Access All Areas April 2019 - Page 44

APRIL | TECH Technology is an event enabler Access All Areas, the NTIA and We Are The Fair’s White Paper, The Political Economy of Informal Events, 2030, sheds light on technology’s on-going enhancement of events 44 Y oung people today do show some signs of social media fatigue, and of wanting face-to-face interactions. Yet there is no guarantee that more personal use of screens in the future will automatically be accompanied by more fondness for live informal events. Take computer games, for instance. That activity, which regularly involves tens of millions of young people, will still stage live, in-the-flesh gamer events of different sorts, but is also likely to move into ‘events’ that, one way or another, are based on Virtual Reality. Yet in fact the relationship between IT and informal events, like that between IT and many other social phenomena (for example, transport), only very rarely turns out to be a simple substitution of the virtual for the real. It’s subtler than that. IT will reach more people in new ways to tell them about informal events. It will make security around events easier, and the entertainment itself more varied and surprising. And, as with today’s exhibitions, IT will play a big role in helping organisers of informal events up after they are over, helping people get more out of them. Already social media help popularise events before they occur. Then can expect more use of software-enabled wristbands, and – within certain limits – of airportstyle baggage checks, biometrics The Political Economy Of Informal Events, 2030 wearable devices that have functionality beyond music. Last, the advent of the voice-operated interfaces as the popular default means of controlling ‘smart speakers’ and, most relevantly for events, mobile phones may pose difficulties for concert-goers. These are problems and opportunities for the future. Right now, however, it is striking that basic IT provision at informal events still needs to be got right. At the moment, as Chart 19 shows, Wi-Fi, different ways of paying for things and phone charging are among the changes that those going to music festival bars would most like to see. The point about using IT to simplify payments at informal events is obvious enough. In China, face recognition has been in use since 2017 to speed customer exits from KFC and 7-Eleven outlets, while Alibaba has developed a tablet-based camera and face recognition system to give retail SMEs the chance to offer their customers faster payment. Whatever ambivalence Britain has about Chinese IT today, we’re likely to see more of it around in the informal events of 2030. At the same time, though, event organisers will need to develop both responsible defences against cyber-attack, and ways of reassuring those who go to events that their data and their privacy are safe. Written and edited by James Woudhuysen (including face recognition) and drone surveillance. Hopefully, too, the advent of fifth-generation mobile networks, or 5G, will allow incidents to be reported to the authorities, and alerts to signalled to audiences, more effectively. In stage performance, the use of screens, lighting and lasers will obviously be the subject of continuing innovation. What, however, might turn out to be more significant to live acts as we move toward 2030 is a recent IT advance in Japan. There, Chiba university has now made a long-awaited hardware breakthrough that enables the projection of high- quality 3D holography as video, where computing powers with more than 10 frames per second and one trillion pixels per frame are required. We can expect animated holography to be a significant part of dozens of informal events by 2030. track people’s individual movements from stage to stage – so that promoters can send them timed, personalised lists of all the acts they saw. More inventive IT-based methods of audience follow-up will no doubt emerge before long. With audiences, IT will both complicate and perhaps enhance acoustics. More old people at events will bring more hearing-aids. At the same time, people may well be wearing more ‘earables’ ear-based