MPI Perspective - Winter 2015 - (Page 10)
10 Transformative Meetings
Technology Trends for 2015
BY CORBIN BALL,
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:
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
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.
BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and iBeacon will
provide a wealth of new options for planners
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
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.
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 | www.mpincc.org
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.
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,
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
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
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
Index to Advertisers / Advertisers.com
MPI Perspective - Winter 2015