Are live events the answer to the digital age?

Brittany Lee Waller

Technology has afforded us access to activities, entertainment and knowledge in ways we never could have dreamed of. We can virtually be in a meeting happening half-way across the world, or attend a sporting match via live-streaming broadcast by our fellow citizens. But, while technology has allowed us to access audiences anywhere, anytime and activities are becoming increasingly powered by chatbots and artificial intelligence, there’s one thing that still stands out in this hyper-digital age; you can’t beat the real deal.

The live events industry is continuing to grow and evolve and audiences are craving live events and ‘physical experience’ more than ever before. It makes sense, as humans we intrinsically thrive on face-to-face connection. If you watched Dan Buettner’s TED talk on ‘How to live to be 100+’ with insights into the world’s ‘Blue Zones’ then you’ll know that human connection has proven to be the number one driver of robust health and a long life.

If you walk through the busy streets of Manhattan, New York, you’ll see queues everywhere. People lining up for restaurants, plays, new products, the latest sporting events. In some cases, people queuing to experience something they could easily access online. But why? Why do we continue to pursue these ‘live’ interactions when digital experiences can be cheaper and often more exciting and surreal? Well, FOMO (fear of missing out) certainly plays it’s part, but it’s almost as if the ‘authentic moment’ is the antidote to the noisy, digital age. Events can be the inviting, warm, connected corner of the world full of new euphoric engagements. Proof that powerful physical and psychological responses, that are integral to the human condition, are generated when we are present in our communities.

But that’s not to say that technology plays no role in live events, on the contrary, if events harness technology correctly – it can be a game-changer.

We know this like the back of our hand at TEDxSydney. The power of sharing a ‘unique moment’ is near priceless. Brendan Sadgrove, Owner and Director of Innovative Production Services, who have been the TEDxSydney AV and technical production partner since 2014, believes that events represent more to people than just one day on their calendars.

“Live events give us the window to reconnect with people and ourselves. It’s an opportunity to be a part of something, to belong,” says Brendan.

And while the digital era seems to only just be beginning, the importance of ‘real, live experiences’ will always be here to stay.

“Particularly when it’s an event with empowering speakers, inspired and educational activations and a moveable community that utilises superior technology and systems, then it becomes an event with the potential to positively change your life, much like TEDxSydney, ” he says.


Could this year’s much anticipated TEDxSydney event hold the key to more life changing talks? There’s only one way to find out.

Photo credit: Catherine McElhone

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