It's a technological world

(IMEX ShowDaily3) An interviewed with Maarten Vanneste published on IMEX ShowDaily3, published on Thrusday, 23rd May 2013

It’s a technological world

The role of technology in the meetings business has evolved hugely in the past ten years and shows no sign of let up. Where once the Telex was cutting edge, organisers must now manage in an age of hybrid events, multi-screening and streamed live content. Technology is making today’s events more engaging than ever.

How is technology shaping the events business?
Mainly four technology groups have a growing impact:
1 Online event management software is getting mature. From straight forward registration and payment systems to larger and comprehensive systems. Besides the standard management modules, for program, speakers, etc. they now offer things like networking and appointment systems creating real value for the participant.
2 Mobile event applications offer more than the handy agenda and floor plans. Some even focus on value creators like interaction via Q&A, voting, co-creation, etc.
3 Hybrid meetings technology. Webcasting has become simple, session recording much better and cheaper, on-line breakout and discussion, interaction, etc. are all immerging, growing and improving.
4 Stand-alone technologies for things like co-creation and voting are becoming available on iPads and other devices making it even cheaper and easier than ever.
There are obviously other categories like
- The many apps for tablets and smartphones. Things like timers, brainstorm systems, gaming, testing, etc. (Check out the IMEX iPad Bar)
- Portal sites like Conferize that promote events and extend their reach.
- Gadgets like the business card exchange systems,
- Online collaboration tools for international conference teams integrate with on line meeting systems: like Podio and GoTo meetings.
- And last but not least social media and the professionals that help making the most out of them for meetings and events.
All of these have been growing, improving and extending in their capabilities to service both the organizers and the participants.

What technologies are having the biggest effect?
The biggest impact for meetings is coming from technology that has an impact on meeting effectiveness. A good event management system is obviously crucial, but when it impacts the learning or networking, it really improves meeting effectiveness. This creates value above and beyond the excitement of using a new and fun tool.

What tools do events professionals value the most?
Event professionals like to streamline the planning and when doing many events per year a good system will allow us to copy existing modules and saving time. In times when ever more has to be done by smaller teams, this definitely makes event professionals happy.
The event professionals that look to increase the ROI of what they do are certainly paying more and more attention to products that drive the learning, networking and motivation of their participants. We can see that this is where many suppliers have invested and continue to invest.

Where is technology taking events?
The future of events is influenced by all the above categories. Meetings are becoming more international, they have more activity before and after the event and they create a better experience for the online participants. They also increase their impact on the innovation, progress and success of organizations. When used properly they will simply make meetings and conferences better and help create a sustainable meeting industry.

What new tools might we see in the future?
Things I am looking forward to is the robotics to support on-line participants. For a few hundred euro’s we can buy a rotating table top iPad stand, enabling an on-line participant to take ‘a seat at the table’ and look around and join the on-site discussion. This could be one of the greatest improvements in on-line participation.
The first iPad stands on wheels are being sold (at less than € 1.500,-) so why not make those available to on-line participants, allowing them to walk around at tradeshows and conferences.
And then there are those really FRESH ideas like a soft ‘microphone ball’ you can throw from participant to participant during a Q&A. How cool is that!
I can’t wait to get my hand on one all that new stuff at FRESH14 …

Check out the 11 technology stands at the Meeting Support Institute TechTap. 6 of them are new at IMEX and some are even launching a brand new product. There is a half hour quick tour on Wednesday and Thursday at 11:00 am, called ‘Get the most out of the Technology Area in 30 minutes.’ You should do one of those!
Stay informed and join us at the Meeting Architecture group on LinkedIn.

Maarten Vanneste, CMM
President and CEO
Meeting Support Institute

Facebook iconLinkedIn iconTwitter icon