Technology At The Core: 7 Tech Trends That Have Changed Brand Experience
TECHNOLOGY AT THE CORE
7 TECH TRENDS
TECHNOLOGY DRASTICALLY IMPACTS
EVERY ASPECT OF THE WORLDAROUND US
THESE DAYS, BUT IT’S HARDER THAN EVER TO
INTEGRATE TECHNOLOGY INTO LIVE EXPERIENCES
IN WAYS THAT ARE RELEVANT, EFFECTIVE AND
ABOVE ALL SEAMLESS.
THAT’S BECAUSE THE BEST TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS
ARE INVISIBLE. THEY ADD VALUE AND AREN’T
DISRUPTIVE. THEY USE THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY FOR
THE RIGHT AUDIENCE. AND, ABOVE ALL, THEY AVOID
USING TECHNOLOGY FOR THE SAKE OF IT.
IT’S A TALL ORDER,
BUT THERE ARE
HERE ARE SEVEN “INVISIBLE
TECHNOLOGY” TRENDS THAT
BRANDS ARE LEVERAGING TO
CREATE RELEVANT LIVE EXPERIENCES:
SECOND SCREEN INTERACTION
NEXT GEN CLOUD SERVICES
ONE STEP CLOSER
We can thank Apple for the ubiquity of the
touchscreen. Everyone knows what it is and
everyone intuitively knows how to use it (just Google
“babies with iPads”). From phones to tables to walls
and even windows, touchscreens are everywhere.
Touch screen integration in live experiences can be
as simple as giving staff tablets and as complex as
large-scale installations that utilize gesture and voice
activation. We see it in everything from airports
to museums to incredibly successful store windows
So why does it work so well? At its basic level,
the physicality of touch surfaces invokes a deeper
level of engagement and emotional connection. It
allows the viewer to take control of the content and
direct their own experience. It creates a true group
experience in which watching someone interact with
content is suddenly interesting and worth talking
about. And, ubiquitous as it is, it’s still just plain fun.
The rise of smartphones has unchained digital
experiences from the desk to anywhere, anytime.
And “next generation” mobile devices are being
adopted at a faster rate than any other technology
in world history.
Simply put: pretty much everyone
has a smartphone these days. And they are going
to use them.
Many live experiences are capitalizing on the “BYOD”
(Bring Your Own Device) trend by offering event
information, additional VIP content, gamification and
crowd interaction tools.
It works so well because it allows attendees to
use their own technology instead of forcing new
technology on them—so there’s one less barrier to
entry and no learning curve. Their own devices can
then serve as an “always on” concierge that helps
attendees get the most out of any experience. And,
between encouraging social sharing and capturing
attendee information, it helps to extend the footprint
of the experience, too.
TODAY FOR A
Big data is impacting most aspects of the world around
us—never before have we had so much information at
our fingertips. The challenge, of course, is to turn this
data into useful, relevant information.
Live experiences have been capitalizing on this trend by
using data as content (infographs are everywhere!) and
by getting much more granular with experience metrics
and social monitoring.
Historically brand experiences have relied on gut
feelings and anecdotal research to measure success.
As the field has advanced, of course, measurement
strategies have, too, but they have still generally
focused on an end-of-project recap report and a pledge
to improve next month, quarter, or year.
Now, huge amounts of rich data about our attendees,
experiences, successes, and shortcoming are instantly
accessible, allowing us to optimize in real time.
Everyone is familiar with the basic premise of
the cloud: linking multiple devices, services and
applications together in real time. It’s the invisible
hero that allows us to push and pull rich content, to
live stream, and to seamlessly integrate almost any
other technology into a live experience.
But the next generation cloud is all about delivering
information anywhere at anytime and amplifying
single voices into passionate communities.
It’s everything from group chat/messaging to new
services like Tile (the world’s largest communal lost
and found) and Thunderclap, the web-based service
that bills itself as the first “crowd-speaking” platform.
(If enough people support it, Thunderclap will send
out a timed Facebook post or Tweet from the entire
community, creating a wave of support and attention.)
Use the cloud wisely and you can amplify your
message and experience, and create a passionately
No longer is contactless connection all about using
primitive RFID to track basic movement through an
experience. Now, virtually invisible technologies like
NFC (near field communication), Bump, iBeacon and
others, have helped to take contactless connection
to the next level. These technologies make instant
sharing between brand and user more accessible,
cost-effective, and valuable for everyone. After all,
when there’s no learning curve or additional ask on
your attendees, they’re much more likely to engage
with the thing you most want them to—your brand
and your content.
Why is contactless connection suddenly popping up
everywhere? From a business perspective, it provides
a seamless way to make connections and swap
details (think lead gen). From a brand POV, it delivers
data analytics and real-time monitoring. And, most
importantly, from the user perspective, it adds the
ability to truly customize an experience to their unique
wants and needs.
Retailers are on the cutting edge of this trend, tracking
specific customers in- and out-of- store patterns and
sending them additional information and relevant
discounts in real-time.
The technology is there. What else will we do with it?
Enhanced reality allows us to overlay specific
information about the world right into your plane of
vision, and it’s never been hotter.
The technology has
finally caught up to make it much more seamless, and
we are starting to see application with real utility,
as opposed to just vanity.
The first great example of utility-based enhanced
reality came from the United States Post Office, whose
app allows customers to determine if objects would
fit in a shipping box.
Now Audi allows us to see our own cars as if they
were brand new Audis, countless retailers let us
virtually try on shoes and clothes, and attendees will
soon be able to watch Major League Baseball games
in stadium and see live stats overlays (courtesy of
So whether finding a specific location, enhancing an
environment, giving further information about the
world, or allowing people to dig deeper, enhanced
reality is here to stay.
THE BEST AND
Okay, so Maker Communities aren’t exactly
“technology”, but they have their roots in the tech
world and they are taking live experiences by storm.
We’re seeing ingenious use of these communities by
integrating inventor labs and ”hackathons” into live
experiences that allow everyone to watch top talent
solve complex problems in real time.
It works because it’s an entirely new way to think.
It brings in the best and the brightest from various
industries, companies, and perspectives. It allows
communities to roll up their sleeves and make a
difference. And it’s part hacker, part DIY – a very
cool combo these days.
OF COURSE, THESE TRENDS
ARE JUST THE BEGINNING.
The technological landscape continues to change at
a rapid pace, and there are many cutting-edge trends
that will be coming to the forefront in the months and
years to come. Stay tuned for our “Digital Trends
2014” whitepaper early next year, in which we
will examine those emerging technologies.
(Wearable tech, anyone?)
In the meantime, remember that a technology
is only as good as the strategy, ideas and
execution behind it.
LEESA WYTOCK IS VICE PRESIDENT OF DIGITAL
IN JACK MORTON’S NEW YORK OFFICE.