The Best Of #EventTech Then And Now: 7 Experts Share Their Insights

Well, it’s that time of the year again when #eventprofs and #eventtech enthusiasts share their latest trend predictions.

But instead of voicing our predictions (and getting everything wrong), we took a different route. What about looking back at event technologies that made a difference? And then comparing them to upcoming technologies?

And so we reached out to 7 meeting and event professionals and asked them two questions:

  • Question #1: What is that one marvelous piece of event tech in the past that has truly revolutionized events?
  • Question #2: Looking at recent trends, what up-and-coming technology do you feel is poised to rock the industry in the same way?

The result is a smorgasbord of interesting answers. Some are expected, and others give a refreshing take on event technologies both past and present. Check it out!

MeetingsNet

Sue Pelletier

Sue is an editor and blogger for MeetingsNet.com, bringing a mix of the latest industry news, helpful guides, and occasional rants. And she also teaches Zumba and loves to dance with her Australian Shepherd Mango.

I’d have to say the microphone.

Before we had technology that could amplify someone’s voice so it could be heard by many, meetings likely were by necessity either small, or else resembled something like the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian where people try to make sense of what they think they heard!

“Blessed are the cheesemakers?”

With the microphone, meetings became much more effective as a one-to-many way to disperse information.

Now, there are a bunch of different technologies that effectively are reversing what the microphone once wrought and turning the one-to-many model of meetings on its head by putting a microphone of sorts in every participant’s hands.

Whether it be by tweeting, Facebooking, YouTubing, or Instagramming, social media has not only given us a whole new class of verbs, but also a way to make the conversation happening around the meeting multidirectional.

Then there’s technology like Crowd Mics, an app that actually turns your mobile phone into a microphone that can be heard in the actual physical meeting room.

But all of these technologies serve to de-emphasize the sage-on-the-stage model of meetings into more participant-led events, which is where I believe meetings need to go now that we can just Google any fact we need to know.

“We go to meetings not to just learn what is new, but to discuss with peers how to make that new thing meaningful to our specific situations.”

We go to meetings not to just learn what is new, but to discuss with peers how to make that new thing meaningful to our specific situations. Of course, this makes planning and facilitating a lot more complex, but it’s where we’re all going in the very near future, if not we're not there already.

AllSeated

Sandy Hammer

Sandy Hammer brings over 20 years of marketing experience from the publishing, art world, and high tech industry. Sandy owned conferenceART, a company that produced Innovation events for O2 UK. And she also co-founded start-up called AllSeated.

AllSeated has seen a major change in the way events are planned and executed since revolutionizing the industry with our free floor plan designing and planning tools!

Gone are the days of needing PDF files, handwritten notes and spending hours of wasted time trying to coordinate event details. We have upgraded and simplified the event planning process for planners, vendors, and venues while providing them with a more efficient way to collaborate.

Our technology, which updates in real time, provides users with the ability to design floor plans, view in 3D, manage guest lists, timelines and track RSVP’s, has streamlined the planning process while saving everyone time.

“Watch out for VR next year – it’s coming!”

We expect to see more and more businesses making use of collaboration software and apps to save time and efficiently work together on a more professional level.

We also expect to see more events featuring wearables to promote brands as social media and technology has become the most powerful way for gaining awareness.

Watch out for VR next year – it’s coming!

LoQuiz

Eric Hints

Eric is a co-founder of Adventure Company 360 Degrees and Loquiz. He has created engaging and meaningful corporate events for 15 years. He focuses on developing innovative solutions for event professionals so they can create and run innovative gamified events.

Arduino!

This is maybe not the likely candidate for many event managers, but this is a small piece of hardware that is very easy to connect to physical objects, program and can be used in very many different ways.

We have used it from building simple teamwork exercises, to counting entrances through the door, to running some key elements in exit rooms. It is simple and basic, but that makes it relatively easy to making the physical world wiser.

Up and coming tech to keep an eye on is definitely Google Tango project, that will make indoor location awareness a reality. If this will allow for as easy indoor positioning as GPS systems are offering for outdoors, then this will revolutionize many industries.

Sean is an energetic team building speaker and facilitator who helps organizations improve their results. And he does this by translating the lessons he learned in leading struggling basketball programs to tremendous turnarounds – using the same focus on team cohesiveness and leadership development.

I am actually a pretty low-tech guy. I think that part of the allure of my events is that they emphasize connection and person-to-person interactions. That said, I DO use post-event surveys to collect feedback, and Survey Monkey is a great tool for doing that.

Recommended Reading

Learn how to do post-event surveys the right way! This detailed 8-point guide from Currinda shows you the building blocks of an effective survey - from planning the questions, the timing, to reviewing the feedback.

SoolNua

Padraic Gilligan

Padraic is the Managing Partner at Soolnua. He has over 20 years of leadership experience both nationally and internationally. Padraic is also an “insider” in the Tourism sector, growing and managing companies and business units.

“As #eventtech gets more and more sophisticated, sometimes we just crave simplicity!”

As #eventtech gets more and more sophisticated, sometimes we just crave simplicity!

That's why I love Sli.do. Many event apps and platforms include audience engagement as yet another module in a complex array of functionality.

However, I love Sli.do because it's a stand-alone audience engagement platform, accessible via browser without the need to download yet another event app. It does polls and Q&A really easily and has excellent UI and UX.

Most importantly, it allows me immediately enhance the value of my presentation because, with Sli.do, it's not about me as a presenter anymore, it's all about my audience. Next step for Sli.do will be full Slide integration.

Corbin Ball

Corbin Ball

Corbin is the man behind CorbinBall.com, a leading meetings tech portal. A Certified Speaking and Meeting Professional with over 20 years of experience in running technology meetings, Corbin was also awarded as one of “The 25 Most Influential People In The Meetings Industry” by Meetings News and Successful Meetings Magazine.

Historically, online registration/attendee management systems had one of the greatest impacts on improving the business process for meetings. The ability to standardize inputting and payment processing made the lives of meeting planners and attendees much easier.

More recently, the development of the mobile event app has provided a “Swiss Army knife” of tools at attendees’ fingertips while providing a goldmine of potential data tracking for attendees.

As for the new technology that will rock events and meetings the same way, here’s my take:

“Software integration tools will create the beginning-to-end event planning solution we’ve always wanted!”

I discussed this at length in my 2017 meetings tech predictions.

Big names in the events and meetings industry have acquired companies in the past to offer a near-complete software platform. The downside, however, is the inflexibility of the approach.

A promising workaround is to use an integration-platform-as-a-service product.

This would allow event and meeting planners to combine different cloud-based event management tools with CRM and marketing automation. This can be very similar to how IFTTT combines Google Drive, Wordpress, Evernote, and other tools to create an automated system.

The #eventpro gets to choose which specific software products and services to bolt together, which is nice!

Boomset

Kerem Baran

Kerem Baran is CEO and cofounder of Boomset, an integration platform of apps and services optimizing the on-site event experience. An event industry veteran and pioneer in innovative apps and technology, Kerem works internationally with many of the greatest event professionals across the US, Turkey, and throughout Europe. With a passion for coding, he has developed a unique political app, Capulcu Tencere, which had 100,000+ downloads in less than 24 hours, landing the top story in Forbes.

1st Question: Online workshop scheduling.

I remember events that handed out bunches of paper tickets that would grant access to specific workshops at an event.

If I wanted to change my schedule, I needed to bring this paper ticket back to the (chaotic) registration area, see if they had any other paper tickets available for the workshop or session I was looking to switch to, and then exchange my hardcopy ticket with the new workshop's ticket.

Also, the only way to see available seats of the sessions was by physically counting the quantity of hard copy tickets that remained. Thanks to online scheduling, we can do all the above with a tap of a finger from our mobile devices.

2nd Question: Machine learning for events.

This sounds like a Sci-Fi movie title, but it really isn't!

After you visit an exhibitor booth at an expo or trade show, your event app should scan similar exhibitors and suggest another one to visit. (Or vice versa!)

When you attend a session, your event app can recommend another similar session that you didn't even think about attending. This is just the beginning -- machine learning is going to be the Golden Era of marketing automation for events!