Trend Spotlight

Smart Surfaces

Newly commercialized smart technologies are bringing state-of-the-art interactivity to the surfaces around us.

In the experiential event arena, there are only a few truths that apply to all types of attendees at all types of events. One of these universal truths is that we all love interactive experiences at events. As attendees, we are compelled to engage with these experiences. As event marketers, we are captivated by their ability to activate spaces and drive story-based engagement. Showcasing recent tech trends is a sure way to grab attention.

As new technologies emerge, our industry is quick to bring them into live interactive experiences. Over the past decade, we’ve seen the eras of , extended reality, motion capture, and buttons (and more buttons) everywhere.

Making Walls Smart

The next generations of emerging technologies are making it easier to create interactive experiences without buttons and screens.

Lightform’s new projectors and software design tools bring a fresh take on dynamic projection mapping along with an approachable price point and adoptable simplicity. Knocki turns any surface into a remote control just by adding a small sensor. Bare Conductive uses conductive paint and easy-to-use development kits to add touch-based sensors to wall designs and screen prints.

From breath-ignited fireworks on the walls at VM World to bringing passions to life with interactive murals at Ellucian Live, our industry is already merging these technology trends in engaging ways.

What to Watch: Wood and Metal Screens

Within startups and across R&D teams, compelling technologies are turning traditional materials into interactive screens.

In 2018, new products came to market that used wood to mix calming design with smart interactivity.

In July 2019, metalface,” a new innovative resin, enables metal to become the base material for future interactive displays.

Fun and Games (and Business)

Grab your whiteboard drawing robots and start brainstorming what you can do next. With the potential to make plain walls smart, turn wood accents into elegant interactions, and use metal as full multi-touch displays, we are on the cusp of a new era of creative potential. Consider how you could use these tech trends in your events to create an experience that will enthrall everyone.

Image Credit: Mui Labs


By Brent Turner

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Brent Turner

Brent is the head of strategy for Opus, the event and experiential marketing industry's fastest-growing global agency.

Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter, and .