Tips for conference planners: Make good use of event technology
Not just gimmickry!
Although some technology makes real meetings appear superfluous, it will probably never fully take the place of conferences and conventions – but it is a useful add-on and gives a cutting-edge feel.
Some people have predicted that conferences and conventions will soon be replaced by modern communications technology, but they couldn't be more wrong. Quickly organised webinars, web 2.0 video conferences via Skype etc. and web-based presentations with just-in-time interactions between speaker and audience may well make life easier for many global companies – and they are by far the fastest, most cost-effective ways of getting participants round the table – but as yet, they cannot replace events. Although they complement them and make useful add-ons, there is no replacement for meeting face to face.
However, if a keynote speaker is unable to fly halfway round the world for a 60-minute speech, why not include him by live video link? Why spend money on printing and postage when everyone has an email address nowadays? Why not use online tools for the registration process or send email updates for delegates who have already registered? Why resist the interactivity – and the promotional benefits – of social-media platforms when most people use at least one of these networks today?
In short, the latest event technology brings your conference or convention up to date – without descending into gimmickry. Presentations incorporating live links, interactive supporting websites, an event app or SMS updates about last-minute changes are now quite 'normal' options for making wise use of new technologies to add to the appeal of an event.