4 Event experts on the big event of the future
Published on 4/6/2017 by Christoph Spangenberg
What challenges do the organisers of big events have to master? How do they manage to do this? Marco Balich (Balich Worldwide Shows), Samantha Cotterell (Expo 2020 Dubai), Pascal Viot (Paléo Festival Nyon) and Christiaan Page (LegacySport) speak about event technology, arousing emotions, security and temporary architecture.
1. How to create an emotional experience at events
"The biggest challenge in creating an emotional experience is being able to deliver a universal message that can speak to the very heart of the people. A message that lifts spirits and goes beyond boundaries, learning from the differences within the world with curiosity and humility. Nothing should be said or done with arrogance or cynicism and, at the same time, no message is too simple or too modest – what makes the difference is the energy and the emotion it generates. Each individual has the right to express himself or herself and it is important to consider everyone in this process and not to take anything for granted. Last but not least, it is crucial to deliver this message in a spectacular manner, in the highest quality. Only in this way can we reach the child who still lives on in each one of us."
2. How event technology and digitisation will affect large events
"The delivery of event technology to the global event industry and events like the Olympic Games has to meet three core requirements: it must be robust, efficient and cost effective. Our industry is built on its ability to deliver on time and provide commercially sustainable solutions, and this is becoming increasingly important in the technology space.
The “Digital Evolution” we have observed over just the past 20 years has provided us and our clients with many new and exciting means of interacting and of consuming the world’s greatest events. However, we must also not forget the opportunities that exist behind the scenes for exploiting new technologies that can aid us in meeting the demands of the expanding digital marketplace. Internet connectivity is expected to reach a further 3 billion individuals within the next five years, so it is imperative that we as an industry are prepared to meet the requirements of this expansion, both for our own internal operations and in terms of being ready to meet our clients’ needs.
The technology watch list on the “event horizon”:
1. AR – Augmented Reality: Expanding the live event experience both in venue and at home. Also, new ways to experience a venue before and after it is constructed.
2. The Cloud: Changing the way we work behind the scenes, back of house. Connected delivery through a connected collaborative workforce.
3. DIVA Networks: Convergence of the core technologies of Data, Intercom, Video and Audio in and around the Event Arena and the Field of Play, enabling highly efficient and robust delivery models to save time and money."
3. Temporary infrastructure and its functions
"Temporary structures are positioned against the backdrop of state-of-the-art architecture yet have so far been mostly tents and portacabins with a colourful wrap thrown around them to disguise their utilitarian identity.
The architecture of tomorrow is organic, biomimetic, conceived with digitisation and only buildable with robotics. New technology has given birth to a new aesthetic and to the search for building material that can be used with robotics. New building materials can be recycled and/or reconstituted creating a more sustainable process. The temporary construction market is the ideal place to test some of these technologies in a bid to address sustainability issues for major sporting events."
4. New challenges in terms of security at large events
"Each year, more than 250 concerts and shows are staged for 230,000 people at the Paléo Festival Nyon. Crowd management and health and safety have been part of the Paléo Festival's success for many years. The crowd management strategy has been developed in an integrative approach that rests on four pillars: urban planning and safety through design; a welcoming approach to spectators (crowd management) before employing a policing doctrine (crowd control); implementation of a strong risk management process for the event; the use of new technologies to improve the organiser’s capability to monitor the event as it is running.
The issue of attacks on crowded spaces has been catapulted to the forefront of the human psyche in recent months as these atrocities touch on the very fabric of our society and all that we hold dear in our wish for the freedom to live in peace. The main issue to emerge from this is the creation of a balanced security structure, ensuring that equal provision is made for both the delivery of crowd management and activities to counter terrorism threats. If either of these aspects is neglected, they can inadvertently cause issues for the other. We have to recognise that we are creating a paradox: by instituting a range of counter-terrorism measures we may be encouraging further threats. For example, by creating queues to search people before they enter the event or an arena or slowing down ingress to and egress from an area, we may be creating a prime target for a terrorist attack.
By way of a conclusion we can identify the need for dynamic and continuous risk management, for an understanding that the risk level is evolving and that there is no recipe for a crisis, and that you have to plan there and then for whatever incident is taking place. It is also clear that there is a duty to share knowledge quickly, effectively and efficiently and that the organisers need to acquire a new set of skills to cope with the changing event and festival environment."
The four guest authors were speakers at the Annual Event 2017 of the Association of Global Event Suppliers (AGES) in March 2017 in Basel. The event was hosted by the MCH Group. AGES represents the international event industry. The purpose of AGES is to build up awareness for industry-specific aspects and to promote and defend the interests of its members in the international event marketplace under the label of AGES. More information at www.ages.international. Main photo © Luca Parisse for Balich Worldwide Shows