From the Minds & Mouths of Industry Leaders — Top Predictions for 2014

Written by The Meeting Pool

With 2013 behind us, and 2014 gearing up to be a stellar year, we asked our favorite event profs to get out their eight ball, and tell us what they predict are the top trends we should look out for. See what they have to say, and share what your predictions are in the comment section.

Jim Spellos, President, Meeting U

Jim SpellosAugmented Reality begins to make an impact. With Google Glass and other tools, the line blending physical and virtual becomes more blurred. In second place will be an increased use of Geofencing tools to interact with conference apps at events.


Jessica Levin, President, Seven Degrees Communications

Jessica LevinI think that we are looking at less is more. Mobile tech is becoming mainstream, but people don’t want to be in 100 places. We are going to see more tools combining or partnering with others to integrate and become more streamlined.


William Thomson, Head Honcho, Gallus Events

William ThomsonI predict that a top trend will be eventprofs using the data that they have collected on their events through the technology they are using.


Alon Alroy, Co-Founder | CMO & BizDev, Bizzabo

Alon AlroyOne of the biggest trends is the growing prevalence of real-time interaction at events. Attendees are already on their smartphone/tablet/laptop, and organizers are taking advantage of this by having networking platforms, polling, speaker Q&A, all available right from their mobile device. One of the best parts of this real-time engagement is that all of it can be tracked and collected, ultimately giving organizers the ability to take data driven decisions to create even better events.


Miguel Neves, Senior Online Community Manager, IMEX Group

Miguel NevesInvisible integration of technology with events. Well designed, intuitive interfaces and tools that create no technology barriers, and only add to events. We will increasingly stop thinking of these tools as technology, we will think of them more as useful additions to an event.


Eric Olson, President & CEO, Zerista

Eric OlsonA shift from tactical to strategic approaches in event apps.

The past couple years have been focused on adding mobile components to events, replacing show guides, enhancing communities and simplifying lead retrieval and other event marketing essentials. Many events have gone mobile. Now, with those organizations on their second and third year of event apps, the focus is shifting from creating an app for an event to improving the event experience with technology. It’s a subtle but important trend. Where in previous years it has been enough to have an app for a meeting, organizers are now starting to understand how to blend the live experience with technology to create a synchronized experience that blows away what attendees, exhibitors and sponsors have grown to expect from events.

The industry will see old school, icon-based apps replaced with personalized, multi-event content hubs that help turn event content, digital content and user-generated content into a powerful tool for engagement and monetization before, during and after meetings. These apps pull in all the digital touch points of an event from news to presentations to polling to post-event surveys into a single app that uses events as inflection points to create engagement that spans weeks, months or years.


Tahira Endean, CMP, Director Creative and Production, Cantrav Services

Tahira EndeanTechnology “in the pocket” being actualized for events in a truly integrated fashion to support learning and connecting. This will happen in a few ways – the app is used for more than checking the agenda; we will ask people to put away devices and focus their time on making face to face connections; we will understand more about using the power of imagery for delivering impactful messages that drive action and use this in our events.


John Pytel, CEO,

John PytelImproving attendee engagement and participation by leveraging mobile devices.


Cesar Barradas, Sr. Manager, Administrative Services, Conferences and Continuing Education, Office of the Managing Vice President, American Dental Association

BYOD integration both at the planner side and the attendee side will bring about more security concerns but also will enhance our efficiency and our ability to keep our attendees informed


Russell Wyman, Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, GruupMeet

Russell WymanPlan by app solutions


Robert Wilson, President, Meeting Evolution

Robert WilsonI believe that new hotel builds will increase as investors are getting their money back from the market fallout of 2009.


Liz King, CEO, Liz King Events

Liz-King-smallerROI – Planners are getting better at integrating technology in events, but there is a need to prove that all this work is leading to something. Event tech companies are going to do more with statistics and analytics and we’ll find a greater focus on ROI.


Tess Vismale, CMP, DES Conference Center Manager, Atlanta Technical College

Tess VismaleBusinesses will dive deeper into developing sustainable models not only financially, but environmentally. This evolution will lead to a digital event model with a focus on engagement. Therefore, in 2014, I expect the tech trend to be the exponential growth in the use of digital technologies to deliver content for events, meetings, marketing and learning programs. By definition a digital event is an occurrence of people gathering together where some or all of the attendees are not physically in the same location but are connected in a common environment. By then you will see hybrid (live events with remote online audiences/presenters) and virtual events (completely online) played out through on-demand, simulive (pre-recorded), live streams, chat events, webinars and multi-track, multi-session events held on Web-based platforms and fully-immersive events held in 3D.