Jim Spellos,Owner of Meeting U., recently spoke to Michael Pinchera, Editor of The Meeting Professional about future technology trends and challenges for both meetings and their planners. Below is a synopsis of the article, along with a few definitions and my own thoughts about what Jim had to say.

3 Tech Trends That Are Evolving

Spellos believes,when event planning, you should be on the lookout for the following technologies:

  • Augmented Reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.Here is a brief video from The Wall Street Journal demonstrating how AR works:

    When event planning, AR apps can be used in conjunction with iPad rentals or other mobile devices. I can see them being utilized when an attendee scans a photo of a speaker’s face and the app will launch into a brief video about that presenter’s topic. It can be used to enhance sponsorships or with trade show technology to drive attendees to your exhibitor’s booth.

  • Geofencing is location-based mobile service that lets you, your exhibitors and sponsors send messages to an attendee’s smartphone when they enter a defined geographic area.In the meeting industry, this app can be used to engage attendees. Speakers, sponsors and exhibitors can send messages, promotions and invitations to attendees when they enter a specific region.

    “All you need is an app and GPS coordinates,” said Tony Costa, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research, to CIO magazine.

  • Mobile Devices are small, handheld computing devices, that typically having a touch screen and weigh less than 2 pounds.In the meeting industry, you are usually talking about iPad rentals or tablet rentals. With the addition of wearable technology, including Smartwatches and Google Glass, mobile devices will continue to grow in acceptance and popularity with attendees.

    However, as a planner, you need to be aware of event WiFi solutions. Due to weak antennas on most tablets and wearable devices, you will need more access points and many times the venue will not be able to provide you with the bandwidth or the access to run your meeting efficiently.

Meeting Planners Greatest Challenges

Spellos stated planners have many challenges, which include:

  • Keeping up with changes. It is important that you know what your tech options are and how they can save your organization time and/or money.
  • Making sure technology is supporting the goals and objectives of the meeting.
  • Feeling you are always behind. Technology usage can be overwhelming; solicit the use of mentors and peer groups to help you make the best decision for the organization.

“There’s a fine line in today’s tech workplace between patience and being ‘behind the times,’ and that puts everyone, not just planners in an awkward acceptance cycle,” Spellos stated.

What Planners Should Do

Spellos said you should:

  • Educate yourself about the above trends and continue to be open to new technology options. 
  • Push past your own comfort zone. 
  • Don’t abandon the technology if it isn’t adapted right away; give it some time. 

Contact SmartSource Rentals at 800.888.8686 to request a technology rental quote today!