Challenging event technology

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Two years from now we could be facing an entirely different industry, says Maria Schuett, marketing manager at Central Hall Westminster, considering the pace of technology driving this progress. “There’s more technology available than ever before and yet it seems engagement is still a real issue,” says Schuett. “Looking at research and talking to organisers, the reluctant acceptance of new technology and low delegates engagement is just one of many challenges faced by event managers.” Following the organisation’s 2014 ‘Event Technologies Explored’ campaign, Central Hall Westminster has launched a new campaign ‘Event Technologies Explored’ - focused on the challenges of effectively improving event experience through technology. “The new campaign encourages planners to step forward and air their views so that, as an industry, we can explore solutions. ‘Technology isn’t going to disappear and delegates have vastly different expectations today compared to ten years ago, so we need to develop realistic ways of meeting these expectations,” says Schuett. Central Hall Westminster’s call to action follows the findings of a recent survey by multi-channel events provider Mediamaker, into the views and behaviours of UK corporate event delegates (see findings on the right). “Bringing the delegate experience at the heart of our conversation, the campaign is aiming to find solutions to overcome these challenges and barriers through an open debate, shared practice and industry advice.” Created in early 2013, when technical advancements had started to shape the events industry, the first campaign looked at the vast array of technologies available on the market and took event organisers on an ‘adventure’ to physically experience the future of event technology from a delegate’s perspective. “A series of hybrid events culminated in an interactive tech conference, which set an example for many other tech events to follow in 2014. “We are now going to be running a series of events (both online and live), sharing social media content and shared best practice to encourage event organisers to delve deeper address any issues in implementing these for maximum effectiveness.” The first event of the campaign will be an interactive hybrid event on 5 February 2015, involving a panel of experts, planners and an online audience with an open discussion about delegate engagement at events. Schuett says the aim to provide a platform for constructive debate that benefits both suppliers and organisers. “For the near future, I am hoping to see more inclusive technology that works across platforms to very little or no cost to the organiser,” says Schuett. “The field of fragmented technology can become an organisational nightmare and the questions of smooth interfaces will become a pressing matter.”  This article was first published in the December issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne
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