Meeting Mentor Magazine

September 2023

Looking Far Ahead

‘Future Meeting Space’ Projects Innovations
In Event Design, Technology, Mobility

More than 120 innovations have been compiled into an “Innovation Catalog,” as the first phase of the Future Meeting Space project nears completion. This partnership of the German Convention Bureau, European Association of Event Centers and Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering is identifying developing trends globally — in the areas of infrastructure, event design, technology, mobility and society — that will have the most impact on meetings.

Here’s an advance look at two innovations:
• A new display technology makes it possible to walk through an image, touch it or interact with it. Streams of barely visible “fog” become an image carrier whose structure displays high-resolution content.
• A future airplane cabin whose central area is configured to serve multiple purposes — as a site for meetings, social gatherings or other activities.

Focus groups at meetings industry events are beginning to discuss and rate the relevance and importance of these innovations to future meetings. Expert interviews with sociologists, academics, meeting architects, and others outside the meetings industry also will take place to get wider evaluation of the impacts of these innovations. Phase 2 will bring together all this insight into a “future meeting guide,” said Laura d’Elsa, regional director USA/Canada, German Convention Bureau, with different meeting scenarios. The partnership hopes to “showcase the innovations in miniature format, showing it at different trade shows.”

Example: Trend toward urbanization. As more people move into cities, venues and buildings are being used in different capacities over time, explained d’Elsa. “We will still have convention centers and hotels, but additional new areas and buildings might take on another use.” She pointed to Hamburg, famous for its entertainment and red-light district and its major port. Some “fun venues” used at night are being repurposed as conference space by day. “This works really well for young, hip, up-and-coming conferences,” she said. “And it’s more sustainable.” To learn more, visit the Future Meeting Space page at the German Convention Bureau and view this video about the program. — Maxine Golding

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