The Future of Meetings & Events

Artificial intelligence (AI) entered the news cycle yet again when tech entrepreneur Elon Musk sounded a warning call about its “existential threat.” Whether you believe Musk or Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has a much more optimistic view of what artificial intelligence can do for human civilization, the one thing that can’t be denied is this: Artificial Intelligence is already here and it isn’t going away anytime soon.

In the meetings and events industry, for instance, we’re already seeing how chatbots are being used to change the ways in which planners and attendees connect with one another, as well as make planners’ lives a bit easier. That’s the topic of this week’s main story, written by Sheryll Poe, who looked at how one of the industry’s biggest trade shows, IMEX Frankfurt, tested chatbots at its most recent event. Read the full story here. IMEX Frankfurt isn’t alone, either; even StubHub is doing the same, using chatbots to not only sell more tickets but also gather more valuable customer data. (See story below.)

So, should we be scared or concerned? Or should we embrace this new technology? Only time will tell, but it’s clear that there are ways in which the industry can use artificial intelligence to its advantage. But if we do, we certainly have to be mindful of exactly how we use it.

— Deanna Ting

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The Big Picture

Chatbots Are the Future of Meeting and Event Communication and Networking: The increased acceptance and use of chatbots and AI is changing the way event and meeting professionals connect with attendees and making events more efficient for the planners and the attendees. Read more at Skift

Interview: We’re Stepping into an Area of Conversational Presenting:  As the audience expectations shift, speakers incorporate energizing elements and conversational activities into their presentations. Meeting designer Juraj Holub shares his thoughts on conversational presenting and emerging trends in the event design. Read more at Sli.do

Inside Moment Factory: The Montreal Studio That’s Changing the World:  Based in Montreal, but with international branches spreading across the Northern Hemisphere, the award-winning multimedia and entertainment studio creates, well, moments: visceral, visual experiences that aim to reassess the way you interact, physically and mentally within a given environment for the likes of Madonna, Nine Inch Nails, Muse, JAY-Z, Cirque de Soleil, and Jean Paul Gauthier, to name a few. Read more at The Main

State of the Industry 2017:  Conference & Incentive Travel’s State of the Industry Report 2017 examines trends and challenges in the UK events industry, plus the Top 50 Agencies. Read more at Conference & Incentive Travel

Next Generation Meetings UX

What It’s Like to Be a Woman at a Tech Conference: Where are all the women in tech? Developer Chloe Condon outlines the five most common experiences that women face when they attend tech conferences. Read more at NewCo Shift

Why StubHub’s Newest Ticket Sellers Aren’t Human: The music and sport ticketing exchange is enlisting chatbots and AI to sell more tickets and gather valuable data. Read more at Fast Company

Unbound London 2017: Here’s a closer look at London’s Unbound, the UK’s largest innovation festival, which focuses on connecting brands with European technology startups. Read more at J. Walter Thompson Intelligence

Share Your Location?: What is your legal responsibility to ensure that attendees know that location-sensing technology is in use at meetings and events? Here’s what a lawyer had to say. Read more at PCMA Convene

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The Skift Meetings Innovation Report is curated by Skift Hospitality Editor Deanna Ting [[email protected]]. The newsletter is emailed every Wednesday.

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Photo Credit: Site Night at IMEX Frankfurt. The trade show recently tested out the use of a chatbot. IMEX Group