One factor that has been fundamental in China’s rise to global power is its fascination for innovation.
Fuelled by a government strategy which declared an intention to transform China into “an innovative society” by 2020, the past decade has seen China balloon into a global technology hub that is attracting investments from companies the world over; not to mention a wealth of funds from the Chinese government.
Following this drive in innovation, the Chinese people have taken technology to heart, for example, China now has more mobile internet users than the US and Europe combined.
The country has a big role to play in the future of technology.
Indeed, China is already beginning to outshine its Western counterparts – many of the advances in machine learning and big data are now flowing from Chinese innovations, which is in turn having a huge impact on the technology available to event planners.
Here we explore those technologies in which China is among the world leaders in developing solutions that are profoundly impacting the experiences of event planners, exhibitors and event attendees.
1. Artificial Intelligence
Arguably the biggest technology trend of the moment, China is moving to the forefront of the AI-world. Chinese AI chips will power a new generation of smartphones and smart devices – and we’re about to achieve a new level of ‘smart’.
These chips are primarily being used to increase performance and speeding up load and processing times, but they’re also laying the groundwork for devices that use ‘neural nets’ – computer systems modelled on the human brain and nervous system – that can learn, automate and improve.
These neural nets will make smart device Voice UI (User Interface) a real possibility, which could lead to all kinds of automation and engagement opportunities in the events sector.
Imagine AI-lead speaker sessions with real-time content changes based on audience interest, or even unmanned exhibitions stands.
2. Virtual Reality
When it comes to virtual reality in China, business is booming. Goldman Sachs says that China accounted for a third of VR headset sales last year and it is predicted that Asia will be the largest market for VR headsets in revenue by 2021, with a 45% global share.
And companies are responding to this domestic demand rapidly. An estimated 3,000 stores offer VR experiences in malls across the country, and Shunwang, a company that creates Internet management software, has created a version of its technology designed for VR Internet cafes in China.
These are implementations that can easily be transferred to the event experience, and many indicators suggest that VR will most likely play an important role at events in the East far sooner than it will in Europe and North America.
It’s difficult to ignore what will become the biggest enabler of AI, VR, and many other emerging transformative technologies; the 5G network.
5G will enable smart cities, self-driving cars, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality systems to seamlessly connect to everything and at extremely higher speeds.
This network of connected physical devices, appliances, and even vehicles, is known as the Internet of Things, and 5G is set to massively change the way we interact with this technology and it’s place in the world around us. It is perhaps this technology that shows the most potential in events, opening further possibilities in tracking delegate movement and experience, to increased safety and security.
According to Deloitte Consulting, China is making greater investments in 5G infrastructure, which has resulted in more cell sites (or cellular towers). China has about three times as many sites per person as the USA and 13 times the coverage calculated by sites per square mile.
Now, more than ever before, traditionally-dominant western powerhouses face competition from Chinese technological giants. Exhibitors at events in the west who haven’t been thinking about how their brand and products can be marketed to Chinese consumers, or how they can prepare for the rapid adoption of Chinese technology should begin to do so without delay, or risk being left behind.
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