How The Apple Watch Is Changing The Game For Event Management

Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Apple’s really no stranger to the creation of world-changing technology. In 2007, it released the iPhone, bringing technology once isolated solely to enterprise into the consumer space. Then in 2010, the iPad took the market by storm, kicking an already popular industry into a frenzy.

Today, the majority of online shopping is done on mobile devices. 80% of online adults own a smartphone. And the number of worldwide smartphone users will surpass 2 billion in 2016.

In short, even if Apple doesn’t control the entire mobile market, they’re the ones who originally kicked off the mobile craze; through a combination of high-end hardware and the marketing brilliance of Steve Jobs. And now, it’s starting to look like they might change the mobile industry again, with the Apple Watch.

As an event planner, this little piece of tech is definitely something you should be excited about. Let’s explore the reasons why.

The Power of Wearable Tech

Modern events are all about providing as seamless an experience to the attendees as possible, and that’s one area in which the Apple Watch shines. Rather than having to carry around their phones to interact with an event’s mobile app, they can simply glance down at their wrist. They’ve no need to reach in and pull out their phone in order to access information about your event – it’s all right there in front of them, no matter where they go.

“The real value of a smart watch is its more subtle, more ‘glanceable’ form factor,” reads a Quick Mobile White Paper. “It’s far easier to flick your wrist than it is to pull your phone out of your pocket, purse, backpack or wherever you keep it. Mentally, it’s all in the glance – consuming information quickly, discreetly and on the go. This hyper-personal experience is what makes Apple Watch so appealing.”

Push Notifications, Scheduling, and Navigation

Imagine, if you will, an event where you didn’t have to print off maps or schedules at all.  That’s actually within the realm of possibility, thanks to the Apple Watch’s Push Notifications. Through an event app, attendees can sign up to receive notifications about upcoming keynotes. Once the keynote time approaches, the watch will send them a reminder, along with guidance to help them find the room where the keynote’s taking place.

Again, this makes things significantly easier for attendees – and for yourself.

“Push notifications are powerful communication tools for conveying timely information such as the start of a keynote session or a reminder to complete a survey,” explains the white paper. “They work well because the attendee does not need to have the app open to see them – they get displayed as a banner or pop-up, and can even be seen when the device is locked (depending on device settings). Any time an event organizer sends a push notification to attendees using the CEMA mobile app on an iPhone or iPad, the message will appear on the Apple Watch, accompanied by a light tap on the wrist from the device’s haptic touch technology. Since the attendee won’t need to have the phone in hand or even in sight, the message is far more likely to be viewed in a timely manner. In fact, there’s no faster way to send messages and get them noticed.”

Streamlining Guest Logistics

At the Apple Watch event, Apple gave several demos that showed how their device could be used to make the entire attendee experience more streamlined. They demonstrated how it could be used to open a hotel door with the flick of a wrist, how it could be used in conjunction with beacons to prompt interaction or give information, and how it could be used to improve the registration process. All of these factors together make it formidable enough – but the way it handles registrations means that by design, you’ll automatically know how many guests are checked in, what speakers and VIPs have arrived, and who’s attending what keynote.

“With the advancements in Near Field Communication (NFC), the Apple Watch will be equipped with Apple’s new Apple Pay Service, allowing attendees to pay using their Apple Watch,” writes Dean Ronnie of Conference Care. “Organizers and vendors will to be able to easily accept payments for products or services at the event and attendees will not have the hassle of carrying cash or even credit cards. In addition to contact-less payment, NFC could also be utilized for easier event entry.”

Oh, one more thing – it’s also great for guests who are in transit to your events.

Better Communication

Additionally, equipping each member of your events team with an Apple watch would allow them to better communicate and collaborate. Essentially, it’s for the same reason it works so well for guests: it offers all the benefits of a mobile device, with the added convenience of having it present on one’s wrist. Granted, I’d say this is one of the weaker arguments on the table here, since not everyone on your events team is going to own an Apple Watch – and it’s probably too expensive for you to equip each team member with one. 

Better Presentations

The multimedia functions Apple’s packed into the Apple Watch also make it a halfway decent tool for presenters and guest speakers. Rather than having to rely on a pointer, a phone, or a laptop, they can simply use gesture controls to control slides, multimedia, and other components of keynotes. This will, in turn, allow for higher-quality presentations overall.

“The Apple Watch’s proposed remote functionality of Apple TV and iTunes will also bring with it benefits to event speakers,” writes Dean Ronnie of Conference Care. “Allowing for a more natural presentation, speakers will be able to play and stop music, slides and videos all with a touch of their wrist.”

Gamifying the Event

Last, but certainly not least, the Apple Watch could, through Beacons and its various other features, allow event organizers to gamify the experience for guests. Think about it – digital scavenger hunts, fitness tracking, and a host of other engagement opportunities are just over the horizon.

“Gamification is a growing trend in the events industry and by utilizing the Apple Watch’s in-built fitness tracker and other technologies, there will be expanded possibilities for organizers and even exhibitors to develop unique games to engage attendees,” explains Ronnie. “This not only makes for a more fun and social attendee experience, but can also help track where attendees have been and what they have seen, providing valuable data for event planners.”

Closing Thoughts

It’s worth mentioning at this point that the Apple Watch is far from the only smartwatch with the potential to be a game changer in event management. There will be copycats, of course; competitors with similar features and functions to Apple’s wearable gadget. Should they achieve the same level of market penetration as cell phones, they could completely change the events industry.