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The technologies that are shaping the Conference and Tradeshow industry right now are social media, mobility, and video, in that order. There is a fourth catalyst, that I’Il call “wicked problem solving” that is still in its infancy, with several leading corporations driving a breakthough there.
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The social media is clearly well developed in the Event Industry. Each conference now has a hashtag in Twitter, the participants are sharing LinkedIn profiles more than business cards, and sophisticated CRM systems bring a mashup for a lead visiting a booth from Google searches, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn in a second. If your event does not have a hashtag, a Facebook profile, and a social media consultant seeding the conversations and reporting in the Tweetspace, read on our BootCamp. Even if you’re doing all this, maybe you’ll find a nugget or two on that article. it is Part 2 of our Zwoor BootCamp – Social Media for Tradeshows and Conferences.
Mobile Technology is catching up. Mobile devices become the tools of engagement at these events, and level the field for all – extroverts and introverts alike, well connected or first timers.
It is now socially acceptable for someone to tweet twenty times during a conference, follow, annotate and forward materials during the presentations, rate and send comments real time to the speaker. Sophisticated algorithms match your interests, the agenda topics you attend, and suggest other sessions, booth to visit, people to meet.
Video technology is the third in the maturity curve. Convention centers are still the places to be for the events, and we are still a few years away from split locations, or remote participation, in a large scale. However, if we look at what the leading corporations are experimenting with for their Corporate meetings, is a strong indications of the changes to come. Remote speakers invited to deliver a keynote to a General Managers event, CEO webcasts to tens of thousands of employees, Monday morning Board meetings enhanced by business intelligence data are just a few example on where the industry goes.
And fourth, the least developed component of the ingredients for change: Innovation management. My prediction: The events of the future will no longer centered around a location, and a fixed agenda, but mostly on creating connections, sharing expertise and solving wicked problems. If you have not yet witnessed a “hackathon” or “startup in a weekend”, make sure you go to one and observe it very closely. Focused efforts, with clear rewards, with clear themes si what you will see. The Adhocracy that Alvin Toffler spoke on 1980 will develop more and more, and new collaboration tools will emerge.