Home' micenet eMag : micenet December 2018 Contents EXPLORING
Fast Future CEO, Rohit Talwar, provides five points on future tech.
Q. What, in your opinion, will be the top
three most disruptive technologies in the year
ahead, and how might these impact the
A. Artificial Intelligence. We will see far
more use of artificial intelligence (AI) across a
range of industries and applications will
emerge in the meetings sector. The
technology will help with things like trawling
for popular topics and emerging issues for
conference content, through to identifying
and targeting potential attendees who fit the
ideal candidate profile. We’ll see AI being
used for customer service chatbots, and in
performing detailed multi-parameter
evaluations of bids from different possible
locations and venues for an event. Within
events, AI in meetings apps can help with
better matchmaking between attendees, and
in searching for and providing relevant
content to presentations – and also fact
checking claims made by speakers.
Immersive Technologies. We’ll see far
greater use of technologies that enhance the
multi-sensory immersive experience at
events. We have grown used to seeing fun
and engaging demonstrations with
augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)
in the exhibition area. In the near future, we’ll see entire workshop sessions or even plenaries
where the technology is used to create a more immersive experience for some or part of the
session. The aim will be to shift meetings and conferences from events where delegates are
“spoken at” to more participative and engaging experiences that allow delegates to go deeper
into the exploration of a scenario or issue.
Internet of Things. Growing use will be made of sensors, cameras, and tracking devices to
monitor flows around an event and to provide deeper information to exhibitors about the visitors
to their stands and what they spent time looking at. Effectively, we’ll see an Internet of Things
(IoT) emerging within events – with lots of questions about the extent to which people are willing
to be tracked and the rewards they will receive for agreeing to such monitoring.
Q. How can the events industry help shape or influence this future?
A. We see an accelerating pace of disruption, increasing complexity, and growing
uncertainty to be at the root of many issues that businesses and organisations are addressing
today and will continue to face in the emerging future. Events remain one of the most universally
powerful ways of helping people learn about these changes, hear how others are responding,
and explore the implications with their peers.
Exponential technology developments and the resulting disruptions they cause will create
new challenges and opportunities for innovative business solutions. There will be tremendous
potential benefits to be gained by those events that can tap into these drivers of disruption,
provide choice and personalisation for how and when delegates can participate, and help
people make sense of the resulting skills, challenges and opportunities for their sector. As
wicked problems become the norm, and tame problems the exception, events need to think
about how they are adapting their design to help participants understand the challenges and
craft well-thought out solutions.
With a growing array of event options and online alternatives, proving the value and
relevance of our events will never have been more important. Increasingly, organisations are
beginning to grasp that the future may look very different to the present, hence the growing
interest in “future proofing”. This in turn is driving event owners to ensure they have genuinely
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forward-looking content and experiences that challenge participants, stretch their thinking, and
open the door to new possibilities.
perspective. For example, on the one hand, confusion over Brexit may lead some
organisations to postpone meeting plans while staff focus on the practicalities of the UK
decoupling from the European Union. However, there will also be a massive growth in events
focused on helping different sectors make sense of Brexit and determine the actions to take.
The challenge is to have forward thinking people in the business who are looking at the issues
on the horizon, and determining the potential impacts and opportunities that could arise –
acting pre-emptively to create solutions rather responding to a crisis or rushing to respond to
an opportunity when they emerge.
changes taking place or emerging today across society to understand what they might mean for
the meetings sector. The next is to allocate some dedicated time to explore the longer term
future. This means, for example, looking at the meeting needs and expectations of emerging
generations. This also means looking at how the exponential technology developments we are
already starting to see could impact our sector and society over the coming five, 10, 15, or 20
years. As a key component of leading in a time of disruption, futures thinking plays a critical role
in helping leaders and organisations come to terms with the nature of a rapidly evolving world.
Carson White has spent more than 20 years in the world of professional speakers – 18 as a
speakers’ bureau consultant at ICMI and the last two now with his own speaker management
business, Leading Voice.
“I’ve learnt speakers are always looking for new ways to market and promote who they are and
what they do,” he explains.
“The difficulty many speakers have is the ability to try and convey via a speaker profile, website
or video what it is they do and why the audience will benefit from hearing them speak.
“I was listening to a podcast one day and the thought occurred to me that this would be a great
medium for speakers to share their stories through. I did a search and couldn’t see any
podcasts in Australia or overseas dedicated to understanding professional speaker’s content
and also what they can deliver for clients at conferences and events.”
Carson wanted to ensure the podcast obviously had a professional feel and approached
Michael Pope to host it with him. Michael is a long-time industry professional and is recognised
as one of Australia’s top corporate MCs. He had also created his own successful podcast,
interviewing some of Australia’s most notable celebrity entertainers. Michael jumped at the
chance and very quickly ‘Our Next Guest Is...’ was created.
The podcast has a clear purpose: to help make the decision easier for anyone who books
to our advantage in order to ensure a very
expectation that technology will automate
roles and jobs and replace people – this may
not be so apparent in the events sector. In a
highly service oriented sector such as
meetings and events, technologies such as
AI will provide power tools to help in the
design, marketing, and management of
events. This should hopefully free up staff
time for customer facing activities. The
success of the sector depends on the
quality of service combined with the
capacity to understand and respond to the
meeting and event needs of the
marketplace. This requires human
relationships, research, quality dialogues,
and time invested to create the best
possible event design – all of which suggest
a very human future for the sector. m
Rohit Talwar was a keynote speaker at this
year’s PCOA conference in Melbourne.
professional speakers. Over a friendly
conversational-style chat, Michael and
Carson talk to some of Australia’s most
fascinating professional speakers to help
speaker bookers get a deeper insight into
who they are and what they speak on.
“What’s been really great so far is the
feedback we have had from the speakers we
“We have 14 episodes already recorded
and ready to go in the first season with
some notable names including David Koch,
James O’Loghlin, Rachael Robertson, Tom
O’Toole, Robyn Moore and Adam Elliot to
name a few.”
To subscribe and listen to Our Next Guest Is...
OUR NEXT GUEST IS... PODCAST
Speaker manager Carson White (left) and top
corporate MC, Michael Pope (right), have launched
a new podcast aimed at helping in the often tricky
area of event speaker selection.
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