What Does TR Have to Do With the Future of Events?


Padraic Gilligan, managing partner at Dublin–based event consultancy SoolNua, hosted The Event of the Future, so he knows more than most about how technology could affect events. What does he have to say about last July’s gathering and technology’s impact on face-to-face meetings?

“The Event of the Future was an attempt to understand the effects of being in an industry that is evolving at a very, very fast pace,” Gilligan told PCMA Convene Editor-in-Chief  Michelle Russell in an interview after the event.

“It’s as if we’re witnessing something that normally takes thousands of years and we’re seeing all that change happen within our own lifetime. I think that’s quite an extraordinary thing. There will be more and more technology in the future, but at the same time, the more technologically advanced we become, the more we rely on tactile reassurance ­— real time, real person meetings, TR for short.”

In a post on his Padracino blog, Gilligan wrote that tactile reassurance could be attributed to a Monocle magazine writer who was speculating on the growth of artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

“His point was the more technology insinuates itself into our lives, the more we’ll crave the human touch — hence Tactile Reassurance,” Gilligan wrote about the Monocle writer. “And of course, Tactile Reassurance is at the very heart of  business events. As an industry, we talk about tech all the time and speculate how it will shape the future of our industry but our MO is all about real people, real places, real time.”

In his interview with Russell, he said that sentiment was echoed by all the speakers at The Event of the Future as the “quintessential value that a meeting or an event brings.”

He added that “all the technological innovations were presented as nothing more than an additional means to connect people to each other and to the content that they came to consume.”

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