Ten years have passed, and it was quite a decade of technology. So, here are at the Event Tech Podcast, we dedicate ourselves to exploring all things related to technology in our industry. And so far, we’ve covered some incredible topics. From event hardware to facial recognition and data privacy, we’ve done it all. It’s undeniable that in the past decade, technology has taken a giant leap. And our industry certainly needs to make an effort to keep up the pace.
So, considering that the core of the podcast is event tech, it’s only fitting that we look back. And that’s exactly what our incredible hosts Will Curran and Brandt Krueger will do today! From 2010 onwards, it’s time we get an overview of the past decade of technology. A decade filled with exciting promises and innovations. And one that challenged the events industry to change its mindset and outlook into how we work. So, without further ado, press play – it’s Event Tech Podcast o’clock!
The Advent Of The iPad
“Literally right away in 2010 was probably one of the biggest things that influenced this whole decade”, says Brandt. “And that was the release of the iPad. I definitely was not impressed when it came out. But in the end, it has definitely proven to be one of the most influential products of the decade. What it really did is it really brought tablets to the mainstream”.
He continues to say that “we wouldn’t have the surface devices if it wasn’t for the iPad. Because it showed that the mainstream was ready for tablet computing”.
Tablet Computing Surfacing Into A Decade Technology
“We talked a little bit about how we say you need to ditch the binder and start using the tablet“, Will recalls. “But I think that it became this markup ability. I can site plans that never really existed before. If you wanted to draw on a plan, you had to use your mouse and it was always terrible. No one ended up doing it. And I think that was one of the biggest things nowadays. I can see people drawing on site and site plans like all day long”.
“It also reminded me of registration”, adds Brandt. “Now it’s so easy to see people coming out, almost everything is done on a lot of the registration platforms. You know, you just walk up to an iPad that’s mounted on the thing there and way it goes”.
Widespread Adoption of Smartphones
This decade of technology was only this intense due to the smartphone. “Mass adoption didn’t happen until this decade. And in 2010 was when the iPhone four came out. And I think that’s when mass adoption happened when the iPhone started to happen. So very, very influential phone”, says Will. “All these other things that we’re going to talk about, I think none of them would have happened without smartphone adoption being as ubiquitous as it is now. And as widespread and as important as it was, I think no, almost none of this stuff would have happened if it wasn’t for the smartphone”.
Let’s Talk 4G
5G is supposed to be the next big thing. But it pays off to go back in time and remember when 4G was coming out. “We were doing the reflection for this episode and I didn’t even think about the fact that 4G is so ubiquitous”, says Will. “Well, it’s not 100% rolled out. But it’s also in so many places that I couldn’t believe that I had to remember when did 4G first hit the iPhone? It was the iPhone five. It’s crazy to think that that only existed last 10 years. Like the ability to download a file very quickly to stream music instantly in high quality”.
The Quality That Shaped A Decade of Technology
“That’s gotta be something that’s definitely influenced our events over the course of this last decade”, adds Brandt. “One, the fact that everybody’s got a camera in their pocket. But also just the fact that the quality has gotten so much better that you can, as a production company or as a planner, wander through your event with your cell phone and get publishing quality photos of your event that you can immediately turn around and put on your webpage. Or send to the client to say up and running looks amazing. Or post on Pinterest, Instagram, you know, for, for publicity purposes”.
Raising The Bar For Event Profs
“Because we have such good quality video now, the standard for quality video is higher”, says Will. “So when you’re capturing your image, your image magnification on onstage or you’re doing your B roll and your day edits. The fact that people want same-day edits of their conferences is crazy. Because you would never see that 10 years ago. There’s no way you could have it done by the evening”.
“This also then brings in the whole new live streaming thing“, he continues. “10 years ago no one would ever have said, we’re going to have a conversation about whether or not live streaming is taking away tickets from my audience. Everybody would be like, no. The only way you can experience and even see what’s going on stages in person. But now you could have a cinematic experience over the internet. And I think it’s because of the equality and compression specifically too”.
How Social Media Shaped A Decade of Technology
“10 years ago we didn’t have Instagram”, Will recalls. “The whole idea of like counting likes and do it for the gram. And Instagram moments for events. None of that existed before. No one, no one cared about taking pictures and showing off where you were. I think that all came in the last 10 years. But I mean just how much social media has changed, how people view why to go to events. But also what they’re doing at the events. How do they connect with people leading up to the events?”.
The Power Of Connecting
“I’m just thinking about, for example, I just remembered going to my first IMEX and I didn’t know anybody”, he continues. “And if it wasn’t for Twitter and social media, no one would have known who I was. And like that totally changed my experience going to events because people. I was able to get a jumpstart into attending these events and meeting people because of my, my social media activities and stuff like that”.
“My get in was Twitter”, Brandt recalls. “Twitter was what got me out of my own little network. And so that’s what’s kind of started to get me out of my shell. Got me blogging, got me, you know, listening to podcasts, all of that kind of stuff. So, absolutely huge, huge, huge influence. You know, social media has changed the conversation”.
The Ugly Side of Social Media
Social media undoubtedly shaped this decade of technology – but not without repercussions. “I think the worst of the worst that happened this last decade when it came to it was Fyre Festival. How you can show how social media can not only create an event but also destroy it almost instantaneously. That was a perfect example of using influencers to promote your event and then the damage that can come from people having a camera in the pocket”.
“When we talk about the last 10 years, Tesla really taking hold of becoming a mainstream car provider and now we’re talking a lot about electric cars and how that affects, for example, buses for events”, says Will. “How people get in from, you know, different other places. But the transportation side I think is the next big area that we’re going to see a huge transition in when it comes to the events industry”.
Brandt believes that “we’ve had the ability to do electric cars. But it took someone to kind of make it cool. It took someone to kind of make it sexy and flashy and nerdy. To really hit at exactly the right time to take advantage of a lot of the money in Silicon Valley and that nerd cool. We’re having so many conversations now in our events about sustainability. About being able to do our events, have it be carbon neutral. And about being able to reduce our carbon footprint on our events. And I think that just is part of the conversation. You know, by making it mainstream, it makes it easier for everyone to get involved in that conversation”.
AR & VR
We’ve talked extensively about Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality here at Endless. Will says that “VR was non-existent 10 years ago. Is it going to affect the industry massively in this tech this decade? Well, I can tell you it has made so many conversations about if it’s gonna, but I haven’t quite seen it yet at this point”.
Will VR Finally Take Off?
“This idea of putting something on your head and going into a virtual world has been around for a while”, adds Brandt. “But I think it kinda hit its teenage years this decade. And the technology kind of caught up to the point. And that’s, that’s what Oculus recognized. They realized that they were able to make the technology work at this point that the computers were powerful enough, the displays were good enough. Then Google also helped by releasing cardboard. It hasn’t taken off as much as I thought it would because there are so many cool things that you can do with that cheap, inexpensive AR and VR experience. So I’m a little surprised that more people haven’t embraced that. Cause it’s a perfect trade show thing”.
“But the release of the Oculus quest I think is the big step forward for VR”, adds Will. “This idea that now you don’t need a computer at all and you’re not getting a cheap experience. You gain the same level experience that I have with a $1,000 computer or headset. I think we’re in this neck, and I’ve seen many articles about this, that the next decade is the decade of VR now that the Oculus quest has moved forward”.
What About AR?
“I think we’ll just continue to get some more steam and I’m excited for how it’s going to, not necessarily impact attendees, but it’s going to impact the planning process as well”, says Will. “We’ve touched on so many episodes on like planning events without having to go to the site visits. You know what it’s going to be like playing with augmented reality. I think there’s a lot of really cool stuff coming out of this for sure”.
The Place of Microphones In A Decade of Technology
“Another big technology that came out this decade as well was microphones being everywhere”, says Will. “Amazon echoes, the Google assistants of the world. You know, this was definitely a big decade for smart voice assistants going 100% mainstream”. Brandt is a big fan and says that “it’s impacted my life in ways that I never would have guessed. You know, having the ability to have this assistant in your pocket”.
In Comes Data Privacy
A big issue that this brings is how insecure these databases are – and how much data we’re sharing. This decade of technology was also the decade of cybersecurity. “I think we’re pretty lucky honestly, that there aren’t more examples in the 2010s of events and event-related activities being hacked. This is also kind of the decade where we saw the first real malware”, says Brandt.
“This is really the decade where these attacks became more about money than they have been about just wreaking havoc or intel”, he continues. “Now it’s about money. And that really does change the dynamic. Where it’s an organized crime because they’re trying to extract money from as many organizations as possible. And there is an impact here on meetings and events, especially associations. Because associations tend to have their leadership published. So it’s something that we do need to be aware of as an industry. It’s something that we need to pay attention to because of the data that we were responsible for”.
When Streaming Services Conquered The World
“I think one of the more subtle influencers of live streaming our events is actually Netflix”, says Brandt. “It created this explosion that we’re seeing in original content and streaming services. So are at this point where we’ve got Amazon doing it, we’ve got Google doing it, we’ve got HBO doing it, we’ve got Disney +, Hulu, all of these. So it’s interesting to me. I think the influence there, the factor there, this idea of ubiquitous, live streaming. The idea that we should be able to stream any content anywhere, anytime, I think has been heavily influenced by these streaming services”.
What We Lost In A Decade of Technology
When innovation hits, certain technologies are doomed to become obsolete. Brandt has a few words about all the fallen gadgets and services: “So, goodbye iPod. MP3 players, gone. The headphone jacks, the exchangeable batteries. Instant messengers. Because SMS became kind of the default and we lost a lot of the instant messengers this decade. It’s hard to believe that Yahoo instant messenger and AOL instant messenger were still hanging around”.
Will adds, “speaking of messaging, rest in peace, the four 140 character limit on Twitter. I kind of wished they hadn’t done it. You know, there was something nice and constricting about that 140 character limit. I’ve definitely noticed, and it’s not just because of politics, but I’ve definitely noticed an increase in these long rambling rants. Because I think it was harder to do when you only had the 140 character limit”.
The Defining Tech of A Decade of Technology
“Not something that came out this decade, but much like the cell phone is something that really brought things forward”, says Brandt when talking about the one defining technology of the decade. “Ubiquitous WiFi. I think ubiquitous internet access, in general, has been one of the biggest influences on our technology, on our events. Even with all the problems that we complain about, even with all of the issues with pricing, even if we have all of that, the fact of the matter is almost every major venue, almost every major hotel has WiFi at this point”.
“But the infrastructure behind it over the course of this last decade has really what’s enabled, I think the revolutions in mobile app technology, audience engagement, technology, registration, technology, video display technology, our PowerPoints”, he adds.
And that marks the end of the ultimate overview of a decade of technology! What a wild ride it was. But what about you? What technology do you think marked an absolute change in the way we live and go about our lives? And what can’t you wait to see in the upcoming decade? Make sure you let us know and don’t forget to tune in next week for more amazing tech talk!