APR 2018

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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A P R I L 2 0 1 8 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 15 CORPORATE MEETINGS In addition, planners are using live broad- casting to offer attendees virtual attendance. Jerome Bruce, CAE, CMM, CMP, CEM, director of meetings and exhibits for the Alexandria, Va.- based Association of Government Accountants (AGA), said, "We offer a virtual option to attend our meetings for people who are unable to travel or have travel budget restrictions. Virtual attendees can view the sessions live and receive continuing education credits. Virtual attendees are able to post questions in each session and participate in polling and discussions in real time via chat rooms." Bruce also mentioned the benefit for attendees who come to the events. "In-person and virtual- option attendees have access to on-demand recordings of the sessions for up to one year after the event at no additional cost. No need to rearrange your schedule to view a particular session; access the recording at your leisure," said Bruce. Incorporating technology in ways that will enhance the event is important in 2018. Bruce uses Social Q&A to give the attendees an anonymous forum that helps promote interaction. "We're using an audience response system (Social Q&A) to engage attendees," he said. "Attendees can ask and up-vote questions through the app. All questions are submitted anonymously. Converting attendees to participants, asking and voting questions, and participating in polling engages attendees with the speakers and session. Effective learning happens when attendees are participating and engaged." Amped-Up Security In the age of mass shootings and cyber attacks, security is one of the most important trends for 2018. Antonio Revilla, founder of O&R Protective Services in Glendale, Calif., a national leader in complex event security projects and an AS Solution company, along with Christian West, founder and CEO of AS Solution in Bellevue, Wash., discussed top security trends. Highlighting CES 2018, the largest trade show in the U.S. held in Las Vegas, they offered security tips to planners for their events. "Event planners and CSOs will want to make sure that security providers can provide robust proof of how they will protect highly valuable physical assets," West said. "From build-up to tear-down and everywhere in between. Maintaining a friendly and open guest experience, while at the same time protecting against everything from simple theft to sophisticated industrial espionage, is a challenge for all of us working in event security." When discussing security with Revilla, he said, "AS Solution's primary job and primary day-in, day-out security is for the executive himself. We intertwine an executive protection team with a corporate event security team. We have embedded people in all our big client events because it made a lot of sense." Security has changed along with the growth of events, according to Revilla. "The one thing that has happened in the last two years is the parameter of the event has grown," he said. "Now we're worried about softer targets as well as security within the event. We are watching them from the time they enter the parking lot. We have to have a better view of the overall event from the time of the load in to the load out." Jessie States, CMM, manager of professional development at Meeting Professionals International based in Dallas, said security is something that every planner needs to incorporate. "Less than half of meeting professionals have a true safety and security plan for their meetings and events, and many of those are static strategies that organizations copy-paste from one event to the next," she said. "If this was ever a tenable approach, it can't be anymore. Meeting professionals must treat their safety and security plans as living documents that change based not only on destination and venue but on event type, content, speakers, audience makeup and size, stakeholders, media coverage and likely threats. "Recent events in North America and Europe have raised the profile of some threat types— active shooters, vehicular violence, stampedes, protests—and meeting professionals, if they have not already done so, will be adding these to the list of threats they prepare for. Meeting professionals are now working much more closely with their internal IT teams as well as outside consultants and agencies to combat the growing number of cyber threats—from mal- and ransomware to botnets, fishing and data breaches. Cyber insurance has become one of a number of line items organizations are adding to their safety and security processes." n CWT's Top 5 Tech Advances The CWT 2018 Meetings & Events Future Trends report gets to the heart of current corporate event planning and one of the major focuses is on using advanced technology to engage attendees. Check out these top five app advances from CWT that will help you take your meetings to the next level: 1. Artificial Intelligence: Getting insights about attendees' social media interaction and habits 2. Virtual Reality: Providing a much more immersive experience 3. Chatbots and Concierge: Delivering information quickly and efficiently 4. Matchmaking: Drawing data from multiple sources to create a detailed picture of each attendee 5. Social Extension: Capturing qualitative data about the event and providing a forum to speak about the event n Virtural attendance is an option for people who are unable to attend the meeting. 5 Walden Kirsch/Intel Corporation

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