With entries for IBTM World’s 2019 Tech Watch Award coming in thick and fast, we caught up with the judges to find out what event technology innovations they are most excited about, as well as their thoughts on how these improve events and enhance attendee experience.
With so many exciting event technologies on the horizon, the experts also provide their insights into the biggest challenges planners face when choosing which tech to incorporate in their events and how to overcome these.
Q: What new piece of event technology are you most excited about, and why is this?
James Morgan, Founder of Event Tech Lab: Rich Communications Services (RCS) will have a big impact on events in the future. Companies like US-based Sciensio and Belgium-based Eventumbot are leading the way on this, with chatbots being deployed at some events in North America and Europe. Gartner research predicts that 75% of all customer service transactions will take place on RCS platforms by 2020. RCS is all about text and voice-based chatbots that can answer generic attendee questions via messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Due to this technological advancement, production costs and attendee satisfaction have increased. If you want to experience it for yourself, you can chat with a chatbot by searching Eventumbot user on Facebook Messenger. Give it a try!
Martin Sirk, Owner of Sirk Serendipity: I am most excited about Kubify’s Learning Toolbox, which won last year’s IBTM People’s Choice World Tech Watch Award. Although it is currently being marketed primarily as an ePoster and Round Table content and engagement enhancer, the potential of Learning Toolbox to add depth and intelligence to any delegate-to-delegate interaction is enormous. I can see it being used in all kinds of innovative ways by smart meeting organisers; and it is very user friendly.
Q: How can technology improve events in your opinion?
James Morgan, Founder of Event Tech Lab: Looking specifically at attendee engagement, various technologies, from polling and Q and A software to photobooth experiences, are designed to deepen engagement. These technologies can take positive emotional impacts derived from event content to reinforce learning, connect people and help amplify an organiser’s key messages.
Martin Sirk, Owner of Sirk Serendipity: The best event technologies take human psychology into account. Benefits of such technologies include helping less socially confident delegates to network and build connections at events; merging delegate behaviour patterns into event programmes to increase their engagement and interaction; and recognising and adapting to different learning and communication styles or cultural differences. In addition to this, some extremely valuable technologies help organisers manage and exchange an overwhelming volume of data gathered at events, as well as analyse this data through identifying patterns and predicting behaviours, which later can provide opportunities for improvement.
Corbin Ball, Meetings Technology Headquarters – Corbin Ball Associates: Nearly every aspect of the event planning process can be improved and streamlined with the proper use of technology. Technology can reduce costs, efforts, time, as well as improve accuracy, enhance attendee experience and provide valuable data, which can then be used for event marketing.
Q: Do you think event professionals currently make the most of the engagement tech on offer?
James Morgan, Founder of Event Tech Lab: Despite the increased appetite for event technology, its deployment is dependent of three factors: firstly, what technology will suit an audience, matching attendee personas to the right technology is paramount; secondly, the culture of the organiser and their clients, and their propensity to embrace technology is important; thirdly, is there a budget to incorporate engagement technology into the event design? Additional technical factors, such as venue Wi-Fi quality and device connectivity may impact the effective use of technology. For example, attendees may not want to use their personal mobile data due to costs, especially when attending international events-.
Martin Sirk, Owner of Sirk Serendipity: Most organisers don’t make the best use of new technology, in my opinion. There are a multiple reasons: firstly, there is a fear of failure, which inhibits experimentation; secondly, many organisers seek technological solutions that fit into their existing event model, rather than taking risks and recognising that technologies could provide an opportunity to re-invent an event; thirdly, few organisers understand the psychology of their delegates, so they can’t judge which technologies would have the best potential to enhance an event; or they omit to see the difference between an online experience and live events when choosing technologies. Finally, event organisers are overwhelmed with the variety of technology products and services on offer, which is why IBTM’s Tech Watch Award is so valuable, helping match innovative solutions with real business challenges.
Corbin Ball, Meetings Technology Headquarters – Corbin Ball Associates: Event professionals are adopting technology to improve events however, the challenges lie in technology rapidly changing, so organisers struggle to keep up with its advancements. Event professionals are understandably cautious in adopting event technology for critical tasks such as delegate vetting. Technology choices should be made based on organisers’ goals of improving the event in measurable ways, as opposed to choosing the newest, flashiest product.
IBTM World 2019 will take place from 19 – 21 November at Fira Barcelona. For more information and to enter the Tech Watch Awards, visit: ibtmworld.com/Whats-on/ibtm-accelerate/Tech-Watch-Award/.
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Notes to Editors
IBTM, part of Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading showcase for the meetings and events industry (also known as MICE) with a portfolio of 5 global and regional events providing business solutions on 4 continents. They include IBTM World, IBTM Africa, IBTM Americas, IBTM China and the recently launched IBTM Asia Pacific.
About Reed Travel Exhibitions
Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading travel and tourism event’s organiser, with a wide-ranging portfolio of 22 international events in 13 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa. Its market-leading, business-to-business events cover all elements of travel and tourism, including leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, events, incentives and business travel, as well as golf travel.