Virtual is still an unfamiliar event format for many, but it’s not diminishing in importance even as in-person events make a comeback in many cities. Event planning teams have to prepare themselves to mix virtual with onsite in the context of a ‘new normal’ hybrid future. Feeling anxious yet?
Don’t worry, that’s where the event technologist comes in. Your tech partner together with your team’s tech specialist can support you in creating a tech stack to serve your new event goals — and ideally to help you get set up with industry benchmarks and the data infrastructure for establishing your own. All you need is a point-person with the technological acumen to translate what’s available into what’s the best for your organization.
So what exactly is an event technologist and what do they do? It’s a role that has evolved with the growing complexity of event requirements, going far beyond providing basic tech support.
Today’s event technologist is a key figure in the success of your event, bringing an in-depth knowledge of the various tools and technologies required as well as the ability to monitor trends, understand data flow in a tech stack, set up back-end processes and systems correctly and troubleshoot technology before, during and after events.
Here are key reasons why an event technologist, together with your tech provider, have a valuable role to play in supporting your team.
Hybrid is Here to Stay
Even as in-person events resume, virtual and hybrid events are certain to remain part of the “new normal.” Per EventMB’s latest survey of event planners, over 70 percent of respondents said they plan to make hybrid part of their strategy going forward. This means that many planners have to master both in-person and virtual aspects of a meeting, along with how they interact.
Tech Expertise Not a Core Competency
While event planners became more familiar with virtual platforms during the past year or so, now there are both virtual and hybrid formats to furnish with the appropriate technology.
It’s hardly surprising if the growing complexity of event tech tools and required skills for hybrid events is pushing the knowledge and comfort level of many planners to the wall.
It’s an environment that not everyone is prepared for. At the same time that organizations are investing more in technology (according to EventMB research done just prior to the pandemic, 61 percent of organizations were planning to do so), only 6 percent of event planning jobs explicitly require expertise in digital tools.
This increasing tech investment poses challenges for planners who must learn to execute sophisticated new tools. It also points to the need for an event technologist to vet platforms and work with their support teams to ensure the investment is worthwhile.
Minding the Gap
With the skills gap brought by new tech requirements growing wider all the time, many tech suppliers are stepping in to bridge that gap.
Recent research from EventMB indicates that while 40.5 percent of event planners have access to an in-house production team, the remaining nearly 60 percent are outsourcing their virtual and hybrid production, and 24.9 percent say they are relying on their virtual tech provider for that. As the need for virtual expertise grows, reliance on tech partners to manage more of the increasing requirements will become more important for planners.
Keeping Up With the Joneses.
As organizations invest more heavily in technology and event requirements grow in sophistication, the level of support needed goes far beyond making sure the Wi-Fi works properly or creating a mobile app for the meeting. As event technology has grown more complex, the role of the event technologist has also grown more complex and is therefore more valuable to organizations than ever.
Free to Delegate
Having a dedicated event technologist on board gives planners a chance to focus on what they do best. By doing so, it can facilitate career advancement, improved ROI and better meeting experiences for all concerned.
For planners seeking strategic, higher level roles within their organizations, there is an accompanying need to delegate duties to others, including technology management. Working with an event technologist frees up planners to focus on the strategic and creative aspects of their jobs. Planners can rely on tech specialists for help with strategies in delivering on event objectives and attendee engagement.
With hybrid events that require skills in both virtual and onsite formats likely to play a significant part in the future of meetings, the role of an event technologist is taking on new significance. Planners gain a valuable partner who frees them up to focus on the many other facets of the job. Organizations also have much to gain from this source of expertise, which ensures that their tech investments are put to optimum use.