What’s Next for Events?

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Confex Future Focus celebrates the business events industry as it launches in Manchester.

Confex Future Focus put a spotlight on the future of the events industry as it launched last week in Manchester, England.

Held at the iconic Victoria Warehouse, Mash Media’s 4-5 July event sought to offer organisers, agencies, and event planners thought-provoking educational seminars and debates. Also on the agenda was an opportunity to build business relationships and extend industry connections through networking and meeting exhibitors on the show floor.

Marcie Incarico, owner and managing director of Out There Events, wanted to draw attention to Manchester as an event location, explaining that when it comes to planning an event, the city is large and less expensive when compared to London and therefore able to create a bigger extravaganza experience. That’s a sentiment echoed in the February 2018 Communique feature highlighting the rise of midsize cities.

Given this growing global interest in less-prominent destinations, it’s perhaps not surprising that a panel debating “What does the North have to offer for events?” proved to be popular. It was presented by Incarico, Thom Hetherington of the Northern Restaurant and Bar show, and Nelson Beaumont-Laurencia of the Manchester Business Improvement District. The case was made for opportunities for global events across the U.K.’s so-called Northern Powerhouse, which refers to the collective economic might of cities in the north of England, particularly Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull, and Newcastle. Confex Future Focus was seen as a great opportunity for Manchester to enhance its destination brand.

Interactive technology could be found all around the show, including Eventologists’ mirrored infinity portal at the entrance, GuineaPig Global’s playroom, Musion Events’ EyeCandy holograms, Polestar Productions’ projection mapping, and WRG Live’s virtual reality demonstration.

On display throughout the show were a range of technology demonstrations including LED installations, a virtual aquarium, cave projection technology, and a networking space with a host of technological inspirations.

Programme sessions included:

  • Top event tech trends — a look at developing technologies and future disruptors of the industry.
  • How to introduce immersive tech into your events — suggesting real-life applications for new technologies such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
  • Apps that add value without losing the human touch — uncovering free apps and software that can help streamline processes, deliver results, and achieve high ROI.
  • The agency model of tomorrow — considering the future of experiential, as advertising, media, and PR agencies also look to capitalise on its potential.
  • The value of the live experience — considering the high value millennials place on experiences, this session looked at how leading brands are creating physical spaces in which to engage with consumers.

Mash Media’s Simon Farnfield said: “We launched this event off the back of many successful years with International Confex, so wanted to create a sister offering outside London, to champion the incredible suppliers, quality event delivery, and look to the future of the industry. I … look forward to planning its next instalment.”

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