Industry Content & Media

DEI Spotlight: Asking Alexa Thousands of Questions


After earning her DES, Janet Biddle used her digital expertise to bring the voice of Amazon’s Alexa to the on-site environment. Learn why Biddle is excited about the future of digital engagement.

Janet Biddle, DES

Janet Biddle believes the speed with which digital events and technology are advancing is impossible to ignore. And now, with the DES certification she earned in 2017 through a scholarship provided by Meetings + Conventions Calgary, she’s already helping her clients embrace the digital space. As Biddle continues to leverage her DES knowledge, PCMA caught up with her to understand her perspective on the powerful potential of digital engagement.

What’s one of your favorite digital success stories?
In December, I worked with the American Society of Hematology on implementing Amazon’s Alexa as an informational resource at their annual meeting. Over the course of the four-day meeting, participants asked Alexa almost 6,000 questions! This year, we are looking at the possibility of expanding the program to support additional languages and potentially even a video component.

How has the DES certification helped you?
As a third-party planner, knowing that I am up to date on the latest digital event offerings leaves me well-equipped to provide the best possible event solutions for my clients.

What are you most excited about in the digital space?
One area that I find particularly exciting and is augmented reality and virtual reality. Seeing what groups can do to share their message using a creative interactive approach that engages with their attendees in a new and interesting way fascinates me.

What do you think are the greatest opportunities in the digital space?
The interesting question for me is how exactly will we marry digital and in-person events. I try to remember that the ability to connect in-person with colleagues and share ideas isn’t threatened by the growth of digital events; it is enhanced. Determining the precise balance to strike between the two naturally will vary by organization, but my goal would be for attendees to never be far from a digital event component even while in person at an event. By reminding in-person attendees of the meeting’s digital presence, we make it easier for them to engage with us on every possible platform.

It won’t be long before other organizations follow the American Society of Hematology’s lead. Click here to learn how Alexa and voice-recognition technology will reshape the relationships between associations and their members.

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