Thinking About Event Technology in 2018

Brain abstract for intelligence of future technology and scienceThe new year is upon us, and as event practitioners, we are all thinking about this year’s events and meetings. Event technology continues to move in bold new directions in 2018, and there are lots of things to consider as we plan our technology for 2018.

Data security and privacy will continue to be a major area of focus for most event organizer. Hopefully, everyone reading this will be using technology that is PCI Compliant to the highest levels. This global standard assures you and your clients that you are managing personal data and credit card information in ways that assures privacy and security at every step.

Not being PCI Compliant can have serious consequences for you as more and more clients and attendees are demanding that credit card and personal details are stored and processed in a secure fashion. You and your business can be held liable if valuable data is stored and processed in an insecure fashion.

2018 is also the year that the European GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) becomes something all meeting organizers need to deal with.

GDPR is a regulation that requires business to protect the personal data and privacy of European Union citizens. This includes any meeting or event that a EU citizen participates in, even if your event doesn’t occur in Europe! If an attendee is from an EU country and registers for an event or meeting, you are going to need to become aware of the data protection requirements and be able to manage those requirements.

Among the many new regulations found in GDPR, individual attendees will have much more control over their data, including the ability to be “forgotten” as well as rules as to how long you can retain personal data in your databases.

We all know that the meetings industry collects lots of personal data (it’s the nature of our business!), and the new GDPR regulations will have a major impact on your day-to-day event management practices.

Fortunately, many event management platforms are fully aware of these requirements and are proactively addressing these issues within their systems.

One global publisher, Centium Software is actually creating new technology within their award-winning EventsAR platform to specifically address these challenges.

“We have clients in all corners of the globe using EventsAIR to manage their meetings and events,” said Alec Sonenthal, Director of Technology for Centium Software. “Millions of registrations have been processed in the EventsAIR platform, and many of these registrations come from European Union countries. EventsAIR already adheres to the highest levels of security available today, and we are building new processes and technologies in EventsAIR to fully address the myriad reporting and data management requirements identified in GDPR.”

Mr. Sonenthal noted that like all other technology in EventsAIR, the new processes being designed around GDPR focus on supporting their event management clients with workflows that provide greater efficiency and productivity.

“GDPR has lots of requirements on how personal data is stored and managed,” Mr. Sonenthal said. “We are going to make sure our clients can keep up with these requirements, stay fully compliant and assure their attendees that their data is secure and protected.”

2018 is also going to see an explosion of social media at events and meetings. This trend has been growing for several years, with more and more meeting planners integrating Twitter, Facebook and other social media interactions at their events.

A growing number of attendee apps and event platforms are recognizing that many event attendees are hesitant to engage in social media that is public to the outside world. The industry is seeing dramatic growth in private social engagement, where attendees can interact in a social environment that is private to the actual event or meeting.

Jill Rasco, Director of Meetings at Attendee Management Inc., works with dozens of clients in many different sectors of the industry.

“Many attendees don’t want their images and posts made public in a Twitter of Facebook posting,” Ms. Rasco said. “We are seeing dramatic growth in private networks that are fun and engaging, but are kept private within the specific event.”

Ms. Rasco noted that many attendees really enjoy being able to network and engage with fellow attendees using social media.

“Many attendees find if fun and interesting to take photos, make comments and engage with each other via social media,” Ms. Rasco said. “We use several platforms that have private networks, and it really increases the level of participation and interaction.

Cloud technology is also making a significant impact on the future of event technology.

In 2018, you will see more and more event planners providing onsite check-in and badge printing, with costs decreasing and implementation getting easier and easier.

Planners are finding that they can use standard computers and printers rather than relying on specialized kiosks and badge printers. Additonally there are growing numbers of technology vendors providing onsite check in technology at very low, or even no additional cost, which is a huge benefit to meeting organizers trying to keep ballooning costs in check.

The outlook for attendee apps is also following this trend.

Approaching ten years in the industry, attendee apps have become standard, and expected at many events and meetings.

Costs to event organizers are decreasing dramatically, and more and more event platforms are including attendee apps as standard parts of their platforms.

There are other exciting technology trends coming in the next few years that will impact the meetings industry. Still being evolved are facial recognitions, wearable technology, virtual and augmented reality and more are all making their way into the events arena.

Cost, efficiency and demand from clients are all going to impact how these new technologies will impact the events industry.

In the end, we all know that change is expected, and sooner or later, we’ll all be living in a different world from today.

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