How tech will drive the business events industry

By: Fast Future

Date: 21 February 2018

How tech will drive the business events industryTechnological change is already having a significant impact on the meeting and events industry. And there is more to come. Here are some developments that could well become major trends within five years.

Smarter by design

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the sector will expand quite rapidly - from designing agendas, setting prices, and targeting potential attendees through to customer service chatbots, determining best-fit locations, matchmaking people at events, and providing back-up content and fact checking of presentations.

Charging model experimentation

There will be a growing pressure to bring greater creativity to bear when it comes to attendee payments for events. From fees based on perceived value to seat auctions, pay-per-session and results-based charging, the sector will explore new charging models.

Remote attendance

Conference speakers will use microphones connected to their own smartphone so the talk can be broadcast. Virtual 'attendees' will be able to view presentation slides and hear the speaker via their own device and headphones.

Next-gen meeting scheduling

Intelligent assistants (IAs) on our phones, or on meeting apps, will book appointments and meeting locations for us based on the types of people we say we want to meet. The IA will scan potential attendees, find the people who fit the criteria we've defined, and then contact their IA to request and set up meetings.

Thinking hubs

Meeting venues will have interactive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) to will allow participants to visualize data or ideas developed in a workshop session in a tangible way. Participants will be able to test different ideas in VR/AR software and compare their possible outcomes to make better decisions.

Digital twins

Early adopters of technology could soon be able to send a digital stand-in to attend face-to-face conferences. The participant’s digital twin would be a software incarnation of the person embodied (or not) by a hologram or device that can see, hear, and observe the event in real time. The digital twin could engage with other participants in virtual spaces or on social media during the event.

Robot realms

Events will make greater use of robots as mobile customer service assistants, kitchen staff, baristas, waiting staff, security guards, and porters. We’ll also see more robots featuring in presentations, and even delivering them. Within facilities we might see drones capturing videos of the sessions, transporting goods, and even moving people between sessions.

Circular economies and zero waste

The meetings and conference industry will take greater action to alleviate food, energy, and water waste. Events and meetings that put into practice the principles of circular economies and zero waste, and philosophies that encourage reuse and discourage overconsumption, might have a powerful role to play in the future where natural resources, even food, could be in short supply.

Brain and body enhancements

From nootropic attention-stimulating drugs and supplements to body-strengthening exoskeletons and genetic modification, the sci-fi notion of 'bodyhacking' is becoming a reality. Within the next five years, various forms of biotech implants could become more widespread, giving some individuals enhanced hearing, vision, or memory - and events planners will increasingly need to consider the needs of these visitors.


With the rising profile of digital currencies such as Bitcoin, the next five years could require the meetings sector to adapt to customers interested in paying with cryptocurrencies. Being prepared to accept payments via digital currency would be an important step; there may also be new risks at hand when handling and processing anonymous payments.

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