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Touchless technology, crowd-tracking sensors and real-time data to define future of $1tn megaevents industry, WGS report reveals

22 August 2022


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The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies, including such innovations as crowd-tracking sensors to collect real-time data, mixed reality and metaverse, will define the future of megaevents in the post-COVID-19 world

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies, including such innovations as crowd-tracking sensors to collect real-time data, mixed reality and metaverse, will define the future of megaevents in the post-COVID-19 world, a report published by the World Government Summit Organisation has revealed.

The research, published in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), calls on government leaders to learn lessons from events such as the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, Hajj and Dubai’s Expo 2020 held successfully during the pandemic using a mix of virtual, physical and hybrid approaches.

According to the report, cities hosting megaevents, which contribute almost US$1 trillion annually to the global economy, must "rethink how to deal with these events in the future because the frequency of future shocks is expected to increase". Organisers should plan for a "hybrid future" and look to new ways of hosting events rather than a return to the pre-COVID-19 ways of working.

The paper titled "Meeting the Future: How Megaevents Should Transform for Success in a Post-COVID-19 Era" called for further development of "much-needed" smart solutions such as video analytics, AI, and Internet of Things sensors to predict and track crowd density across a space. Technologies for public health include big data and dynamic dashboards to collect real-time public health information, with automated and rapid reporting of live COVID-19 cases and test results to government databases.

The report said, "The use of technology will be a key tool to launch megaevents with the best combination of capability, impact and safety for cities and host countries with optimal social, economic and sustainability outcomes for years to come."

Mohamed Yousef Al Sharhan, Deputy Managing Director of the World Government Summit Organisation, confirmed that the summit had strengthened its global status as a platform for government knowledge. It contributes to enhancing governments’ flexibility and readiness for various future challenges and supporting their work in developing proactive plans that enable them to leverage the opportunities they offer.

He said that the world is witnessing a rapid transformation towards hosting major events that need to adopt a pivotal change in current business models, enhance the uses of technology and develop current policies, and various strategies to reach the best scenario for the future event industry.

Hazem Galal, Partner, Cities and Local Government Global Leader at PwC and report author, said, "In a post-COVID-19 world, megaevents will evolve by using technologies that offer richer, safer and customised experiences. Megaevents of the future will offer physical and virtual experiences that are equally rewarding depending on the type of event and the participants’ choices."

"Then came the cancellation of the events – resulting in a huge loss of the global events business worth $1 trillion annually. For some countries, the cancellation of major events within their borders has had a major impact: the cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show in 2020 has stripped the local economy of some CHf200 million ($209 million), according to the Financial Times."

The UAE’s hosting of Expo 2020 Dubai was praised by the report authors as an example of a successful future event scenario, providing safe access to in-person events while enabling virtual participation from wider audiences driven by technology.

The World Government Summit 2022 brought together a group of government leaders, ministers, senior officials, decision-makers and specialists in financial, economic and social affairs from around the world to exchange experiences, knowledge and ideas that contribute to promoting development and prosperity around the world.

The summit succeeded in hosting more than 4,000 senior government officials, experts and leaders of the private sector to explore the future of governments in more than 110 dialogue and interactive sessions.