4 Ways to Use Wearables At Events


Event marketers are always looking for new ways to upgrade experiences and measure their impact. And these days, using wearables at events is quickly becoming one of the most innovative means to get it done in a way that transparent and passive to the users.

In the recent past, wearables were still considered a ‘not ready for prime time’ market. This has quickly changed. From Fitbits, to smart glasses, to tracking devices for the family dog, wearables’ star is definitely on the rise. A recent study estimates the wearables market will be worth $34 billion by 2020. Bottom line: If you have an event marketing goal, chances are “there’s a wearable for that.”

So how can event marketers to get in on the wearables action? Here are four ways that using wearables at events can be done effectively:

1. Social sharing

The passive, POV aspect of visual wearable technology has some big advantages in terms of social media shareability. If you’re looking to generate loads of user-generated content at your event, as well as what moved your attendees to hit “record,” consider distributing visual wearables on your attendees and let them run wild.

Snapchat is taking the lead on this type of technology with its Spectacles digital glasses that they are selling through adorable bright yellow vending machines called Snapbots. The smart glasses, which look like a colorful pair of shades, allow the wearer to capture memories from their personal perspective. Using them is a snap, too. The wearer simply presses a button on the temple of the glasses and a 10-second video is automatically recorded. The footage is wirelessly added to the user’s Snapchat account, making social sharing a breeze.

Snapchat deliberately designed the glasses to be bright, the cameras highly visible, and the action of recording to be obvious, so that everyone knows when they are being filmed.And don’t worry about lasting power. Spectacles charge right in their case.

2. Haptic event interaction

The field of haptics refers to the extension of interaction into the realm of touch. If you have ever felt the unnerving buzz of a game controller in your hand while playing Call of Duty, then you know what haptics are. For event marketers, haptics offer a huge variety of possibilities, notably for wayfinding. New haptic wearable devices like Somatic Labs’ Moment can deliver four separate detectable vibrations to the wearer in a small form factor. Used in an event setting, attendees wearing passive devices like these could be guided to specific places, alerted to special happenings or other people all through sense of touch. Haptics can also be integrated via mobile devices with technology like Immersion’s Touch Sense, which offer a library of distinctive haptic vibrations using standard mobile hardware.

3. Realtime location metrics

Locating your attendees as well as gauging their movements throughout an event can be a vital metric in identifying bottlenecks and improving overall visibility by attendees. There are many off-the-shelf affordable technologies that offer a view into crowd movement throughout an event, including realtime heat maps and communication back to attendees’ wristbands via LED lights. They also maximize crowd traffic. Universal Orlando is using a wearable technology in its new Volcano Bay theme park. All visitors will receive a wristband that shows the best time to return to the ride. That way, they can spend more time exploring the park, and less time waiting in line. The wristbands also activate special effects, like shooting water cannons and projections, within the attraction.

4. Biometric attendee data

Another important asset offered by wearables is their value in providing concrete data related to attendee emotion and reaction. Wearable devices can measure heart rate and variability, brainwave activity, and breathing rate to name a few. Combined with external data on location and activity, they can provide crucial information on the effectiveness of the event and the brand.

A great example of this can be seen at Infiniti’s booth at the 2016 Pebble Beach Automotive Week event. Wearable armbands given to attendees provide biometric data about their emotional states as they interact with the cars on display. This emotional data creates swirling visual images displayed in realtime. Activations like this are a win-win: for participants, they provide a unique and exhilarating experience, and for the brand they provide valuable data on how attendees react to its event and to their products.

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Posted by Joe Cantrell | Request as a Speaker

Creative Research Specialist. Asker of technological questions, explainer of things, voider of warranties