Among an audience of 420 attending Cvent CONNECT recently, not one single person was without a smart phone. At a technology-related event, that’s hardly surprising, as most of those assembled would pride themselves on being digitally-savvy. But I was startled to be reminded at this event that the original iPhone was released in the US way back in 2007 in the US. Where has an entire decade gone?
Younger professionals may barely remember life before mobile devices. But the pace and pervasiveness of digital tech that we are experiencing today is nothing short of breathtaking.
In our industry, we are constantly challenged to provide delegates, customers, suppliers and employees with an exceptional experience. The use of technology needs to make that experience easier and more enjoyable, too. But while digital tools play a role in bridging geographies and time zones with virtual interactions, they will never replace the need for getting together face-to-face. We humans are an intrinsically social species.
Some could be forgiven for thinking some of the technology-enabled scenarios discussed at Cvent were straight out of Minority Report. Driverless vehicles, drones, and even rockets to transport our attendees. Facial recognition sign-in and computerised room keys to speed up check-in. Telepresence, mobile apps, plus augmented and virtual reality to encourage immersion and engagement. Digital and physical footprint tracking to understand behaviours. It’s incumbent on us to extract insights from the data generated throughout the attendee journey, then apply them to enhance the next event and enrich the strategies of our forward-thinking clients.
In conversations with a number of event professionals, corporate event strategists, hotel and venue specialists and tech experts, I heard differing views and emotions when it comes to the influence of innovation. There are still a few in the industry who are still a bit unsettled by the prospect of standing in the path of an unstoppable technological juggernaut. Surely the events industry has got passed the fear that technology is a threat to the live event? Our experience with clients shows that these innovations, used wisely only enhance the delegate experience, and further echo the values of forward-thinking organisations. I say let’s grab our iPads and hold tight for the ride, use technology to strengthen our journeys in life and enhance the power of live experience!
Click here to listen to a podcast of key highlights from Cvent Connect, including live interviews with Cvent CEO Reggie Aggarwal