A decade ago, futurists were predicting the death of the meetings industry as a result of technological advancements such as video conferencing and connected workspaces. In stark contrast to those views, we in the business events industry know there will always be an innate requirement for people to come together to share ideas and collaborate. One of the world’s leading technology and innovation events, South by South West (SXSW) Interactive, took place in Austin, Texas last week and key themes throughout the conference demonstrated that technology is not the enemy, but central to enhancing the quality of these meetings.
Here are just five ways in which technology is adding value to the future of the meetings industry:
1. Marketing. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) were hot topics at SXSW. These key growth areas will greatly improve the marketing of events on a global scale, as they help fully immerse people in an experience. We are already seeing destinations build desire and awareness about products and places through the use of these ‘realities’. Business Events Sydney has a terrific Bridge Climb VR experience that it takes on the road to trade shows around the country and the world. Following the opening this December of ICC Sydney, a new integrated convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct in downtown, harbour side Sydney, the market will be able to visit the venue through a new VR experience.
2. Delivery. As live hologram and other techniques improve, the vision is that international thought leaders will be able to participate in more events. Live streaming services such as Periscope, Meerkat, Facebook Live, YouTube Live and Amazon Twitch also got a lot of attention from the marketers at BMW, GE and Mashable at SXSW. These platforms will allow not only world leaders to share in key events, but other professionals and students hungry for knowledge from across the globe. By continuing to reach a wider audience, the dissemination of ideas and innovation can only increase.
3. Event management. Near field communication (NFC) is already commonplace in smartphones. By effectively utilising this technology, event organisers have the ability to track the activity and behaviour of attendees. By using this collected data and listening to what works and doesn’t work for audiences, event organisers can work at continually improving their offering and providing bespoke event solutions to ensure a strong future for the venue and their host city.