The following entry was written by Jackie Mulligan, a principal lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University, which is conducting our future of meetings research
I remember in my first job being amazed by a fax machine that could send documents through a wire. Since then, like those fax transmissions, our technologies are speeding up our communications, but at the same time they are adding to our means of communicating at an unprecedented level. Now when I stand in front of students in class, I am witnessing a technological revolution each semester. Students with new devices record the sessions (or comment on them), and I can capture their feedback on interactive white boards online and live. Last term, we connected with one of our international campuses, and I upload my presentations in virtual worlds and in the real world the lights switch off automatically as I leave the classroom. Is your world changing, too?
With these everyday encounters with gadgets, online worlds and buildings that sense my movements, it is easy to assume that the future will be led by technology. Not surprising then that in the first phase of the future of meetings study, planners saw a future dominated by technological change. In stark contrast to the people-facing meeting industry, the experts outside the industry—several involved in technology and digital media—saw a future dominated by social forces: people driving change.
With that focus, one of the key trends in this paper from experts outside the industry is technology to enhance human interaction, and there is plenty out there that will do just that. In the future, the basic principles of understanding real people and real exchanges will be in great and even greater demand. As Bob Stein from the Future of the Book institute explains, “The future skills needed by meeting planners will be to understand some of the technological tools that are coming online, but that remains secondary to understanding the dynamics of human interaction.” So technology is clearly a matter of design.
How do you design your meetings? Could technology help you to deepen the experience? Do you feel your meetings are innovative when it comes to technology?
Dr. Nick Cope suggests the best way to approach it all is to combine ideas but is excited about what the technology of the future could offer.
Key elements to consider when you are integrating technology into your meetings are the event’s objectives. However, that is only part of the answer that is offered in this new Future of Meetings supplement that could help you to increase the value of the experience you design now and in the future.
Some of these technologies present exciting opportunities for the industry and are discussed in the supplement: the notion of print-on-demand giveaways thanks to advances in 3D printing, technology to help break down the language barriers and enhance our discussions (no more tapping on keyboards to keep track of the conversation) and the Internet of things making the future a space that senses you and responds to your every touch. There are more technologies out there but considering your strategic approach to it all is critical, so find out more—download the supplement and come and discuss the Future of Meetings in our dedicated Future of Meetings LinkedIn group. On Friday, November 2, we shall chat all things future tech and design from this new research. Come join the conversation.