High-tech meetings here to stay

In this post, we’ll continue to explore findings from the 2017 IACC Meeting Room of the Future Report, with a particular focus on the influence that technology is having on meeting rooms.

We’ll look at four technology trends and their impact on meeting planning.

1. Technology is key

Delegates now demand the latest in technology to stay engaged and interact with meeting content. Meeting planners are seeking venues with technology that satisfies that growing and evolving demand.

As a result, meeting planners are significantly increasing budgets for conference technology and AV equipment, suggesting that meeting planners believe this investment will give them the competitive edge and “wow” factor that their clients require.

Creston Woods, General Manager at Deloitte University in Dallas feels a focus on learning and networking can be stimulated during the planning process. Deloitte’s delegates use Proxfinity technology to attach detailed profiles to their name badges, helping delegates discover each other based on shared interests.

2. Conference apps on the decline

A surprisingly lower percentage (49%) of meeting planners from IACC’s report favoured conference apps. By contrast, MPI’s research found in 2014, that 63% of meeting professionals had implemented a conference app. Perhaps its popularity among meeting planners may be waning due to the high broadband that such apps demand. However, by providing delegates technology that allows communication directly with meeting hosts, planners can better understand delegate preferences.

3. Guaranteed broadband

Meeting planners, not surprisingly, agree that their dependency on internet/Wi-Fi at a venue has increased, and will continue to increase in the next five years. In fact, a majority (58%), indicated that they would not even consider shortlisting a venue that did not have the guaranteed internet capacity to support the needs of their event. An even larger majority (72%), indicated that affordable (or free) high-speed wireless internet will be the most critical technology needed for meetings in the next five years.

Michael Piddock, Founder of Glisser, says, “As a technology provider, this is hugely important to us — event planners are looking to companies like ours to guide them through the challenges. It’s important that delegate information is collected and stored correctly. Venues need to have good technical know-how or partner with vendors that they can rely on to be on top of this.”

The Report gave a list of the top critical technology for meetings in the next five years:

  • Affordable (or free) high-speed wireless internet
  • Data Security
  • Apps (for networking, scheduling, communication, sharing, etc.)
  • Interactive technology
  • Streaming support

Meeting planners are increasingly focused on keeping delegate attention on program content and away from their outside lives. Corbin Ball, a meetings industry technology expert, warns that one challenge with smartphone apps, is that it is reliant on the delegates’ phone technology.

GPS technology is also cited as a challenge as often conferences take place in buildings where GPS signals are weakened. One respondent said that Infra-red technology will likely play a bigger part in future meeting technologies.

“More conference apps are being developed and when you have hundreds to thousands of participants downloading / streaming / uploading to a conference or gamification app, it can create a negative vibe for the experience.” – Diane Deyerler CMP, Principal Deyerler & Watanabe LLC

Over the next five years, meeting planners will require more broadband for tasks such as smartphone audience participation, conference apps, video streaming presentation content, live event streaming, online learning, and more.

4. Virtual and augmented reality

The Report also revealed an openness to the emerging virtual reality or augmented reality technologies.

“It will tie into the experiential design, whatever that may be – being at a healthcare conference and feeling what it’s like to be a patient in surgery, travel conference showing you VR of a destination, etc.” – Carol Porter, Chief of Staff, Viawest.

Danny Han, Lecturer & Researcher at NHTV University of Applied Sciences, Breda, the Netherlands added, “While many respondents seem to be aware of the potential that AR or VR technology could provide, the big question is how to develop it meaningfully and cost-efficiently?”

Alastair Stewart of etc venues, predicts that because hiring a keynote speaker is one of the highest event costs, hologram technology as it evolves could soon become a more cost-effective solution. The unattainable speaker could be attainable in future.

Our next post will conclude our blog series covering the IACC 2017 Report, by looking at the impact that food and beverage services have on the overall experience — including break times.


Would you like to learn more about Karstens high-tech meeting rooms? Click here.