For a look at how technology is shaping the meetings industry, one need look no further than IMEX America, taking place this month at the Sands Expo and Convention Center at The Venetian and The Palazzo, in Las Vegas. In its effort to make networking more effective, IMEX Group, which organizes the show, has partnered with technology company Zenvoy, using its intelligent one-on-one business introduction service. The offering draws on profile data supplied by the show's hosted buyers and exhibitors to facilitate face-to-face meetings (during coffee breaks and before and after formal appointment times already scheduled between buyers and exhibitors) most likely to deliver business opportunities for both.
"Last year at IMEX America we heard from buyers that they wanted even more opportunities to connect with their like-minded peers -- a must-have to stay ahead of the curve and relevant in today's constantly evolving business environment," says Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX Group. "We saw technology as one way to help us turn up the heat on this," she says. After test-driving Zenvoy at IMEX Frankfurt this spring, IMEX Group "found it to be a really effective and easy way to take the guesswork out of meeting the right, new people based on shared interests."
Networking is not the only area of meetings and events where technology is "turning up the heat." In a wide range of functions, from A/V to attendee engagement to event management, technology is not so much reinventing how meetings are run, as it is supercharging what's already working -- and adding value for planners, attendees, sponsors, and others.
Gathering insights about attendees, such as what they most responded to and what they would like to see more of, has moved beyond post-event surveys. Almost every participant is now carrying a smartphone or tablet, posting on social media, or using his or her browser to learn more about a topic or individual he or she encountered at the event. So event technology firms are finding ways to capture this data and use it to enhance the live meeting.
"We're instrumenting thousands upon thousands of real, live human attendees at events," says Lawrence Coburn, CEO of event app developer DoubleDutch. "By analyzing the patterns with which they navigate shows, the content they like, and the connections they make, we're better able to write algorithms that can make recommendations to attendees about which breakout sessions they should attend and which fellow attendees they should meet."