’The Event-Industry Adaptations Are Coming Fast and Furious’

Technology journalist Michelle Bruno shares what — in addition to AI — planners should keep their eye on in Convene’s annual Events Industry Forecast.

Author: Barbara Palmer       

badge scanning stations

Our expert believes self-service technologies — including more kiosks performing a wider range of tasks at events — is one trend events should watch. (Whatever Media Group)

As part of our annual Events Industry Forecast — which will be published in the November issue of Convene — we asked experts about the trends they are watching for 2024. Here’s what technology journalist Michelle Bruno, MPC, CEM, CMP, senior strategist at event technology company DAHLIA+Agency, had to say about tech trends.

Michelle Bruno

Michelle Bruno

What one event technology trend do you predict will have a big impact on business events?

With few exceptions, most event technology is an adaptation of technology innovation that occurs first outside the event sector. Artificial intelligence is the single, hottest, forward-looking technology development outside the event industry now and the event-industry adaptations are coming fast and furious, including:

  • Digital platforms — those that incorporated AI before the last 12 months and those that did not have just been gifted superpowers.
  • Data crunching and analytics — I’ve seen recent gains in uncovering data from new sources, such as how audiences are engaging with and feeling about the presentations they are viewing, and analytics, addressing the problem of what actions to take based on the mountains of data that continue to accumulate.
  • Content discovery — finding best-fit content and revisiting specific data points from your archives, rather than wading through whole videos.

The impact this is having on business events now is in the early stages — however, it should lead to higher customer satisfaction and net promoter scores. Who isn’t happier when they can get more and better information and make more and deeper human connections, by meeting the right people faster and with less effort?

AI will ultimately permit event organizers to learn more specific information about stakeholders and use it to deliver more personalized experiences. And the sky’s the limit — from attendee birthday greetings at check-in to personalized event agendas to impromptu birds-of-a-feather meet-ups.

AI will also help event stakeholders make better decisions about what services to provide, what features to present, what events to attend, what events to sponsor, and how to derive the most value from an event based on the parameters and frameworks they select.

Is there an important trend that you think is flying under the radar?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the general trend toward self-service technologies, in light of labor shortages, rising costs, and consumer demand for more control over — and greater access to — the products and services they want. It’s a path that’s leading events toward more automation, too. Self-service could manifest in events with more powerful mobile apps, more kiosks that perform a broader range of tasks on the show floor, more chatbots to answer specific questions and get personalized answers, as well more robots for behind-the-scenes jobs. The impact would be lower costs, less error, and more time for planners to design better experiences and attendees to enjoy them.

Barbara Palmer is deputy editor of Convene.

Events Industry Forecast

This story is from the November 2023 issue of Convene and is part of our annual Events Industry Forecast, Find more stories from the issue below:

Become a Member

Get premium access to provocative executive-level education, face-to-face networking and business intelligence.