From augmented reality to 3-D printing to wearable devices, new and innovative technologies will continue to have a transformational impact on the events of the near- and mid-future, which is why it’s more important than ever to find strategic ways to weave technology solutions into the fabric of our meetings. But with so many event-based technologies out there, how can you move forward with any confidence? Follow these steps to help make smart technology decisions.
Before you decide to use any technology, make sure you understand what it is you are trying to accomplish. What behavior change are you seeking to encourage? Whether it is increased loyalty, purchasing, efficiency or confidence, understanding the purpose of your event will help you evaluate whether or not a technological solution makes sense for you and your organization.
Evaluate the Marketplace
After you understand your underlying purpose, spend time understanding what technologies are available to help you reach your goals. From engagement and interaction to personalized experiences and even the need for a big wow, seek out the technologies that will help you reach your ultimate business objective and drive organizational growth and effectiveness through your meeting or event.
Understand the Risks
Identify what risks come with the technologies you consider. Do they rely on outside factors (Internet, adoption) that could impact their effectiveness? Determine how you can scale, mitigate or transfer these risks to make they acceptable and worth taking.
Ask the Right Questions
Create a list of questions that you ask yourself and your organization every time you consider using a new events technology. These questions can include the following.
- Does it conflict with our organization’s moral or ethical policies?
- Is it scalable?
- What degree of longevity does it offer (when will it be outdated)?
- Is it sustainable—both in terms of business use and the environment?
- Is it reliable and easy to use (from both your perspective and that of the user)?
- Does it reflect well on your brand?
You can use these as a start to creating a robust list of questions that can guide your technology related decisions.
Consider Whether to Lease or Buy
Making the decision of whether to lease or purchase a tech solution can be difficult. As you evaluate the marketplace, consider what the total costs will be for you on both sides of the equation. Ask how soon the technology will be out of date, whether it will experience depreciation and what tax benefits might be available to you if you do decide to make a significant purchase.
Once you have made your decisions use this check list as you move forward with implementing your new tech solutions.
- Devise a phased rollout plan with key users who learn the technology first, and have a backup if (or when) things go awry.
- Develop a partnership with a supplier, so you can build knowledge.
- Invest in the talent necessary to implement your solution successfully and use collective brainpower to power innovation.
- Get facts, make educated decisions and learn from your mistakes.
- Be clear about your expectations and what exactly you want your new technology to accomplish.
- Talk to other users and trial the technology first before you get onsite.
- Be prepared to throw the technology away if it is not helping you reach the goals and objectives of your meeting or event.
Jessie States, CMM, is MPI’s manager of professional development. She was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in Meetings and Events in 201 by Successful Meetings and a 2017 Trendsetter by Meetings Today.
Insider Tip: Stay ahead of the technology curve and don’t become obsolete. Keep abreast of the latest technology tools and embrace the future of meetings. Check out Jessie’s presentation from Visit Alexandria’s recent Breakfast & Blossoms breakfast and follow her on Twitter. Tap the resources available from PCMA and MPI.
Header image by M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria