In order to keep abreast of advances in meeting and event planning technology we find we have to publish a related blog about every ninety days. It’s truly amazing how changes in technology can alter the very nature and structure of events and the job of the meeting and event planner. Since our last technology update in November 2017, we have uncovered even more advanced technologies that planners can use to streamline events and make them more exciting.
Here are seven more new technologies that are changing the way we do business.
- Chat bot – We all know what a chat bot is but maybe we haven’t utilized it effectively in our event design. Sciensio’s Concierge Eventbot, for example, allows guests to ask the bot questions via text and receive an instant response based on content provided by the event host. Common content for an event bot would be agendas, speaker bios, venue and parking maps, and sponsor information. Instant information and communication at a large and complex event is very well received by attendees who are often swamped by activities, meetings, and networking opportunities.
- Artificial Intelligence – VNTANA and Satisfi Labs have developed an artificial intelligence hologram that can listen to guests’ questions and provide instant answers. Artificial intelligence capability is being woven into all information gathering apps and utilized to sort attendee metrics into a wide variety of categories useful to both hosts and exhibitors, not to mention planners themselves.
- Facial Recognition – Companies such as Zenus provide facial recognition check-in systems for events. Guests upload a photo during registration and then are automatically checked-in when they stand in front of a camera.
Facial recognition can also be used to evaluate the attendee experience, potentially providing more authentic feedback than a traditional survey. Affectiva is one company that provides emotional analysis by tracking facial expressions and movement to determine if the subject is interested, confused or happy. This information can be utilized for marketing by individual exhibitors, future attendance strategies by event hosts, and event design by meeting and event planners.
- Augmented Reality – One AR application called Skrite uses augmented reality to leave content such as photos, product information, and more in the air above events. The content appears on the user’s device when they tilt it toward a designated spot in the sky with the Skrite app open. Exciting, fun, and useful.
- Beacons – This advanced blue-tooth-like technology has changed communication at events. Now planners, exhibitors, and sponsors can send information directly to an attendee’s smartphone throughout an event. Also, beacons are a two-way street that can be used to track attendee behavior, providing data on foot traffic, dwell time, and more.
- Social Listening – Combined with geofencing, social listening is one of the newest tools for gathering attendee feedback. Two companies, Amps and Ground Signal, provide services that monitor posts on social media from specific locations so brands and companies can understand what their audience is sharing.
- Handwriting Robots – The Bond company has just launched a service that makes it easy for planners to send hundreds, even thousands, of thank-you notes that look as if they were each written by hand. Instead, the work is done by Bond’s robots – the company has hundreds of them – that use real ink pens to write your message on white cardstock.
The biggest challenge for meeting and event planners in the field of technology is just keeping up. Software engineers and app developers are constantly finding new uses for mobile devices that impact the event industry. Some of these innovations help us execute events more efficiently and some of them enhance our attendee’s experience. Either way, in order to remain current, planners must stay abreast of theses technological advances as they appear in the marketplace.