Liveforce attended The Meeting Show 2017 in Kensington Olympia this week, taking our place in the “Future of Meetings” stand. It was interesting to see how tech was incorporated into the fabric of the show itself. Badges were printed by scanning a QR code from your mobile device. Timetables, exhibition layout, and “one to ones” could all be managed within the event app.
There was the usual scanning of barcodes and delegates using the engagement device Loopd. Some of the stands were embracing VR to demonstrate their venues, such as 99 City Road.
Start-ups and SME’s were on hand to demonstrate the future of event planning, event automation, crew scheduling, translation apps, meeting analytics software…the list goes on.
Our very own Greg Lusk took part in an interactive seminar titled “The Future of Meetings is Now – Trends and Innovation in Technology for Meetings and Events.”
Chaired by Maarten Van Este from ABBIT Multi-Hub Meetings, together with a guest panel of event tech start-ups, the discussion uncovered some interesting insights into available tech, how to encourage delegates to get on board, and what fears still exist around using event tech.
“Believe me, I’ve managed every event nightmare possible. The technology is there…with all the things you need to worry about in events – tech is not one of them” Steve Bather, Meeting Spheres Ltd
During the seminar, we embraced the tech. A CatchBox was thrown between the panel and chair, and attendees were encouraged to log on to Slido to take part in live polls and post questions. One of the first polls put to the audience was whether they considered themselves to be “no, low or high tech”. Interestingly 68% categorised themselves as low tech. Despite most of us using contactless cards for payment, Uber to get from a to b, FaceTime to wish our loved ones a happy birthday, and paying our bills online – we still consider ourselves low tech. It was agreed that some work around confidence building must be done.
By the end of the seminar all questions from the audience came via Slido. Not one person had the confidence to raise their hand and ask a question, but were happy to ask anonymously. This suggests we are more “high tech” than we thought…and that the technology works!
The key to changing an industry that is trailing behind others is professionalisation – in the way we think about tech, adapt it, talk about it and embrace it. The events (and meetings) industry must start to consider themselves online rather than off. Tech needs to be there from the beginning, not as a gimmick or a cherry on top. The message was clear; meetings, conferences and events ARE digital – whether you like it or not!
“We need to share ideas, discuss, brainstorm, be more open. Encourage, sharing, talking and transparency around event tech.” Greg Lusk, Liveforce.
The future must be a place where event planners and organisers embrace tech and place it at the centre of their planning. Events are a people to people business, becoming tech savvy Pre and Post event enables organisers to use “face to face” time more wisely.
So, what does the future actually look like? With input from innovators such as ABBIT Multi-Hub Meetings providing multi-city virtual hybrid events we don’t need to travel to meetings anymore – this has a positive impact on budgets and of course the environment. With Interprefy language is no longer a barrier (also an eco-champion saving up to 72 tonnes of CO2) and with Liveforce events can now be organised on the go, without the stress. The only thing left to do is replace the good old-fashioned badge, any ideas?