While 2021 brought us loosening COVID-19 restrictions, we still won’t be back to pre-COVID conditions in 2022, either. Social distancing and hygiene will continue to play a large role in every type of event company, with A/V, lighting, and production companies being no exception. We also expect to see a continuing and increased use of high-tech gadgets and features to wow guests who attend in-person events, in addition to hybrid event tech to keep remote attendees involved. But this is just the start; let’s take a closer look at what trends we expect for A/V profs in 2022.
Hybrid events gained popularity due to the pandemic, but they will likely continue into the foreseeable future. This is because they allow people to participate in events who normally could not attend due non-pandemic related reasons, such as physical limitations, financial restrictions, or prior engagements. Now that we’ve learned how to plan events for guests attending in person or virtually, there’s no going back. Some handy tools-of-the-trade for hybrid events include green screens, live-streaming equipment, and the ability to pre-record and edit content for events.
XR or “Extended Reality”
XR, or extended reality, is a budding trend that blends physical and virtual environments, and includes AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality), and MR (mixed reality). The possibilities are endless with this technology. For instance, your users could use their phone’s camera to find “hidden” content throughout a conference (think Pokemon Go). XR can also be used to create 3D interactive infographics that respond to touch instead of using a mouse. The key to XR for event profs is that it is interactive, and a great way to bridge the distance gap for hybrid events.
Lighting Décor and Projection Mapping
These two technologies also focus on interaction and engagement.
“Lighting décor” is really a broad term that covers everything from decorative light fixtures to well-placed uplights— essentially, it’s there to either enhance a feature or be the feature itself. We’re seeing a big increase in interesting features such as light up dance floors (hello Saturday Night Fever!) and living chandeliers to get guests talking.
Projection mapping is essentially projecting an image onto a surface, and can blend both XR and lighting décor. It can be projected on surfaces that are not flat (like the front of a building), project 2D or 3D images and videos, and can be interactive. It can be used to create works of art, a 3D interactive advertisement, a video wall commemorating people or events— the only real limitations seem to be related to budget. Not surprisingly, the bigger and more complicated a project, the more it will cost to create.
Automation and Touchless Environments
COVID made us very aware of germs. Now, the less we have to touch, the better. From automatic, motion-sensor lights (so you can avoid touching light switches) to touchless hand sanitizer stations, no-touch devices are worth the investment. These technologies don’t have to be dull, however. Lighted, motion-activated walkways, sounds or music triggered by movement, and smart phone app-driven interactions (such as texting DJs to request songs instead of writing it on paper) are all interesting ways to integrate touchless technology into your event.
Inventory Management Software
Inventory management software isn’t a trend, it's a necessity. Keep track of your inventory items (right down to the cables and extension cords, if you’d like!) digitally, so you always know what’s available when, which eliminates the risk of double-booking. Inventory management software doesn’t have to stop at organizing your inventory items; you can also use it to organize your team. This is particularly useful if you have a lot of contractors on your team (like caterers and DJs), as it’s easy to lose track of them in the mix.
Our Goodshuffle Pro clients who employ lots of contractors (like DJs, drivers, and more) can subscribe to our Unlimited Read-Only package, which allows them to add and remove as many team members as they’d like. These Read-Only team members only have access to events to which they are assigned, and the billing details and other sensitive information are kept confidential. That way, your crew members see the information they need to create a stellar event, but none of the information they don’t need.
2022 is nearly upon us— there’s less than a month to go as I write this— and with it comes new tech trends for A/V professionals to watch. The main trending themes seem to revolve around bridging the gap between in-person and virtual event attendees, and creating interactive features to impress and inspire guests. It’s safe to say we’ve all missed human interaction during COVID restrictions, and event profs are working hard to make sure we can all celebrate (and maybe show off a bit) together again— safely!