New Meetings Innovation Trends Highlighted with EIBTM’s 2012 Technology Watch

©2012 Corbin Ball, Chair of the EIBTM Technology Watch Judging Committee

The EIBTM Technology Watch is the most significant and longest running technology award for the meetings industry. The goals are to recognize technology innovation and to highlight significant trends impacting meeting planners, attendees and exhibitors at events.

The winner and five honorable mentions for were selected from a tie-breaking record 56 applications. Six judges with experience in the meetings industry and technology but not currently selling any technology product scored the entries based on innovation, completeness of concept, and the value to the meetings industry.

The companies selected highlight several paths of technology innovation including the impact of video, event content curation/distribution, electronic course note/presentation file distribution, gamification, HTML5, indoor positioning and mobile matchmaking.

EIBTM TechWatch 2012 Winner: BOBtv
This year’s EIBTM Technology Watch award winner for meetings technology innovation goes to BOBtv from bXb Online, a global online event platform designed specifically for events and associations. It is a standardized way of making event content available to remote attendees either live or on-demand. Endorsed by major meeting industry associations such as PCMA, ASAE and IAEE, this vendor-agnostic platform will curate event content and make it readily available to potentially a much larger global audience.

The judging committee felt that two significant trends were shown in this entry: the move toward video as an event communication vehicle and the increasing ability to provide event content remotely for hybrid meetings. In essence, BOBtv, or similar technology, has the ability to become the moderated “YouTube” channel for event communication.

Honorable Mentions:
Additionally, five finalists were included by the judging committee honorable mention pointing to additional significant technology trends:

ATIV Software’s EventPilot is very robust interactive conference program/show guide mobile app built for large, complex scientific meetings with thousands of presentations and poster sessions. Provided in multiple native platforms including iPad, tablets and phones, it has a host of features to improve the attendees’ experience including a complete and searchable conference schedule,  personalized agenda builder, rich social media integration, mapping, networking, QR code integration, and sponsorship advertising opportunities. Similar features are found with a number of event apps.

The differentiator is the ability to for the attendees to read and take notes on presentation slides during the presentation. Similar capabilities can be found with posters and other documents. The presentation slides with notes then can be emailed to the user or other interested parties. This ability to attendees to see and take notes on presenter slides increases retention of the material and bridges a significant gap where events have gone paperless and no longer provide presenter notes in paper form.

MERA Labs NiceMeeting also provides presentation slides to attendees electronically with some additional features. The product turns attendee’s mobile devices, such as iPad, iPhone, Android tablet as well as notebook computers, into a full-featured personal presentation slide display units by enabling real-time presentation screen mirroring, chats, polling and files exchange between delegates. Speakers can use personal iPads and other devices to manage presentation, get questions from the audience and do polling. Event organizers can place sponsor’s adds in the service interface and grow their earnings from sponsorship.

Unlike EventPilot, NiceMeeting operates as a service rather than an app using local WiFi networks.

EventMobi is included for honorable mention for their pioneering work using HTML5 to produce rich, multipurpose apps for event attendees. With a few limitations, HTML5 is a simpler, faster and cheaper development app development model compared to building native apps and is reflected in lower costs and faster turnaround time.

EventMobi Fusion is the industry’s first ever event app that works across all devices and continues to function without an internet connection, allowing attendees to access their event app whenever and wherever without worrying about an unreliable internet connection.

Also recognized as part of EventMobi’s effort is their GamifyApp which consists of three different games, each designed to help meet different event objectives. They include Scavenger Hunt used to enhance team-building, Session+ used to enhance the educational experience at sessions, and Expo Game used to drive traffic to exhibitor booths. The use of mobile games to engage attendees, enrich the event experience and increase attendee retention is felt by the judging committee to be a very important trend. GamifyApp is one of the best examples on how this can be implemented for events.

Zerista is yet another multi-featured event app and web platform including attendee information, conference agenda, interactive mapping, surveys, social networks, exhibitor collateral, and matchmaking tags.

What stood out was Zerista’s very strong match making and social media integration. Included are:

  • Hyper relevant personalization and matchmaking for attendees.
  • Personalized Digital collateral libraries for session content, multimedia offerings, and exhibitor marketing documents
  • Automatic qualified lead generation and sales intelligence data for CRM systems for exhibitors.

Sherpa has consistently been an innovator for the meetings and tradeshow industries. A past winner of the EIBTM Technology Watch, Sherpa’s entries this year included three important advances.

WaveLocator is a unique indoor positioning system using ultrasound. Since GPS does not work indoors, and Wi-Fi-based systems can’t work on the iPhone, Sherpa came up with a new twist. Combined with ActivTouch, Sherpa’s mobile app, the microphone of the user’s SmartPhone receives specific codes used to help attendees to quickly identify their current location in the venue and map routes to discover different events, products, or exhibitors. Even better, users can quickly locate their friends and business acquaintances. WaveLocator, thanks to its quick set-up and accessibility via many types of mobile devices may be the best option for precise geolocation for events.
ActiveMetrics, is a unique attendance measurement system using the Wi-Fi signals transmitted by the attendees’s smartphones to generate heat maps to determine traffic patterns within an exhibit hall or meeting venue at a lower cost and more efficiently that previous methods of determining traffic flow.

Finally, Sherpa’s new version of their robust convention and exhibit guide apps (and winner of the 2010 WWTW Award) — ActivTouch V2, shows significant refinements from their previous version including advanced analytics, new customization options, and several new key modules like SmartReview, SmartRoute and ActivContact, all designed to help attendees better prepare their participation, manage their time on site and meet their business contacts.

This year’s tie for record number of entries:
The large number of entries (56 entries) points to the vitality of the meetings and trade show industries and how technology is increasingly used to improve the way events are managed.

Technology trends highlighted:
A number of trends were highlighted in analyzing the entirety of entries. As in the past year, mobile technology innovation was dominant (15 entries or 26% of all entries had a strong mobile component. Other trends include: Lead exchange/OR codes  (12%) eRFP/sourcing (11%), social media/matchmaking (9%), room diagramming/floor plans (9%), gaming (9%), registration and/or abstract management (7%),.document distribution (7%), and virtual events/tradeshows (5%).

About the WWTW Judging Committee:
Chair: Corbin Ball, CEO, Corbin Ball Associates
Michelle Bruno, President, Bruno Group Signature Events
Ruud Janssen, CMM, CEO, TNOC | The New Objective Collective
Paul Hussey, Business Development Director, BSI Meetings and Events
Bruce MacMillan, President/CEO, Bandwidth Management and former President/CEO of Meeting Professionals International (MPI)
Martin Sirk, CEO, International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA)

EIBTM is one of the largest tradeshows in the meetings industry. The 2011 meeting had over 15,219 participants from over 90 countries. Included were 3,961 hosted buyers — top-level decision-makers bought to the event as part its Hosted Buyer Program. This year’s show dates are 27-29 November in Barcelona.




One Response to “New Meetings Innovation Trends Highlighted with EIBTM’s 2012 Technology Watch”

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