Technology meetings are constantly redefining the leading edge.
High-tech companies are typically the early adopters when it comes to meeting tech, from apps to virtual reality. Prevue asked planners about the latest trends they are seeing at technology meetings.
At Siemens, there’s a digital transformation underway, with a major focus on the ROI of everything from mobile apps to audience response systems. “We’re measuring the success of using these tools via electronic post-event surveys to identify their impact, including cost savings, brand surveys and social media impact,” says Christine Becker Anderson, CMP, event manager.
Katrina Ruff, CMP, SVP of business development at Forums Meetings and Events, is finding the tech company executives to be growing younger each year. “They have a median age of what seems like 30! What makes this difficult is the fact that they would rather text or e-mail than get on an old-fashioned phone call.”
Ruff is willing to travel at her own expense to meet face to face anywhere in the world with her clients, “but this means nothing to Millennials, as their preferred meeting style is not around the table.”
As an independent planner, that has made her job more challenging. “It’s hard to get commitments in a timely fashion. Many event management decisions are left for the last minute. It seems to be their way of doing business.”
Goodbye, Dress Code
Many tech companies and offices have done away with dress codes—and that includes at meetings. “Jeans, tennis shoes and baseball caps seem to be the attire of the new executive,” says Ruff. “We used to be able to spot our clients by their well-placed ties and leather briefcases. You can’t tell who’s who any more.”
Rise of VR
The American Express 2018 Global Meetings Forecast predicts the continuing evolution of mobile apps and hybrid meeting solutions, as well as the rise of newer technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI). VR is used on the show floor at tech expos and trade shows to engage visitors to the booth. Says Issa Jouaneh, vice president and general manager of American Express Meetings & Events, “Today’s attendees are eager to deploy technologies that facilitate their personal event attendance goals”— whether that means networking, entertainment or engaging with content.
Tech guru Corbin Ball of Corbin Ball & Co. points to Saleforce Dreamforce, Cisco Live, C2 Montreal and SXSW as some of the most innovative large-scale tech gatherings, from which the meetings industry gets many of its innovative ideas. “Their tech-savvy attendees understand and expect the proper, frictionless use of technology throughout the event.”
Younger attendees look for healthier F&B options options. “Many of the tech companies we work with have a farm-to-table element in their cafeterias and many choices,” says Monica Logan, VP of operations, The Performance Group. “The food we serve at events should be an extension of this: smaller portions and less waste, environmentally friendly, less meat and more vegetables and fruits.”