IET Venues share top tech trends to watch out for in 2021

By Anna Wolfram

In a pivotal year for the events industry, event organisers, venues and delegates have become even more reliant on technology to stay connected. Globally, we’ve all had to adapt to a virtual world, finding new ways of working, learning and communicating.

Technology innovation, and its rapid evolution, is nothing new, yet the Covid-19 pandemic has no doubt seen a surge in the use of certain software and platforms in order to adjust to the ‘new normal’ and keeping moving forward.

Sean Spencer, Head of IET Venues, has put together some of the top industry tech trends to watch out for in 2021.

The resurgence of QR and digital health
While QR codes and Bluetooth connectivity have been around for some time, their use, especially in UK hospitality, has definitely seen an increase and is likely to continue to do so into 2021. Outside of various stages of lockdown, hospitality venues have been using QR codes for contactless menus.

The NHS Covid-19 app has also become a requirement for customers to check into when visiting public venues. Along with the test and trace app, facial mapping and thermal imaging scanners are a must for monitoring the health and wellbeing of delegates and visitors to venues. There’s scope for the introduction of a COVID passport, vaccine certificate or similar new initiative from the Government to determine ‘safe’ travellers and delegates.

Wearable technologies, fitness and health trackers are also continually on the rise. With many industries affected by restrictions and closures, companies are having to switch the narrative to the pros of smart exercise devices and digital workouts at home. For event planners notoriously known for their high step count during busy event periods and frequent show-rounds at larger venues, it’s a great way to track the natural exercise being undertaken during work.

Touchless tech
Remaining as ‘contactless’ as possible will no doubt be a goal for 2021, as it has been when the pandemic first struck.

From voice recognition in meeting rooms (used for controlling blinds, screens, lights etc), to sensors, facial recognition, Bluetooth access control and even contactless banking, the presence of touchless technology will be an important standard for all industries alike.

Hybrid events
With virtual elements becoming a necessary part of an event programme, hybrid events allow for a perfect blend of an in-person venue and high-quality professional event technology and AV.

As hybrid events become more prevalent, venues will need to ensure they’ve got the latest upgrades in internal IT networks, particularly increased bandwidth if streaming multiple events and handling large amounts of data is the ambition for now and in the future. Also, having good third-party suppliers or an in-house team, upskilled in all elements of hybrid events, will be key to future successes.