Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

On the Horizon: Technology’s Influence

by David DuBois, CMP, CAE, CTA, President, International Association of Exhibitions and Events | Dec 18, 2012

“One of the most important exhibition industry elements that event organizers should have on their radar screen for 2013 is the impact and influence of technology at meetings, exhibitions, and events. Technology continues to positively augment the total experience that an attendee has. This includes prior to, during, and after their attendance. For those who are not able to attend in person, technology enables them to experience important elements of programs that help to encourage future participation at in-person/live activities.”

Top 10 Largest U.S. Medical Meetings (by total attendance)

1. Radiological Society of North America: 59,097

2. Greater New York Dental Meeting: 53,789

3. FIME Show: 52,723

4. American Society of Clinical Oncology - Annual Meeting: 31,800

5. Society for Neuroscience: 31,500

6. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: 31,456

7. HIMSS: Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society: 31,293

8. Chicago Dental Society: 30,575

9. Massachusetts Dental Society - Yankee Dental Congress: 27,685

10. California Dental Association - Anaheim: 27,410

SOURCE: Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association (HCEA), hcea.org(LIN)

Top 20 U.S. Health- Care Meeting Sites

Las Vegas

Washington, D.C.


San Diego


San Francisco

New Orleans


San Antonio



Denver / Miami (tie)

Baltimore / Phoenix (tie)


New York / Philadelphia / Columbus /Honolulu (tie)

SOURCE: Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association (HCEA), hcea.org

U.S. Exhibition Facts and Figures

Results from the 2012 CEIR Index Report (ceir.org), which takes into account net square footage, attendance, number of exhibitors, and total event gross revenue:

›› The industry grew (B) by 2.7 percent in 2011 (beating CEIR’s forecast of 2.4 percent from a year earlier).

›› Attendance grew (B) from 2.4 percent in 2010 to 3.4 percent last year.

›› The industry will end 2012(B) with 2.9 percent overall growth across the board, and even stronger growth is predicted in 2013 (3.2 percent) and 2014 (3.4 percent).

›› Exhibitions in some industry sectors experienced especially strong growth(B) in 2011, including those involving machinery (11.2 percent overall), communication and information technology (8.1 percent), and transportation (5.7 percent).

›› Shows involving building, construction and real estate (B)(which experienced a 5.3-percent decline in 2011) as well as finance and business services continue to lag behind.


For a video overview of the results presented at CEIR Predict on Sept.13 in New York City, visit convn.org/CEIR-Predict.


Technology Tools

Be on the lookout for these technology tools to become available and to grow in popularity in 2013:

›› Phablets — An amalgamation of smartphone and tablet, which serves as a communication and Internet device, available at a lower cost than a tablet and offering a larger screen than a smartphone.

›› Holographic display and infared keyboards - Which should help smartphone users type and interact with a much larger keyboard.

›› Near-field communications (NFC) - Now included in the iPhone 5, NFC technology allows commercial transactions to be done wirelessly through mobile devices without the need for data cards. The phone can be paired (placed next to another phone) or can tap products in order to transfer files, read product information, and finalize financial transactions. (See this month’s Working Smarter column here- pcma.org/they-had-us-at-hello)(LIN)

›› Voice assistants - Siri was just the beginning. It is expected that future incarnations will be better at interpreting human commands, able to provide map-related answers, and recall user contacts.

›› Sixth Sense technology - Ability to use gestures to manipulate all sorts of daily activities, read information from the Internet, and project information on any wall.

›› Wearable computing - A revamped iPod Nano, the Pebble watch project, and other similar tools will enable people to check their watch or a necklace regularly for messages from their friends instead of checking their smartphones.

›› Cloud computing - Trillions of dollars of IT spending are moving from data centers and software licenses to cloud services. Soon you’ll be able to read about companies with 10,000 employees who don’t have dedicated data centers.

SOURCES: convn.org/phablets and convn.org/forbes-tech

Email, Video, and Apps

The use of email declined last year for all age groups from 12- to 54-year-olds, with an increase only evident for the 55–64 and 65-plus age groups.

Video as a communication tool will become the standard, supported strongly by social channels. Mobile networks will be equipped to handle video calls, and Cisco claims that every endpoint they sell will be video-enabled by the end of 2013 - and that 85 percent of all Internet traffic in 2015 will be video. This means we will see an increase in video events and video collateral, and a more collaborative workforce.

›› There are nearly 500,000 apps to download and more than 10,000 new ones submitted every month, not including Android or any other platforms.

SOURCE: garethcase.wordpress.com

Smartphones and Tablets

‘The New Multi-Screen World’

Consumers are often switching between multiple screens during the day, with smartphones leading as a starting point for online activities, according to Google’s recent study “The New Multi-Screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consuming Behavior.” Among the findings:

›› Of the 66 percent of smartphone users who first accessed social media on their devices, 58 percent continued the experience on a laptop and 8 percent moved to a tablet for the same purpose.

›› Sixty-five percent of consumers begin a search on a smartphone, with 60 percent of users transitioning the task to a desktop and 4 percent moving to a tablet.

›› Other top online activities that begin on a smartphone include searching the web, shopping, managing finances, and watching an online video.

SOURCE: mobilemarketer.com

How Tablets Are Being Used

Web browsing: 92%

Reading emails: 81%

Using tablet applications: 77%

Watching videos: 66%

Reading newspapers, magazines: 64%

Reading books: 55%

Playing games: 50%

Researching tech products: 45%

Reading technology news: 44%

Reading white papers, case studies: 41%

SOURCE: IDG Global Solutions, idgknowledgehub.com

‘A Natural for Meetings and Trade Shows’

Meetings technology consultant and speaker Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, is enthusiastic about the potential for iPads and tablet computers at events: “The instant-on, intuitive interface with screens large enough to manage documents makes iPads and other tablet computers a natural for meetings and trade shows. They provide benefits for all parties involved: attendees (rich media, interactive conference programs, networking, and way-finding tools); exhibitors (for interactive kiosks, easier lead-exchange systems, appointment scheduling, and survey tools); hoteliers (an intuitive, portable sales tool); and meeting planners (paperless conference binders eliminating the need to carry around four-inch-thick, three-ring binders full of paper).”

In addition, Ball feels that “mobile technology will likely change events more in the next five years than technology has in the last 20 years. We are in the golden age of app adoptions for events. Very soon, if you do not have an app for an event, attendees will wonder why the event is so behind the times.”

SOURCE: corbinball.com

Smartphone Growth

›› By the end of 2013, 54 percent of all phones globally will be smartphones, research firm IHS has predicted, which is two years ahead of its previous predictions. Last year, smartphones comprised 35 percent of the global market. Falling prices and the emergence of low-end smartphones in Asia-Pacific - along with strong high-end sales in the United States and Europe - have fueled the growth of smartphones around the world, according to IHS.

›› By 2015, smartphone sales will reach 982 million, market intelligence firm IDC recently predicted, and according to Morgan Stanley, mobile web users will surpass traditional desktop Internet users by 2014. The airline industry is taking notice: A recent Airline IT Trends survey found that nine out of 10 airlines are planning to sell tickets via mobile by 2015.

›› Be on the lookout in 2013 for multi-screen services that allow you to seamlessly move from phone to tablet to computer to TV and back again, providing cloud-based syncing of content, experiences, and shopping carts, said Chris Blakely, vice president of client services for comScore.

›› According to Google
,14 percent of all searches come from mobile versus 7 percent from tablets and 79 percent from desktops. But watch out for rapid growth in tablets: While most tablet usage is currently occurring in the home, it is fast becoming a go-to device for business travelers. “It’s never been easier for people on the go to navigate a strange city and discover places, find merchants or a great meal while traveling,” Blakely said.

›› Online travel agency Orbitz reported that during the month of May this year, six million people used a mobile device to shop for travel, more than double during the same time in 2011. During the first quarter of the year, more than 9 percent of Orbitz hotel bookings were made via mobile devices.

SOURCES: eyefortravel.com and ihs.com

How Mobile Devices Are Being Used

Phone calls 94%

SMS 84%

Internet 69%

Social network 42%

Read tech news 29%

Mobile apps 59%

Video 31%

Visit tech vendor sites 23%

Email 69%

Games 32%

Read tech newsletters 27% SOURCE: IDG Global Solutions, idgknowledgehub.com

Smartphone Growth

41% curate photos and videos on the Internet

46% post original photos and videos online


Jim Spellos and Corbin Ball have created TechSpec, a set of two site-inspection checklists designed to help meeting planners measure and gauge technology during a hotel site inspection. Download the full version (Word doc) at convn.org/tech-spec.

The checklist is also available as a free app - Android and iPhone versions can be accessed at techspec.quickmobile.mobi.

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