Enhancing the event experience is a timeless benefit with technological constraints. As key influencers look at ways of pushing the envelope in 2019 they also remain realistic about recommending achievable enhancements over leading edge ideas. What follows are the comments from a lively group of experts.
Though interesting, event chatbots feel a little like an iteration on mobile app technology, just instead of looking things up on the app, we’re asking a chatbot. I’ve already heard of some planners considering ditching the mobile app entirely and going 'all in' on chatbots, so that’s an interesting trend to watch.
Brandt Krueger, freelance technical and audiovisual consultant
One trend I think is a huge is AI. There are companies enabling people to provide on-site support for the technologies being implemented at events, and to have basic questions answered through AI chatbots. It's a great trend because it allows people to get the information they need without requiring a human until they reach an escalation point, and it's immediate.
There are other types of AI like x.ai which helps people schedule meetings better; it's more efficient than the typical multiple rounds of group email messages to find a time when several people can meet. Instead, you send x.ai out and it queries all of those people and tells you the best time to schedule a meeting. So there are lots of different ways AI can be instituted and I think it’s a progressive and positive trend.
Tara Thomas, Co-Founder & CMO at The Meeting Pool
Photo booths are huge, since they allow brands to reach people outside of the event when people share their branded images socially. VR is also huge. We’ve been a part of at least 10 activations in the last year that have had a VR component.
Serena Holmes, President & CEO at Tigris Events
I keep hearing (the next big trend is) going to be AR, but I haven’t actually seen much being done with it yet.
Sue Pelletier, Editor of MeetingMentor Magazine
I see a focus on real-time collaborative technology tools, especially in the event cycle using them as on-ramp to the actual event and an off-ramp from the experience.
Jeff Hurt, Executive Vice President at Velvet Chainsaw Consulting
Slowly but surely, the meeting industry is learning that the old lecture-saturated conference model is increasingly inferior to meeting designs that incorporate the active learning, connections, engagement, and outcomes that attendees actually want and need.
Adrian Segar, Founder at Conferences That Work
In event production, one of the most interesting comments came from Mike Dominguez, chief sales officer of MGM Resorts International...MGM just opened a new state-of-the-art esports arena at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, and having looked closely into what may be the fastest growing type of event out there, Dominguez said many planners could learn from the production values of these live, head-to-head video gaming events. And that’s to say nothing of their use of technology. Matches at top esports games can run hundreds of thousands of video streams simultaneously.
Leo Jakobson, Executive Editor of Incentive | Senior Editor of Successful Meetings