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 thought it would be a good idea to share some of the cooler stuff we stumble upon with you. From now on I will post a monthly update on some of the most innovative, weirdest, most functional, fun-but-totally-useless and quirky event-tech the Rebel and Soul team has spotted.
While going through the latest batch of press releases I came across a sentence that stood out to me:
Nearly 80% of event bookers who attended our event last night confirmed they would consider using VR at one of their events, but nearly 90% were lacking in knowledge and understanding of VR (source)
In my opinion experiential agencies should have this knowledge - either internally or through partnerships - and help guide stakeholders in the process. A whole world just opened up and it would be a missed opportunity to just #brexit away from all these new opportunities (I’m sorry - I’m in the UK right now and my writing may be somewhat affected…)
This is exactly why Rebel and Soul is currently talking to a partner like Musion in the UK. They’re specialized in holographic projections and were propelled onto the global stage four years ago when they brought the deceased rapper Tupac back to life during the Coachella music festival.
In essence that was nothing more than a really fancy mirror trick, but both the tech and Musion have progressed. They’re now streaming entire bands like the Black Eyed Peas across continents, they’re hologramming campaigning politicians into rallies in 50 cities at once and they even helped Usain Bolt pick up an award in person in Rio while he was home in Jamaica. But it doesn’t have to be that glamorous - this tech can also be surprisingly functional. We are planning a pilot project with them where a holographic CEO would address questions in real time in 6 country offices simultaneously. The same tech that allowed a hologrammed princes Leia to ask general Kenobi for help can now empower organisations to discuss Q2 revenue with the global team.
2. The Pilot
The next event-tech innovation that got us very excited might be useful in the same setting as the holographic CEO. A company called Waverly Labs has created a smart earpiece that instantly translates between users speaking different languages. The Pilot comes with an app that let’s you switch languages and works offline.
I can see us using this in high profile business conferences in countries like Vietnam and China where English is not everyone’s first language - provided it works as advertised. I might have to get my lawyers to draft a watertight contract just in case it doesn’t - can’t have The Pilot let us end up on a list like this:
3. Wearable Jewelry
Lastly I wanted to point you to a London based fashion and technology brand that I have been secretly admiring from a distance for a while. XO has been on the forefront of emotional tech for years and it is largely because of them that this field is now heating up. Their product, the XOX wristband, is a silicon band containing electronics that draw biometric data out of the body “by listening to its ebb and flow”. The wristbands measure levels of excitement in the host, information is processed and broadcast wirelessly. Lady Gaga is a fan, as are Arcade Fire and Azealia Banks who have all used this tech.
Besides the obvious uses of this particular smart jewelry for events (data that measures emotions is the holy grail for any brand) I do think interactive jewellery in general has more potential- especially when it is putting the consumer in control of the interaction. Imagine high streets where shop windows became graphic screens that rewarded you for wearing their interactive jewellery product by personalising graphics as you walked past. Or perhaps even make you tailored offers - depending on how much the smart technology knows about you. In a sense fashion items like these can be categorized with other smart wearables like google glass (or Samsung's upcoming smart lenses) that put the user in charge of their experience. Marketers like us just have to figure out how best to serve them and add value. Which is exactly what we are trying to do here at Rebel and Soul. I’ll keep sharing that journey - till next month.