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
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.