SXS Events

  • 2016 Trend Statement

2016 Trend Statement

It has been a year since our last trend statement on the events industry.

A lot has happened in this time and I take pleasure in sharing our latest interpretations of what is happening in the industry, what our clients are telling us, what is changing and where opportunities are for our clients.

Content Delivery

Following from our prediction last year (See here) there has been a clear and definite move to presenting content in a more digital format at live events. We have found that clients are requiring a very high level of last minute flexibility in what is shown due to the fast-paced nature of how messaging is changing. This trend has given rise to increasing use of digital signage over print graphics. We have found that our video plinths and Lumio LED video walls have been hugely popular for these reasons.

The opportunities this brings to our clients is that they can make last minute changes that allow their onsite messaging to accurately reflect what is happening to their online presence and wider media. Further, this has allowed for content to be far more engaging than print graphics. Animations, scenery, video and movement engage with the consumer so much more effectively.

It is important that designers don’t just replace graphics with TV screens though – a savvy consumer sees this as a cheap trick. Instead, we are working with unusual aspect ratios, vertical screens and creating rooms made of video screens

Use of Graphics

Following on from the trend towards digital content delivery, we have had several clients who have seen substantial cost benefits to using large high-resolution LED video walls as backdrop to exhibition stands or stages. As we are utilising an asset with low marginal cost of provision (as opposed to printing custom graphics) we are able to offer excellent value. In fact, we recently had a client tell us that high-resolution LED worked out a lot cheaper for them than the print graphics they had used in the past. This video shows a few of our techniques >>

The opportunity to clients and organisers with this move if that you can get more impact within limited budgets. There will be a short window of 1-2 years before this technology is commonplace. So be one of the first to adopt these methods now!  Call the SXS office to talk further.

Projection & Mapping

hen we first started doing projection mapping as an early adopter in 2009 I felt it would be a fad of 2-3 years. How wrong I was! This year has seen a boom in a new, more stylised and immersive type of projection mapping. Clients are finding that creating immersive spaces for their audiences is vital to driving engagement. Content and experience is literally moving out of the presentation screen and all over the venue. We worked with BBC Worldwide on an international showcase event where we turned an entire auditorium into a forest scene. Seeing is believing, so take a look here: www.sxsevents.co.uk/clients/bbc-worldwide

Projection mapping still remains a great way to inspire and engage with the public too. People still photograph it and share on social media and they still stop and stare.  News outlets still report on it. This tactic was recently used by London City Hall when they wanted to promote the 2016 Mayoral Election (www.sxsevents.co.uk/news/high-powered-projection-for-london-city-hall). They needed a reliable, credible and experienced production partner and came to SXS for this.   As the project was publicly funded budgets were tight and our team were able to deliver an awesome solution due to the fact that we own 80,000 lumens of projection power in-house (www.sxsevents.co.uk/news/sxs-invest-in-high-powered-video-projection). This meant no sub-contracting, no kit-hire and our full-time team delivering a complete package.

The One-Stop Shop

The events industry has traditionally been supplied by single discipline companies who only provide single or a limited range of production services.

In 2016 we are seeing a growing demand for a "one stop shop" where all disciplines can be managed and coordinated by a single company. The cost savings in terms of logistics has always made this an attractive proposition, but what we are seeing now is an increasing demand for such companies to offer equivalent or better quality than the age old "specialists". Here at SXS, for example, we have specialist departments for each key area which are headed up by highly experienced and forward thinking managers. Weekly if not daily production meetings ensure smooth delivery across the production team giving an unbeatable edge to our clients' events. You can see our range of services here >>

This is both a threat and opportunity to event organisers. On one hand they should be looking to partner with companies like SXS to be more efficient, flexible and budget driven. Indeed event organisers themselves should look to broaden the range of services they offer. The threat is that if organisers do not embrace these opportunities their competitors will!

Print & Signage

This is a field of production in which I have seen a mini revolution recently. In the past we spent endless hours proofing, sampling, reproofing, receiving, checking, installing and finishing printed graphics. This is highly skilled work, costly, fiddly and has little last-minute flexibility. Instead we are now using video screen technologies extensively to show signage and media.

For example, at the majority of conferences and fashion shows where we may have typically used printed or fabric covered backdrop we are now building large LED video walls. Our recent purchase of a 3.75mm pixel pitch LED wall allows us to provide these services at a price point that most major clients can afford.

Digital signage is also becoming commonplace. Where we may previous have used a foamex print we are now using LCD video screens. With screen sizes from 17” up to 84” in stock these high-definition screens are a more flexible and often more cost-effective way of showing content.

Quality of Finish in Event Spaces

At every level we are seeing a shift to supplier delivering their services to a much higher aesthetic standard.  Productions like festivals and arena shows have traditionally been quite forgiving towards visual details in comparison to premium corporate events. Event organisers and clients alike now expect every aspect of equipment, staff, vehicles and even behind-the-scenes items to be clean, immaculate, discreet and well-finished.  In line with this trend SXS has launched a whole new range of “Premium Finish” products, which can be seen here >>

Video Education

I can’t speak for everyone, but when I want to learn new skills, check out a new supplier or absorb information I much prefer watching a video over reading an article. We have seen that our clients are the same; they want to be communicated to in the form of videos. Since the launch of SXS TV we have had astounding feedback over the value of information sharing this has brought to clients. In fact some of our clients have even started including our video content in their pitches and presentations.

This is an incredible opportunity to tell a story better or share information more efficiently. Whether this is for an event or as part of a pitch you will need to get quality video production services. SXS can help you with that here: www.sxsevents.co.uk/services/event-video-production

The Year Ahead

Here at the SXS team we are super-keen to hear from new clients so we can help deliver more amazing projects. Please get in touch to speak with us, even if your project is at an early stage.

About the author:

Johnny Palmer (view profile) is founder and CEO of SXS Events. Johnny founded SXS in 1998 as a provider of mobile discos, sound and lighting.  Since then SXS has become a multi-million-pound event production company which is proud to be one of Europe’s best-resourced production companies.   Johnny is passionate about design, technical production and working with clients to deliver effective and engaging projects.