Top 10 Tech Trends In Business Meeting
The day is not too far away when drones, mood lightening and wireless networking are coming to the meeting place - impacting CXOs and meeting planners in a big way. The International Association of Conference Centres (IACC) recently revealed a list of the top-10 meetings-related technology trends that are affecting venues and planners across the globe. While it may take a few years for some of these technologies to mature, the starting point would be 2015 when businesses will began implementing these practices or witness these trends at the meetings ground.
1. The Millennials: More fluent in technology, this new generation is addicted to social media, is even more environmentally conscious than their predecessors - the Gen Xers, and has high expectations of connectivity, interactivity, and the ability to influence and engage in dialogue. They know how to seek out free Wi-Fi, and as they enter the workplace and start attending meetings, they expect Wi-Fi to always be free and fast!
2. Think Socialising rather than Networking: Socialising at work used to be frowned upon, taking on somewhat negative connotations. But increasingly, socialising is seen as relationship-building and for meetings, conference venues encourage relaxed socialising by providing multi-use spaces for conferees to gather together. It turns out that conferees actually do talk business in these welcoming environments!
3. Mood switching: Meeting rooms have seen radical makeovers in terms of design, colour and creative seating options of late. New developments in technology have allowed venues and organisers to instantly change the look and feel of a meeting room with user controllable LED mood lighting, high-tech furniture groupings and more.
4. GPS-based app technology: Important advances in GPS-based app technology enable planners and venues to now personalise a conferee’s welcome and offer other location-based alert notifications upon arrival. For example, a badge is printed when the delegate enters the geofence (think venue), with notification sent via the app to the badge printing location. Providing useful location information and navigation assistance, the geofence can notify attendees where they are on a map and give guidance on where they wish to go.
5. Information Exchange: Developments in app-based two-way communication means that with user permission, one’s smart phone can easily transmit contact information, social media profiles, specific meeting room access information, meal tracking, food preferences, and much more. Communication between attendees can be enhanced with notifications, pictures and other information about who is nearby. Consider the value of automated demonstrations (videos, etc.) for exhibitor products that meeting groups can offer their sponsors as a marketing enhancement. Instant and targeted contact is king today; new technologies and applications that help foster participant engagement and social interaction will grow in popularity and usage.
6. Drones: We have seen a dramatic rise in the use of drones in extreme sports — and now conference organisers are using this affordable technology to capture creative event photos and map out the venue for GPS integrated conferences. What will “tomorrow’s” technology bring to outpace the functionality of drones!
7. Wireless charging: Just when venues think their under-counter box of chargers is current and complete, technology moves on and we get closer to a single standard for wireless charging technology, after years of competing standards. Currently pushing for a single standard, QI Consortium boasts wireless charging points in 3,000 hotels. With large scale furniture makers such as IKEA installing standardised wireless charging into tables and desks they sell, the writing is on the wall for meeting venues to incorporate wireless charging points into bar tops, meeting room tables and guestrooms. They better do so this year, as 2015 is sizing up to be the year the hospitality industry finally took standardising wireless charging technology and its availability seriously!
8. Virtual experience: There are times when its just not possible to get everybody in the same place at the same time. Conference venues understand this and are making the virtual attendee experience much better. How? Venues are developing meeting rooms with multiple ceiling-mounted microphones, high-bandwidth connectivity and advanced software solutions to provide seamless integration into the meeting for virtual attendees, faculty and guest speakers. Additionally, there is an increase in clients wanting to capture video to send to another physical location, where a second group of participants are gathered.
9. Streetview Technology: The trend toward part-time meeting planners who are NOT full-time professional planners but may be an executive assistant, marketing coordinator, human resource professional or department head, is on the increase. Today’s meeting planner, therefore, expects and requires more from their venue partners, in terms of evaluating venues’ capabilities to support their meeting or event. When a planner cannot conduct an in-person venue inspection, technology is fast evolving using the Google Street View concept to provide valuable virtual venue tours, multiple room images showing different meeting layouts and even property video footage.
10. Buying Your Meeting Online - More and more clients are using the web as their primary tool for making purchasing decisions. One IACC venue recently reported 70% of all new business comes via online search activities and they expect that number to grow. The venues that will be the most successful in capturing this business will have websites that serve not only as marketing brochures but as the primary tool for their clients to plan, book, purchase, and engage with them for their next meeting.
Mark Cooper, IACC’s CEO, commented, “Meeting Planners are seeing their role influenced more and more by technology, not just for the meeting itself, but in researching and booking venues, how planners interact onsite and how they communicate following the meeting.”
“The balance between technology and in-person relationships is an interesting one, with a need to attain a balance of the two in order to plan and deliver successful meeting outcomes,” he summed up.
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