Every day the Rebel team scour the internet, plough through our mailboxes and visit events in our neverending search for the latest trends in event-tech. Some of the gems we find go on to become big hits, others fade into oblivion. I’m posting monthly updates on some of the most innovative, weirdest, most functional, fun-but-totally-useless and quirky event-tech the Rebel and Soul team has spotted.
It’s been a little while since I wrote one of these. Rebel and Soul was busy activating in Singapore, China, Thailand and Indonesia as well as other markets. Busy times - but we did manage to keep track of the latest event-tech. This time we have smart sneakers, smart wristbands, and VR.
1. Smart sneakers
Forget about the Pokemon for a minute - they just sneaked that into the press release to get a little more attention - and what you are left with is pretty cool technology that consist of a LED display that can be build into any piece of clothing connected to sensors that respond to motion and sound. From the press release: “As well as syncing with games, the shoes can vibrate to alert the wearer to social media notifications, incoming calls, texts and emails. Used with Google Maps, the left or right shoe will vibrate to indicate where and when the wearer should turn.”
I think these shoes can be used during team building exercises (puzzle tours through a city) or dance events (learn the electric slide in under a minute) or they can even work to make people part of the light show. I don’t see these kicks being funded and developed before the Pokemon craze is finished, but that shouldn’t stop them from being a success, also in the event industry.
2. Smart wristbands
The second wearable we spotted was Sgnl by Innomdle Lab, a startup that's been spun out of Samsung. -> insert explosive battery joke here <-. The wristband that they developed allows wearers to make and take calls just by pressing a finger on their ear. The vibrations that the Sgnl band sends through your body allow the sound to flow to your drums.
I can see us using this in combination with RFID tags at events, like car shows for example. Normally we would have guests tap their RFID tag to a reader next to a car they are interested in and we send information to their registered email address. But this tech allows us to communicate on a more personal level with a customer. When someone requests more information about the car he’s looking at, all he has to do is place his finger against his ear and we’ll tell them all he needs to know.
3. VR goes mainstream
Lastly I wanted to point to research from both GFK as well as Nielsen who have separately from each other come to the conclusion that VR will hit the masses, like, pretty much right about now. The market and consumer researchers from GFK sum it up in this great slide:
Nielsen in the meantime interviewed random 8000 people about VR and came to the conclusion that 24 percent of them are expecting to use or purchase VR in the next year. Amazingly strong numbers for tech that hasn't hit mainstream yet. It is therefore essential that the event industry stays ahead of the curve and adapts new technology as it comes out. We should be leading, not following. Stuff like Magic Leap’s (who's founder is pictured below) augmented-reality technology that will create lifelike holograms shone directly into users’ eyes, for example, is something that we should be all over.
The tech is too complicated for me to go into right now, and the back bone story is too interesting, so I recommend you read the amazing article about Magic Leap below by Peter Yang in WIRED if you hadn’t already.