OCT 2017

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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Page 13 of 67

⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ O C T O B E R 2 0 1 7 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 14 ANNUAL STATE OF THE INDUSTRY REPORT Today's conventions and trade shows are not your fathers' events. So much has changed, and event technology has been one of the most dominant change agents, driven mostly by the advent of metrics to measure trade show investment dollars. Consider the timeline on page 15, highlighting the development of vari- ous technologies at the core of many of today's event technologies. Now, event technologies that were not available 20 years ago, or if available, not widely-used, can be found at most major events. You'll see technologies ranging from mobile event management application software and beacon technology to LED displays, Wi-Fi solutions, and attendee engagement technol- ogies including audience response, charging stations, kiosks, e-literature software, digital signage and lead retrieval solutions. These technologies are serving many goals for event planners and their stakeholders (i.e., the spon- sors, exhibitors and attendees), ranging from increased engagement time, exhibitor return on investment (ROI), and value to attendees. Event technology allows event managers to streamline processes from pre-event commu- nications and registration to meeting rooms and post-event communications, as well as to capture data that was once difficult to capture. Sponsors and exhibitors are also leveraging event technology to capture data, engage prospects and advance their overall branding, marketing and sales goals. Event technologies are also contributing to the better good of all by supporting eco-friendly policies such as paperless processes. Clearly, there has been a significant transformation in events largely driven by sophisticated technologies. Let's take a closer look at the transformation and the top technologies that are driving events of the future. Then and Now Twenty years ago, it wasn't uncommon to see convention and trade show attendees saddled down with messenger bags or backpacks brimming with paper brochures and flyers covering everything from the event program to exhibitors' product promotional materials. Now, they may be likely to be carrying no bag at all and just their mobile devices which, in turn, contain digital information on the event, the sponsors, exhibitors and their respective products/services. In the past, gauging audience response for breakout sessions may have been done with pen and paper or scantron sheets and not mobile apps. Speakers used slide carousels to present their topics; not PowerPoint displays or videos. Barcode scanners were used to capture data versus today's sophisticated registration or lead retrieval software. As for the exhibit booths, large panels with static images and copy was the norm, sometimes accompanied by a computer showing a video on a loop or opened up to the exhibitor's website. Simply stated, while event technologies were once reserved for some of the more innovative, often technology-themed conventions and trade shows, they have since become a core component for events crossing over diverse industries, sizes and venues. Not surprising- ly, conferences targeting event planners such as EventTech, IAEE Expo Expo and IMEX America are often among the first to showcase and use leading-edge event technologies. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), during which major manufacturers launch their latest products, is another early adopter of advanced event technologies, but there are many others who routinely lead in this area. Clearly, the proliferation and rapid intro- TECHNOLOGY TRENDS That Will Drive Future Events By Robert Edwards

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