Technology and incentive – a match made in heaven. The question is – what does that match look like in the real world? Two SITE members recently describe how they use technology to make events more meaningful.

Dario CherubinoDario Cherubino, President and Creative Director, Azimut – creating emotions; Past President SITE Italy.

“Technology is not changing the world of incentives.”

Leave it to the head of an Italian creative company to open with an incendiary statement – a statement that is instantly followed by words of explanation.

“Technology is not changing the world of incentives – technology is changing the whole world,” explains Dario. He should know. His company, Azimut – creating emotions, is on the front line of providing entertainment, audio, video and lighting technology for the events industry.

Accepting that technology is shifting the entire planet, Dario considers a big picture thought, “The real question is: what technologies can be useful to participants, enhance their brand’s perception, facilitate learning, networking and motivation?”

In short – successful technology improves an audience’s experience.

With that in mind, Dario describes recent successes with technology:

  • 3D Projection Mapping. “We do strongly believe it’s super-effective, and can be used in so many different occasions and surfaces. Those include buildings, floors, tables – even dresses. We also created some shows blending dance and 3D-mapping, and they are always a blast!”
  • Wearables.  This is an emerging technology that holds potential on several fronts. “RFID technology can be used to enhance social moments, connect to social media accounts and replace tickets.” New applications for wearables continue to appear.
  • Drones. “will become more and more common, helping us to collect memories and providing a wow-factor.”
  • 3D Printing. Personalization is a big part of contemporary events – and both 3D Printing and Laser Cutting allow for the creation of custom decorations, centerpieces, amenities and room gifts.
  • Second Screens. Mobile phones and tablets create enhanced experiences to help audiences focus on presentation content. “While they are already great for educational purposes, we do think there is a lot of space for much, much more…”

One of the technologies not yet on Dario’s list is Virtual Reality. “Of course it will be a great thing – but at the moment it doesn’t allow for a group to participate all together in the same experience.” It’s on the horizon – as are lower cost LED screens. Ultimately, though, it’s about the experience. “The most important thing is to remember that technology has to be at the service of participants, not vice-versa.”

David SandDavid Sand, CEO, Uwin Iwin International, South Africa and Past President of the SITE International Board of Directors. 

David Sand makes it clear that technology compliments good incentive strategy – it doesn’t replace good strategy.

“To be very clear it is not the silver bullet – it is only effective in combination with a deep understanding of all the complexities of the incentive discipline,” explains David. Over the past 20 years, his company, Uwin Iwin, has worked to build programs to help “organizations develop and sustain positive relationships with people who ultimately sell products and services in the sales channel environment.” 

Technology is a key part of that strategy.

“Tech has changed the incentive world radically,” he explains “Continual enhancements and innovations keep driving that change.” Big data is one such example — fast becoming a way to make incentive experiences more relevant. “Now that we have access to so many data points about a person tech helps us personalize the solution, the communication, the experience and the interactions to a new level.”

Like Dario, David also sees promise in the field of Virtual Reality. “Even in its simpler formats – like a 360-degree Facebook post – Virtual Reality can be incorporated into an incentive travel promotional campaign. The future holds a full-emersion VR experience as a standalone incentive reward offering, or part of a lead up to a winning slot for the real thing. 

Drawing on technology for customization is one of David’s favorite emerging trends – illustrated by a recent story. “I received a letter from a delegate that had traveled on a large group who wanted to praise and recognize our lead tour director and her team on that project. Her praise was about how each staff member greeted her by name in a busy airport without previously meeting her. How she was astounded by the way her personal preferences and unique dietary requirements were met throughout the trip. Her final comment was that even though she traveled in a big group it felt as though the entire program was built just for her.”

That’s a great example of how the real power of technology, aligned with a complete incentive strategy, can make the experience more personal, memorable and motivational than ever before.

Read more on technology and incentives: Making IT Personal