Audiovisual Tech Every Meeting Planner Should Know

These tools can give your big event a sensory boost

When it comes to making a strong impression, sight and sound are everything. That’s why the latest audiovisual technology can easily turn a routine meeting from drab to dramatic.

And the improvements aren’t just for tech-obsessed or deep-pocketed planners, either. Some are relatively simple to adapt—while other options, though more complex, are more affordable than ever. 

That means the tools that once seemed futuristic (or even impossible) may now be well within your grasp. Here are some of the latest audiovisual trends and how they could be implemented to help make your next event an unforgettable experience. 

LED screens: With their ability to display bright, highly detailed images, the panels easily outperform a typical projector. LED screens, which have become cheaper and thinner in recent years, may be connected to form a “wall” of high-definition visuals (or built into any 3D shape) that can be viewed easily in both light and dark rooms. And unlike projectors, LED screens aren’t affected by obstructions such as heads or pillars.

Virtual and augmented reality: In a post-Pokémon Go world, it’s natural to interact with synthetic images. Whether used in a booth or through a tactile experience, virtual reality headsets offer realistic, totally immersive views. Augmented reality, which overlays graphics over real-life scenes using a smartphone camera, has many potential uses such as gameplay-style challenges, branded filters for selfies and relaying details about a nearby guest speaker or exhibit. 

Livestreaming video: Broadcasting isn’t just for vloggers and teens. The practice has big business potential: Eighty percent of consumers would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, a recent survey found. And 67 percent of livestream viewers say they’ve purchased tickets to a similar event. Which is why airing some—or all—of the event is key. Facebook, Google and YouTube all offer livestreaming platforms.

Holograms: A lifelike representation of a special guest? It’s possible, and it’s far less costly than flying her in. The immersive telepresence tool has been rising in popularity since a virtual projection of deceased rapper Tupac Shakur “performed” at the Coachella festival in 2012. Although special skill and equipment are required to beam someone in, the technology is feasible enough that Marriott identified holograms as a key trend.

Voice-activated technology: “Alexa, start my meeting, please!” Speaking to your device of choice is a growing practice—and an easy way to remain present and focused during a big speech. One option, Amazon’s Alexa for Business, uses Wi-Fi to link multiple Alexa devices with your existing conferencing equipment for a seamless connection. Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana is getting into the meetings game, too