Meeting Mentor Magazine

January 2019

Trending in 2019: Tech, Tech and More Tech

What’s on tap for 2019? MeetingMentor asked some of our columnists to weigh in on the trends they think we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the near future.

Social Media
By Lesley Kyle, CMP, president, OpenMindWorks, Inc., writer of The Media Mentor column

Today’s competitive social media landscape will continue to drive technological innovation. Many recent social media trends will gain even greater traction in 2019. Here’s a short roundup of what to anticipate:

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Greater scrutiny into how social networks collect, use and share data
Data breaches and other privacy lapses will drive governments and consumers to demand greater transparency from social networks in the future. Expect more legislative hearings and a worldwide push for regulation of data collection and distribution (think GDPR — General Data Protection Regulation), likely led by the U.K. and the European Union.
Proliferation of live streaming
Content remains king in 2019, and as broadcasting services like Hulu and Netflix increase in popularity, so too will viewership of novel and live content broadcasts on social networks. Products like Periscope and Facebook Live will continue to evolve and create opportunities for planners to connect with current and new followers.
New advances in social media and face-to-face meeting integration
LinkedIn recently announced the global rollout of LinkedIn Events in early 2019. The feature will allow members to create, join and invite their connections to events and enable in-platform dialogue between attendees before and after the event. Beta testing is currently being conducted by event organizers in San Francisco and New York.

Meeting Technology
By Brandt Krueger, owner, Event Technology Consulting, writer of the Event Technology column

The most popular buzzwords will continue to be “artificial intelligence” and “machine learning” (even though Silicon Valley is already getting weary of them!), so you can expect almost every event app, registration system and audience engagement technology to include some kind of reference to AI in their marketing. A lot of it will be hype, so don’t get roped in by shiny ad copy. Keep an eye on what problems you want to solve, and make sure all of your technology choices are serving the goals of your event.

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will continue to evolve as the experience gets refined and improved. Heavy investment in the technology by megacorporations and the military is going to allow AR and VR hardware companies to continue to put money into making the consumer versions of the devices lighter and more powerful. In addition to this tech being used for audience experiences, it’s great to finally see applications being developed for use by planners, venues and other suppliers, and I sincerely (and selfishly!) hope to see more “backstage” uses for this exciting technology.

My fear, however, is that 2019’s biggest trend will be an increase in cybersecurity breaches in and around our industry. We’ve seen a few major security lapses in just the past few weeks, and that might just be the beginning. I’ve said for some time now that we’re a juicy target for hackers, and unfortunately it’s starting to look like the hackers are starting to agree!

Registration, Housing, Apps
By Adam Briggs, senior vice president, operations, ConferenceDIrect, writer of the Housing, Registration, Apps column

There may end up actually being a bright side to the recent Marriott data breach, which resulted in hackers getting personal information on as many as 500 million guests who made reservations at Marriott’s Starwood properties. While GDPR did get some organizations to take the steps necessary to become compliant, many didn’t take it seriously or ignored it altogether. Now that steps are being taken to prepare a national class action lawsuit to be filed against Marriott, I think there will be a new sense of urgency and seriousness around the topic. It’s going to change the way meeting planners, hotels and other organizations look at transmitting and storing their data. (For some tips on how to keep your meeting data secure, see “Data Security: What Event Planners Need to Know,” in the Summer 2017 issue of MeetingMentor.)

We’ll also continue to see more automation on the registration front. Companies such as Cvent and Aventri now offer what is essentially “badging in a box” services, where you can plug in a preconfigured printing system and print badges as people arrive. That technology used to be something reserved for larger events because of the setup costs, but now you can use it for smaller events as well. While some companies are developing, and even implementing, facial recognition systems for registration, I think privacy concerns will keep this from being widely adopted, at least in the short term.

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Conference Management
By Larry Hanson, chief marketing officer, ConferenceDirect, writer of the Conference Management column

Expect to see hotels speed up the check-in process by enabling guests to check in using their cell phones. Wellness also will continue to be a big focus for group events, both in dietary offerings and in integrating wellness components into meeting programs.

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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 2,500 corporations and associations through our 325 Associates globally. www.conferencedirect.com

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, the leading publication for senior meeting planners, is circulated to the clients, prospects and sales associates of ConferenceDirect, which books more than 3.87 million room nights. www.meetingmentormag.com

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