Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

September 19 2016

This Technology Can Make Your Conference More Accessible To All Attendees

David McMillin


As the CEIR Predict Conference in Washington, DC wrapped up last week, I browsed through my notes and realized that the speakers were sending me home with loads of new ideas and new tools that can help members of the convention industry. One of the technologies that sticks out is Ai-Live.

Andrew Trabulsi, Research Manager at the California-based non-profit think tank Institute for the Future, highlighted Ai-Live’s ability to transform the conference experience for attendees who may be deaf or hard of hearing. Ai-Live is fairly simple; the company employs a team of remote transcriptionists who listen to the dialogue at a conference via Skype or a mobile phone and create real-time captions. The captions can be displayed on a projector or screen, or depending on your conference’s level of AV sophistication, attendees can read the captions on their individual tablets or smartphones.

SEE ALSO: How Accessible Is Your Meeting For Attendees With Disabilities?

Assisting International Attendees

In addition to helping attendees who face challenges hearing presenters, Ai-Live can play a powerful role helping attendees who do not speak English as their primary language and may have trouble understanding the discussion. Sure, they may be comfortable reading and writing in English, but processing 45 minutes of advanced-level insights surrounding new research can prove to be more difficult. Rather than feel lost in the conversation, these attendees may feel better with the ability to follow the captions.

SEE ALSO: How One Convention Speaks Seven Languages

Feeling Ai-Live’s Impact After The Live Experience

Trabulsi highlighted one powerful example of Ai-Live’s application after the event, too. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, an annual gathering of some of the most respected names in politics, business and science, organizers used natural language processing (NLP) to comb through Ai-Live’s transcriptions. “Natural language processing comprehends information similar to the way humans process it,” Trabulsi told the CEIR audience. So, rather than assign staff members to look through hundreds of pages of transcriptions, WEF organizers used NLP to identify the major themes of the conference: innovation, China, Euro Zone, emerging markets and automation.

Trabulsi sees this ability to determine which topics are resonating with attendees as a key piece of shaping future content decisions. In the era of 365-day engagement, other organizers can borrow inspiration from this approach. Not sure what kind of material most appeals to your audience? Wondering what kinds of tools and resources you should be focused on developing to help your members? Combining Ai-Live with NLP can help you answer these questions and shape a more robust conversation with your audience. “This is a great way to continue communication after the event,” Trabulsi said.

Interested in more technologies that can make an impact on your attendee experience? Check out “5 Next-Gen Technologies That Already Are Changing Meetings.”

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