Skift Take

As with all advancements in technology, we need to ask ourselves: Is facial recognition software a good thing? And what are the potential consequences?

The Future of Meetings & Events

I recently watched the Black Mirror episode titled “Nosedive” on Netflix, which depicts a world in which each of us is constantly rating one another on a five-point scale (just like Uber!) Post an Instagram-worthy photo of an adorable cookie and cappuccino? Five points. Smile at the barista who made it for you? Another five. Accidentally spill that coffee on a stranger while you’re rushing to the airport? Zero points, your rating drops dramatically and life gets hard. (You get the picture.)

While the episode is more of a comment on our seemingly constant need for recognition on social media platforms, it also ties in nicely with many of the articles featured in this week’s newsletter.

The first story, written by Sheryll Poe, takes a look at how facial recognition software is already being used at meetings and events, and how it might be used going forward. Read her story here. While this software has the ability to personalize meetings and events and actually help planners gauge attendee satisfaction, to a degree, we also have to wonder: Is that a good thing?

Given the recent news that facial recognition Artificial Intelligence is more accurate at determining a person’s sexual orientation than humans are, that raises plenty more questions about privacy concerns and just how this type of technology can and should be used in the future.

One example Poe included in her piece was the use of a “Smile Swag” booth where attendees lined up and “smiled” for the camera in return for rewards. While I’m sure it certainly brightened up the mood of the event and gave people an actual reason to smile, I couldn’t help but think of that Black Mirror episode and whether we might one day reach a point where we feel like we have to sport a smile 24/7, just for those ratings.

Influencer marketing has also become a hot topic as of late in the meetings world, and we’ve included some articles this week that look at that growing trend. Can social media influencers shape the meetings and events industry as they have in other realms, from fashion to food? Moreover, should they?

— Deanna Ting

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Social Quote of the Week

“There’s a conference called ‘Forbidden Research’ where technologists gather to talk about too-hot-to-handle tech.”

@techreview on Twitter

Next Generation Meetings UX

How Facial Recognition Is Shaping the Future of Conferences: If the eyes are the windows to the soul, your face may be your ticket to your next event. Thanks to improvements in facial recognition technology, meeting and event planners have access to a whole slew of tools to make their conferences and events more interactive, engaging and secure. Read more at Skift

Facial Recognition Is Getting Incredibly Powerful — and Ever More Controversial: Should we be more concerned about the privacy issues involved in facial recognition software? Read more at MIT Technology Review

Everybody Agrees: Event Apps Are Alive and Well: “It is stupid to think event apps are dead or even compromised.” Read more at Event Manager Blog

What Meeting Planners Want: Speed, Service, Variety: Martin Enault, COO of C2, says: “What meeting planners want from a hotel is a swift and hassle-free booking process, and personalized and unique experiences for their groups. More and more, they’re finding this at smaller hotels…” Read more at Hotel News Now

Why I Created a Digital Conference Where Only 4 Percent of Tickets Are Set Aside for Men: Women in Digital is on a mission to connect as many women on the tech and digital side of advertising and marketing as possible. Read more at AdWeek

Influencer Marketing & Events

Influencer Marketing in the MICE Industry: Irina Trofimovskaya from The MICE Blog discusses influencer marketing and how it might work in the meetings world. Read more at The MICE Blog

What You Need to Know About Attracting Influencers to Events: Three experts from agencies that regularly work with influencers discuss how to develop these relationships and how to craft events that appeal to them. Read more at BizBash

Skift Global Forum 2017

This Is Not a Freakin’ Trade Conference: Year Four: Skift has lined up one of the biggest gatherings of CEOs and founders in the travel industry, ever. Check it out, and join us September 26–27 if you can. Read more at Skift


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

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Tags: meetings, meetingsiq

Photo credit: Event registration platform Ya-Ya Regie used Zenus' facial recognition software in a trial run at the International Corporate Events awards in London in July. Of the more than 250 guests that attended, most of whom were in-house corporate event planners, 126 used the facial recognition check-in, resulting in a process that was five times quicker than the barcode or QR system used at previous years' events. Ya-Ya Regie

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