Q: How and in which direction will the Meeting industry change in the future?
The meeting industry is seeing significant change and much of that is driven by technology. Meeting planners have embraced technology as a way to work more efficiently and improve the event experience for attendees. Consequently we’re seeing a time of experimentation, as planners try everything from new registration systems, polling tools, RFID and NFC technologies, event apps, and countless other innovations. In the next few years we’re going to see the convergence of many of these tools into a single, seamless experience, the core of which will be mobile event apps. Apps that augment what’s happening in the physical world and bring together key services that help planners and attendees will come to dominate the market. We’ve only seen a tiny fraction of what mobile can do for the meetings industry

Q: Which innovations in your opinion will most influence the organisation of events?
We’ve seen technology improve meetings in areas such as planning, budgeting, ticketing, on-site check in, and other event functions. Unfortunately networking, the core value that events offer attendees, hasn’t changed much. Attendees still struggle to break the ice and make new connections, but that’s going to change very soon. We’ve already seen attempts to boost engagement, but these efforts haven’t been successful in a meaningful or scalable way. Very soon we’re going to start to see people rely on mobile solutions to initiate and manage new connections; events will become communities that survive long after the event is over. 

Q: What personally inspires you?
Convergence of technologies used in the event industry is inevitable, I’m inspired by the efficiencies and new opportunities this will create. Events are more important today than ever before, but the most successful events will engage attendees year round and become communities in the true sense of the word. Planners and attendees will benefit from these changes in a major way, and technology will power this transformation.

IN FOCUS - Michael Balyasny



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