The Buzzword Breakdown for Meetings & Events Professionals

As a professional in the meetings and events industry, it’s easy to forget that the words we’re hearing every day, the conversations we’re having and everything we’re reading, it’s chock full of buzzwords that may not mean much to people outside of our world of brand experiences.

You return home after SxSW, Dreamforce, or XLIVE, all jazzed about the latest technologies, trends, and topics from stage to the show floor. Then you try explaining to your family how cool the holodome was with its immersive 360-degree video, and integrated sound and haptic experiences—that it’s a new frontier in virtual and augmented reality. You’re psyched. They’re lost.

We’re here to help. Whether you need to explain brand experience jargon to your family and friends, or you just need a quick reference guide yourself, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of buzzwords for #eventprofs (event professionals).

Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality describes a technology, or really a viewing experience, where computer generated graphics and sometimes additional sensory modalities including touch, sound, or auditory, are added on top of the physical, real-world. Think Pokémon Go.

Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality is a computer simulated viewing experience that may attempt to replicate real world environments and scenarios, or just take you on a fantastical journey, and this imaginary environment is generally experienced through the use of headsets. A person experiencing virtual reality is able to look or even move around an artificial world. VR is commonly used today for gaming, product demonstrations, or military and medical training.

ar-events-vr-360-video (MR)

Mixed reality, or hybrid reality, refers to the merging of real and virtual worlds where the physical and the digital co-exist and even interact in real-time. MR refers to the entire spectrum of augmented and immersive experiences where digital representations of people, places, and things are blended with our real world to create a sense of presence.

Yeah, it’s super sci-fy stuff. This is where we are, world.

Immersive Experiences

Speaking of immersive experiences, this is another buzzword for all of the above.

Immersive experiences are created by utilizing digital technologies like AR, VR, and even deep learning, with a bit of creativity, to provide an audience an otherwise impossible experience of learning, playing, training, or exploring.


Haptics, as a shortened term, refers to haptic technologies or kinesthetic communications which is the way humans and animals communicate through touch. Haptics are used in mixed reality experiences to recreate the sense of touch via vibration, motion, or applied force.


360-degree video, spherical video, or immersive video, (whatever you want to call it), is a video recording in which all 360-degrees, or every angle, is recorded simultaneously. During playback, the viewer is able to direct their own experience of the video, choosing where to turn the camera and what to look it because all angles are available.

Facebook and YouTube have begun embracing 360-video as a way to share content that captivates audiences, and we even took a 360-degree camera to the top of Kilimanjaro.


180-degree video are immersive videos that do not stretch the entire way around a viewer. This is a newer trend in VR viewing and is meant to be a more cinematic experience for the viewer, and more approachable outside of VR—appearing as traditional flat videos when not seen through a headset.

If you watched the PyeongChang Olympic Games in VR this year, you experienced stereoscopic 180-degree video.


Four words. “Help me Obi Wan Kenobi”

Remember the Princess Leia hologram? Well these days we also have TuPac and Michael Jackson. Holograms truly seem like magic. And they’re pretty close. Actually they’re a three-dimensional projection of a photographic recording of a light field that you’re able to see without the need for glasses or any special viewer.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence, these days becoming synonymous with machine learning or deep learning, refers to a computers ability to develop knowledge and perform tasks that would normal require a human to carry out, such as noticing visual cues or analyzing graphic patterns, speech recognition and language translation, even decision-making.

Facial Recognition (FR)

Facial recognition is a biometric technology used to identify or verify a person a person from a digital image.

If you have an iPhone X, you experience the marvel that is facial recognition technology possibly hundreds of times every day. How quickly one of the Minority Report’s most striking futuristic technologies has become commonplace.


Blockchain technology, made popular through the rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, is a continuously growing list of records, each record individual yet verified to be identical across the network, which are linked and secured using cryptography.

Even if you don’t own any cryptocurrencies, you’re likely going to want to spend a Sunday morning attempting to really understand the power of blockchain. It’s popping up everywhere these days, even events.

Brand Activations

A brand activation is a tactic for engaging your audience and creating an emotional connection by way of an event, pop-up, campaign, digital or immersive experience that brings your brand message or promise to life for the consumer.


Personalization, in the events world, is a way in which communications and live experiences are directed toward and tailored specifically for an individual person (attendee).

This is one of the hottest topics in the brand experience industry today as event professionals are finally equipped with smart enough event tech to understand attendee actions and to take insights gleaned from these tools to make meetings more successful for all parties involved.


Gamification is a way to make normally boring things more fun. Need a more technical definition? It’s the application of game-design principles in non-game contexts. When used successfully at events, gamification serves to increase motivation, loyalty, and engagement.


Festivalization refers to the event trend and movement of traditionally corporate event environments, like sales meetings and leadership conferences normally held in a ballroom, toward more music festival like experiences with themes like community, creativity, food, fashion.

Basically, another way to make normally boring things more fun.


Beacons are devices equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) that broadcast data through radio signals to any device listening nearby. Beacons are used at events to communicate with smart devices like phones in order to connect with or inform event attendees.


Radio frequency identification makes use of electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags, containing electronically stored information, attached to objects. RFID tags may either be passive or active, meaning they can only receive energy and information, or they can transmit it.

Most event badges these days contain an RFID tag on the back of the name card.


Wearable technology, or wearables, are smart electronic (and often fashionable) devices that are worn by consumers (or attendees) and that collect and exchange data.

Your Apple Watch or Fitbit. Those are wearables. As is your Klik wristband and smartbadge, if you were at C2.

Event Tech

Event tech, or event technology, is exploding. Event tech refers to the field of tools and technologies, often apps and hardware or software services, utilized by meetings and events professionals to better plan, promote, execute, and analyze their events end-to-end.

Cramer publishes an uber-popular event tech landscape every year. Have you seen 2018’s?

Second Screens

Second screen viewing refers to using a computing device, such as your smartphone or a tablet, to compliment or enhance the traditional viewing experience on another device, like your television.

Practically everybody today, whether they’re watching TV or sitting through a keynote, has their smartphone in their hand or in front of their face. Developing a second screen strategy for your video content or on-stage presentation is becoming a must.


Livestreaming, or live social video, is flourishing as a marketing channel and transforming the way brands engage with audiences. Livestreams refer to online media broadcast simultaneously in real-time to viewers without geographical barriers.


This goes beyond going green.

Sustainability encompasses a wide variety of actions that can benefit the earth, benefit attendees and their health, and benefit the event budget. Take biking as an alternative to event-site shuttling. There’s less fuel waste, fewer half-empty vehicles, and attendees benefitting from fresh air and exercise.

Event Influencers

Event influencers are attendees and ambassadors (either organic or paid) who carry your brand message or event promotions to wider networks of potential buyers and markets where they have reach or influence. Influencer marketing is one of the most powerful ways to engage your prospective audiences today.


The generational demographic with birth years beginning in the 1980’s who grew into adulthood in the 21st century. Millennials make up 25% of the U.S. population, value experiences over things, care about causes and align with brands that stand for more than just the bottom line, like to travel, are early adopters of technology, and watch cooking shows.

Gen Z

The demographic group after the millennials, with birth dates ranging from the mid 1990’s to the mid 2000’s. Generation Z grew up with smartphones, laptops in classrooms, high-speed internet, and social media. And they’re bored of it all.

Is anything missing from the list?

Tweet us at @wearecramer and let us know you think we should add! We’ll keep updating this as new buzzwords, topics, and trends capture the attention of event profs and take hold of the brand experience industry.