sized version of Dangerboat, the sassy, AI-powered sidekick and headquarters of Overkill, one of the program’s anti-heroes.
To give each attendee a unique, interactive experience with Dangerboat, Amazon leveraged artificial intelligence paired with RFID technology. After registering for the experience with an RFID wristband, fans were invited to step inside the replica watercraft. As they explored, a roving camera and AI-driven voice technology served as Dangerboat’s smart-mouthed character, addressing each participant by name and engaging them in conversation, and making jabs and often asking risqué questions. Each interaction was based on the individual’s registration information, making attendees feel as if the engagement were created just for them, and offering a few chuckles along the way.
AI can be an effective way to fuel interactive events, but the technology can also be leveraged to keep those same events safe and secure thanks to AI-driven video management software. Although most large-scale venues (think: sports stadiums and festival sites) already have high-def cameras and enhanced video management tech designed to help security personnel quickly respond to potential security threats, dwindling human attention spans inhibit the full force of that technology’s power. In short, there is an imbalance between the amount of video data collected and the human ability to effectively search through it. Fortunately, event safety tools are increasingly powered by artificial intelligence. This allows event venues to modify their approach to reviewing video footage, while freeing up security teams to have a greater presence on the ground.
Escape room experiences are nothing new in the experiential space, but escape rooms powered by artificial intelligence may be the next generation of these event types to sweep the industry. Amazon led the charge at this year’s Mobile World Congress, where it unveiled an escape room controlled by its AI voice assistant, Alexa, to promote its action series, “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.” The objective was to crack a code using some of Alexa’s interactive features, which could be leveraged from a range of Amazon smart devices integrated into the experience, like the Echo, Echo Spot and Echo Show. Promoting a new series while simultaneously getting attendees to interact with your proprietary technology? Well played, Amazon.
Think of any major conference, trade show or festival these days and chances are, there’s an app dedicated to that specific event. But not all event apps are created equal, and most event marketers will tell you that the most widely adopted—and effective—ones feature chatbots. The AI-powered systems offer a host of benefits, all geared toward improving the attendee experience. Like offering information on meals, networking experiences, speakers, special events, key locations and even how to connect with fellow attendees. Of course, all of this information is provided in a conversational format, making the interaction more approachable for attendees and helping bridge the gap between human and machine. Some event organizers even give their chatbots personality traits reflective of the brand, thereby immersing attendees in the organization’s ethos, while also obtaining useful event information.
Fact is, AI is still in its infancy and its benefits will continue to be unveiled over time. That’s good news for event marketers because, as Adweek put it, “the future belongs to brands that can give consumers instant gratification,” and artificial intelligence is leading the way.
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