With all the recent talk of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and aug-mented reality, I sometimes get the impression we’re living in a science fiction future. Whether we like
it or not, these new technologies are coming at us from all sides and are starting to impact our business prac-tices and especially our clientele, in meetings, conferences, and other events
According to an estimate by research firm Markets & Markets, the artificial intelligence industry will be worth $4 billion by 2020, with applications in many different fields, including the meetings industry.
In Frankfurt in the summer of 2017, the organizers of IMEX’s most recent international event used a variety of digital communication tools, including the IMEX website, a dedicated Facebook page, and a mobile app. So far, nothing too crazy. What ended up turning heads was their use of a chatbot named Frank.
As the name suggests, a chatbot is a robot that uses preprogrammed questions and answers to interact with users. Developed by Sciensio, the IMEX chatbot went one step further, by using artificial intel- ligence and machine learning to adapt and improve in real time with every new question that popped up.
Frank fielded a lot of questions, like: How do I get to Frankfurt? Where can I find exhibitor X? Is there a French bistro near the convention centre? If a question was too complicated or sensitive, Frank would connect the user with a real person.
Improving the Event Experience
With any meeting, symposium, or convention, some basic questions get asked over and over again and can easily be handled by an automated system like a chatbot, which is conve-niently available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But there’s a lot more that can be done with artificial intelligence. At last year’s Lions awards in Cannes, an event networking application called Grip used artificial intelligence to help users connect based on shared busi-ness objectives, interests, and skills. When you’re at an event with over 15,000 other marketing industry professionals, that can be pretty handy!
There’s a growing number of technological tools aimed at enriching gatherings, conferences, and seminars. Solutions like Concierge EventBot by Sciensio, EVA by Event2Mobile, ConfBot, and Morph.ai give event organizers the power to distribute surveys and see the results in real time, and to provide users with tons of additional infor- mation about everything from hall plans to nearby hotels to meetings and schedules. All that makes for a more personalized attendee experience while freeing up event staff for other tasks.
Text and photo : Quebec City Business Destination