How 5G Will Enable Better Audience Engagement at Events

November 25, 2020

Ray McCarthy Bergeron

As Digital Experience Director, Ray McCarthy Bergeron leads InVision Communications’ growing portfolio of digitally native and integrated work. Operating at the intersection of creativity, technology and storytelling, he develops innovative and strategically grounded digital solutions that drive audience engagement.

Imagine an events ecoysystem where speakers can present remotely via engaging holograms. Where online events can have unlimited attendees and virtual reality can transport those attendees to unexpected and immersive environments. Where brands can geolocate customers at an event, make relevant recommendations based on their past buying behaviors, and distribute hyper-personalized content every step of the way. 5G technology will soon make it all possible.

With ultra-low latency, massive network capacity, and superior reliability, 5G — the fifth generation mobile network — is poised to reinvent the mobile ecosystem, connecting nearly everyone and everything. And it’s a development that will have a transformative impact on audience engagement.

Indeed, before 3G arrived in the early 2000s, we couldn’t have envisioned how mobile data would change our lives. When 4G penetrated the market a decade later, mobile broadband shifted the paradigm once more. And with the broad adoption of 5G — by 2023, a great many of us will be walking 5G hotspots — the influence will be markedly greater.

There’ll be no more breaking the Internet.

Any event marketer who’s tried to prompt a big social media moment but got stymied by sluggish uploads knows the pain of bad bandwidth. 5G will change that. Brands will be able to drive almost limitless interactivity, without compromising the inner workings of the web — or the smooth execution of their brand experience. It’s why an increasing number of venues are investing in 5G.

Thanks to this technology, you can reach exponentially larger audiences, via virtual and hybrid events. Your remote audiences can have an experience just as rich as that of their in-person peers. And by delivering optimum connectivity for your in-person audiences, we can amp up opportunities for their engagement. Consider the potential impact on your experience when you can stream videos, issue audience surveys, invite participation in live activations, leverage interactive tools, and more, in near-instantaneous fashion.

5G will effectively transform mega-events into one-to-one engagements.

As attendees navigate your event, you’ll have access to such detailed information about them that you can hyper-personalize their experience. You can serve up custom content that compels them to visit a specific activation based on their past buying behaviors; you can help them experience your brand before they buy; you can organically trigger the kind of next steps that will usher them through the sales funnel; and you can keep them engaged and entertained with Easter eggs that pop up along their path. In sum, 5G will enable you to become prescriptive to their needs.

It’s a bit like the world of Minority Report arriving a couple decades sooner than the film predicted.

Brand experiences will be increasingly immersive.

Enabling total fluidity between the digital and physical worlds, 5G will inspire and power innovations that are more immersive and more engaging than ever.  

As phones and other mobile devices become more powerful and portable, we’ll be able to deliver high-quality, high-fidelity connected experiences without requiring your audience to be tethered to the equivalent of the high-cost fiber that’s delivers the Internet to your office or home. 

Augmented reality and virtual reality, mixed reality and extended reality may all soon move from novelty to standard fare, thanks to the secure, stable connectivity 5G affords. And as 5G matures, novel technologies are sure to emerge.

They’ll be seamless, too.

In live events, the arrival of 5G means presenters can set up for breakout sessions and keynotes in seconds, instead of fiddling with cables. Attendees need not bother with downloading event apps or plug-ins, as they can engage fully through a website on any browser. And content consumed even via phone — whether a presentation, a full-length movie, or a robust gaming experience — won’t be delayed by buffering. 

It allows you to give event attendees what they want: The ability to step out for a cup of coffee, seamlessly bringing the keynote presentation with them on their phone. The ability to peek into any given session’s video stream, reducing a need to make an Olympic 15-minute run to a breakout that ultimately didn’t even suit their interests.

If we’re trying to use technology to solve for customer’s pain points, this certainly fits the bill.

By embracing and planning for 5G today, brands will be ready to deliver the kind personalized, immersive, and seamless experiences that will, before too long, be the price of entry. By taking it one step further — experimenting with 5G, proactively and purposefully — we will be prepared to maximize marketing creativity, audience engagement, and business impact.


InVision Communications SVP of Strategic Solutions Jon Paul Potts and Tim Smart, InVision’s VP of Experience Delivery and Senior Production Designer, also contributed to this post.

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Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact