Could Google Glass Be the Next Big Event Technology?

By: Katie Bascuas

How one association used the Glass to encourage more engagement from members and participants at one of their largest conferences.

Want to start more conversations at your next meeting or tradeshow? Try walking around wearing Google Glass. That's what happened when Chris Young, high school division director at DECA, Inc., a career and technical student organization, donned a pair at the nonprofit member organization's annual conference in May.

"It gave us, especially me, an opportunity to meet our members and to have conversations with them around this new technology," Young says. "People came up, and they wanted to try them on and wanted to see how they worked. People see it, and they think, 'Oh my gosh, thats so cool.'"

Although attendee excitement was an unintentional side effect of wearing Glass, the devices presence eventually got people talking about and engaging more in social media. And that was the original intent of incorporating the technology, Young says: "We wanted to give our members a different perspective."

Young and his colleagues—"social media correspondents," as he calls them—roamed the conference taking photos and video to post on social media. They also used Glass at a staged photo booth area to take pictures of attendees and post them to Twitter with the hashtag #throughglass.

While they'd set out to do some live-streaming of events, Young says his team wasn't able to take advantage of that option but hopes to in the future. He advises associations that want to use the technology at their events to do some advance planning.

"Become friends with Glass as soon as you can to figure out how to use it, the best and the different methods for doing things, and its capabilities," Young says. "Then brainstorm crazy ideas of how you could use Glass because, even after the fact, I think there's way more ways we could have used it."

Another unintended effect, and advantage, of using Glass was the help it provided in running DECAs meeting. The hands-free technology allowed users to search the web, post to social media, text, and make and take phone calls on the fly while walking the conference center floor. "And when you have about five days of intense work at a conference," Young says, "every second counts."

Katie Bascuas is associate editor at Associations Now. Email: [email protected]

[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "How Google Glass Can Offer a Different View of Your Event."]

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is an associate editor at Associations Now in Washington, DC.