Meeting professionals may think that avatars, augmented reality and artificial intelligence are the stuff of sci-fi fiction, says MPI in its latest white paper on technology, but those are the very things that could keep the industry from becoming obsolete.
The report, titled “Technology: Why Invest and What’s Next?,” tosses around terms you may be hearing much more of — Internet Protocol (IP) address, IPv4 and IPv6, virtual reality, telepresence, haptic technology, targeted audio, computer vision, ambient intelligence and robotics, among others.
The research uncovers some of the technologies that researchers at Leeds Metropolitan University in England identified as key shapers of the meetings industry today and in the future. The MPI report features seven key findings along with a list of key takeaways. MPI members can access it online (let PYM know what you think by commenting in the box below this story). The findings:
- Mobile devices and social networks will empower delegates and communities. Channel this energy for the benefit of your events.
- Virtual meetings will slowly become more widespread. Think about innovations in handling meeting information and delegate participation.
- Invest in key staff to keep ahead of technology advances. Determine who will own social media channels and stay in contact with experts. Increase your awareness of any technology that could become disruptive.
- Realize the worth of a good, motivated technical staff.
- Don’t bind yourself to vendor-specific technologies because they soon may become obsolete. Rely, instead, on open standards that are more future-proof than proprietary concepts.
- Be prepared to take risks and make fast decisions. If you do, allow for mistakes and learn from them.
- Don’t forget about the Cloud. It gives you flexibility and reduces risk.
And the key takeaways:
- There always will be a need for face-to-face meetings, but technology will change how they are conducted. New technologies will create new ways to deliver information, increase your reach and engage participants.
- Augmented reality will transform face-to-face meetings into portals to information, at first through mobile devices and eventually through specialized display glasses.
- Targeted audio will provide many simultaneous audio sources to different physical locations in a meeting space.
- Networked mobile devices will replace laptop computers and eliminate the need for paper. They will also serve as communication portals, allowing participant feedback, providing location-aware context and personalizing information.
- Hybrid meetings will benefit from technologies that automate the process of translating face-to-face meeting activities online. Progress in bandwidth and usability will make hybrid meetings more common.
- Virtual meetings will eventually eliminate the need to travel, saving time, money and the environment.