Surveying the future of event technology

Expert Opinion Tech World
Surveying the future of event technology

In this blog, the judges of IBTM World’s upcoming Tech Watch Award offer their thoughts on what makes a winning entry, surveying some of the industry’s most innovative technology.

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Q: What emerging tech trends do you see as having a significant impact on events and/or exhibitions in the next few years?

Corbin Ball, founder of Corbin Ball Associates, chair of the judge’s panel: There are many trends that come to mind including:

  • Better tracking of the attendee journey through a variety of mobile and wearable applications
  • Advances in AR and VR
  • Better tracking of meetings spend
  • The use of AI for chatbots and voice interface
  • Facial recognition


Q: What are you hoping to see from this year’s Tech Watch entrants?

Dahlia El Gazzar, founder of DAHLIA+ Inc: I hope to see tech that can bring personalised experiences to attendees, tech that can help events professionals automate their workflow, and tech that integrates the latest tech trends in ways that are beneficial to the events industry. I’m also hoping to see more women in event tech show their talent.


Q: Which area of meetings tech are you most excited about?

Padraic Gilligan, managing partner at SoolNua:  Audience engagement – I love what does and how it continues to innovative within a strictly limited context.

Corbin Ball: One of the great things about working on the IBTM World Tech Watch Award is seeing the wide diversity of creative ideas bubbling up. What excites me is to see innovations that will benefit our industry.


Q: What technology currently outside of the meetings and events industry do you think has the potential to cross over and benefit the M&E industry? 

Ruud Janssen, founder of TNOC and co-founder of EMG: Artificial Intelligence and stronger low bandwidth tools to keep connected in a smart non-intrusive way are yet to make their entry. I’m keen to see that develop further. Also, event design tools to collaboratively think online are getting so good, but still go unnoticed by many in the events industry. We can learn from adjacent spaces about how to better collaborate online, so we have more time offline and onsite to really speak, connect and spend quality time together.


Q: What are your goals in participating as an IBTM Tech Watch Award judge?

Michael Shapiro, senior editor, Meetings & Conventions: I’ve long kept an eye on the IBTM World Tech Watch as a great source for what’s trending and the next big thing. I’m excited to see what’s coming next and I look forward to being a part of the conversation.

James Morgan, founder of Event Tech Lab: I like to judge this competition, as it’s the largest one in the world. It’s great to see the most up to date innovations entering the competition.


IBTM World 2018 will take place from 27 – 29 November at Fira Barcelona. You can enter the Tech Watch Awards at:

Pictured clockwise from top left: James Morgan, Padraic Gilligan, Corbin Ball, Michael Shapiro, Ruud Janssen, Dahlia El Gazzar

Stuart Wood is a news reporter across the Mash Media editorial portfolio. He writes for CMW alongside sister publications Conference News, Exhibition News, Access All Areas and Exhibition World.

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