EIBTM Live: Corbin Ball Predicts the Next Big Thing in Event Technology
Event technology specialist Corbin Ball has been focused on one specific angle of the industry for the past 17 years, and has seen how new developments have changed the business.
But after 17 years, Ball believes that the event tech industry's most exciting time is right now. "We’re going through an explosion of new ideas and new apps," he told IMR's James Latham as the final EIBTM--which was just renamed ibtm world--got underway in Barcelona. Smartphones have proven to be the real game-changer, he noted, as they have turned into universal communication devices that let organizers communicate with attendees before, during and after events.
The next big development, Ball continued, will be proximity-based marketing using beacon technology and Bluetooth low-energy fields. “Beacons are inexpensive technology," he said. "They start at about $10 and they can last for a year." The small sensors recognize when people are within a "geofence" and can monitor how long they stay there and where, specifically they choose to stand. The devices are already in use in shopping centers (determining what items in a store attract the most attention) and sports arenas, and are now being rolled out for trade shows. "All the major mobile app developers are working on this," Ball said, citing GenieConnect, DoubleDutch and QuickMobile as notable examples. “We will see this definitely come to events.”
Event technology is also making it possible to keep the interest in events relevant year-round, and to keep the conversation going in anticipation of the next year's edition. "That’s the responsibility of the show organizer," Ball said, noting that new technology lets planners continue the dialogue, provide content throughout the year and update social media channels. "Meetings are content-generators," he added, "and it’s possible for you to capture that content and distribute it year-round, getting people excited for next year’s meeting." Mobile social media and meetings are natural partners, he added. "They do the same things: Bring people together. They should work hand-in-hand and work well--if done well--together."
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