Events play an important role in every sector and you find conferences, expos, summits, festivals and shows for just about every industry. Each of those events will undoubtedly have a website and it’s commonplace now for them to have an accompanying app. With a background in live events and a passion for voice technology I wanted to consider where Voice is within events, a sector that is leveraging technology in many ways.
The first point to consider is whether it’s the event organiser's role to provide the equipment for voice or whether it was one for the venue. This is something that coincides with many debates in the voice sector around discoverability and if it’s the platform or the brand's responsibility. Of course, if a venue had smart speakers and voice tech installed, it would encourage event organisers to leverage it and start putting voice into their planning.
If we were to imagine what the smart venue of the future looks like, connectivity and super-fast internet are the foremost considerations, but where would voice feature? Having recently heard heads of two of the UK’s largest event venues speak, neither of them had considered or knew much at all about it. There are some concerns about what is seen as ‘replacing staff’ with machines but the main reason simply came down to the difficulties in enabling changing technology. For it to be given serious consideration by venues technology needs to have fully matured. There is a concern that voice is a gimmick; something new to try and it would have to be mainstream before adopting it.
Being engaged with the voice community, I often forget that, despite the huge growth in terms of sales, the release of products, new features and the number of brands embracing voice tech, many people and businesses still haven’t started to plan for voice. Is this an error?
Maybe not right now, but venues and event professionals should look at what is happening in the hotel and hospitality sector and how it is adding value to the customer experience. More and more smart speakers are being installed into reception areas and guest rooms to act as virtual concierges. The recently released Google Assistant’s interpreter mode is a great feature that would work well in the event sector. It allows easy communication with customers even if the staff present don’t speak the same language. Interpreter mode translates 29 languages in real-time to help businesses have free-flowing conversations with their guests, whether that be at hotels, airports, restaurants or venues.
If trends and predictions are to be believed it will only be a matter of time before people will expect to ask questions, register or even buy tickets for the events they are attending via voice. And whilst at an event, why wouldn’t you use a smart speaker in a venue to help you navigate, source information or even provide feedback? I, for one, am confident that voice isn’t just a gimmick, and that voice will become mainstream in events. It’s just a matter of time.