Always up for an experiment, Montréal’s convention centre – the Palais des congrès – recently participated in a pilot project to test a new biometric approach to capturing event participants’ reactions. At a time when attendees require extra motivation to value in-person presence, it’s even more important for event professionals to be able to accurately measure the successes and sticking points of their events. This new methodology might just provide the answers we seek.
The power of experimentation
Through its Event Lab, the Palais des congrès de Montréal actively encourages its clients to discover and test new innovative solutions to transform their events towards maximum impact.
This pilot study was carried out at the Palais des congrès de Montréal by RE-AK Technologies, in collaboration with the MT Lab incubator and the Québec government, with the aim of evaluating the potential of a biometric approach to event-quality assessment.
The biometric approach
Contrary to the declarative approach, the most common assessment technique, which requires participants to state their feelings about an event, the biometric approach removes both biases and imprecision.
This approach consists of using equipment developed by RE-AK Technologies that measures participants’ biosignals, including brain waves, electrodermal responses, facial muscle expressions and heart rate, to infer their state of mind as they roam freely through an event space. With the use of geolocation, it’s possible to follow the participants wearing the equipment and triangulate their feelings within the exhibition.
The technology has gained widespread adoption in cinema, video games and neuromarketing, and is now making its way into the event industry.
The proof is in the pilot project
For this study at the Palais, RE-AK Technologies’ measuring system was deployed at two public events. After being equipped with the measuring instruments, 20 participants visited the exhibits without constraint, as they would have done normally. Over two days, they covered over 100,000 sq. ft. and three experiential areas in the Palais des congrès space.
The results obtained suggested that:
- Motivation, a brainwave-based cognitive measure that indicates people's readiness to participate in an activity, was highest at the reception of the event.
- Cognitive engagement was particularly stimulated by the stage featuring musical performances and guest speakers. Engagement is an element stimulated by learning, spectacle and active observation. Providing for different points of engagement contributes to the diversity of the experiential landscape for participants.
- Several kiosks managed to stand out in terms of happiness. An emotion frequently, but not exclusively, associated with positive social interaction.
Thanks to geolocation cues and the precision of the data collected, RE-AK Technologies posits that they’re able to associate the feelings of participants with the specific kiosks where the emotion was felt. This technology certainly seems promising as an assessment tool – providing event participants are game to wear the gear!
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