MPI Perspective - Winter 2015 - (Page 10)

10 Transformative Meetings Technology Trends for 2015 BY CORBIN BALL, CMP, CSP T These are exciting times. The rate of technology change is accelerating with thousands of ideas, apps and innovations bubbling up to help meeting planners, exhibitors, venues and other meeting participants to do their jobs better. This annual review covers many of the major events technology trends to watch for this coming year: 1 Mobile event apps have become mainstream and will continue to grow in 2015. Today, nearly everyone, including technology laggards, is carrying around a smartphone. Mobile use at events has exploded and mobile event app providers are expanding and refining the options. Much of the development has focused on replacing existing processes, such as replacing paper programs and agendas, replacing directional signage and maps. However, mobile event apps are not just about improving existing processes. They can be about providing entirely new services as the next two trends indicate. 2 BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and iBeacon will provide a wealth of new options for planners and participants. In my 2014 Tech Trends Review, I predicted that geofencing would become a significant factor for events. Later that month, Apple released iOS7, which incorporated iBeacon technology. iBeacons are very low-power, low-cost Bluetooth (BLE - Bluetooth Low Energy) transmitters with up to a 150 foot (50 meter) range. iBeacons can interact and share information with Apple and later model Android mobile device apps. This year, iBeacons have been installed in sports arenas, museums, airports and a variety of retail establishments. This technology holds great promise for events with nearly all of the major event app developers working on ways to incorporate. However, planners and event app developers must take care to use iBeacons very judiciously - to provide significant value to event participants. If attendees feel that this technology is an invasion of privacy with no payback for them or a "pop-up spam" device, they will simply turn off the Bluetooth reception or uninstall the app. 3 Analytics will emerge as one of the most important benefits of mobile event apps. The onsite meeting used to be the "black hole" of event data management. Planners used computers before and after events, but during an event they were "flying blind." For example, 10 | P E R S P E C T I V E | paper surveys were handed out, but tallying wasn't completed until after the event - not in time to make mid-course corrections. Today, mobile event apps offer an unprecedented amount of analytic data - a goldmine of useful, real-time information to improve the event experience! Every touch is trackable! Analytic capabilities will also extend to and interoperate with online registration and membership management systems to provide greater personalization to participants and greater insight into their behavior. 4 Big data will become a key component of event marketing and design. In these hyper-connected times, nearly every activity can be tracked: your website visits, every touch on your mobile device, every Facebook like, any online posting, your profiles, your purchases using reward points, surveillance cameras, and much, much more. Big data seeks to combine these data from widely disparate sources in an aggregate form to spot trends and make business decisions and to improve customer interaction experiences. The challenge is that big data takes lots of computer processing and storage resources - previously only available to large, very well funded entities. Big Data-as-a-Service (BDaaS) is emerging as cloud providers offer smaller organizations or associations more affordable access to these huge streams of relevant data. As these large data integration services work on a broad, enterprise scale, this same concept will also be used on an event level. Through integrated registration and mobile technologies, it is becoming possible to combine many streams of data generated during event registration, web clicks, exhibitor interactions, mobile app activity, gamification, social media activity, surveys and more to gain insight to improve events and to facilitate personalization for event participants. 5 Data breaches and app hacking will likely target events in 2015. The recent data breaches of Home Depot, Target, eBay, the Heartbleed bug and the August 2014 hacker theft of 1.2 billion email address/passwords are examples of increased and more sophisticated hacking activity. Hackers will almost inevitably target some events via an online registration system and/or a mobile eventrelated app (likely an Android version) in the near future. As a planner, make sure your registration company is PCI compliant and take other steps to guard attendee information captured. 6 Real-time, automated language translation capabilities will be used for events. The days of the UN-style interpretation booths in the back of the room for international events may be numbered.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MPI Perspective - Winter 2015

Thinking Outside the Hotel – Alternate Venues and What They Offer
Transformative Meetings: Technology Trends for 2015
ACE – Invest in Yourself in 2015!
Best Apps for Planning a Meeting in San Francisco
Editor’s Note
Take 5
President’s Message
MPI Spotlight
Index to Advertisers /

MPI Perspective - Winter 2015