Cog in the machine: The tools and tech driving the meetings industry

Facial recognition software could become increasingly common at events. Source: Shutterstock

The MICE sector is poised to enter a golden age of innovation with new tools and technologies promising an even better experience for attendees. 

In the future, visitors could be offered an event-specific app rather than a bulky guidebook to plan and personalize their itineraries.

At exhibition booths, virtual reality goggles and other wearable techs may become a standard feature, replacing conventional marketing materials with a chance to explore a product or service in greater depth than ever before.

But these aren’t the only improvements in the pipeline. Here’s a roundup of the systems revolutionizing events, exhibitions, and meetings.

RFID enabled wristbands

A Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip works like an intelligent barcode to interact with and transmit stored information to an RFID reader device which in turn can be linked to other systems and technologies.

Although they are most often associated with cashless payments, RFID tags are now being used at large- and small-scale events like the HRM Summit 2015 in Singapore and Road to Ultra in Thailand as an efficient alternative to basic vinyl wristbands that identify visitors.

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For attendees, RFID wristbands or badges can speed up processing and reduce waiting time at admission points. But better still, they can deliver a more interactive experience when synchronized with social sharing facilities.

Event planners also benefit as RFID tags can provide up-to-the-minute data on the popularity of seminars, speakers and other attractions by tracking and analyzing data like attendance.


Lengthy email chains can be evaded with chatbots. Source: Shutterstock

In Southeast Asia, 80 percent of web-using consumers are already familiar with chatbots, so it seems a logical step to utilize this technology and apply it to mobile event apps.

Like a virtual concierge, these programs provide on-demand assistance to visitors. Using artificial intelligence technology and text recognition, they answer questions like “who’s speaking at 11am?” and other common queries at a faster pace and with greater convenience than a traditional help-desk or support phone line.

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Often, the automated bots are given names to make the experience more human and encourage people to use them. At one event, chatbot “Abby” was such a hit that she answered a staggering 56,000 queries.

But this kind of software can do more than just field questions. Applications like Shakure use Line Beacons to enable participants, organizers, and hosts to share photos and other data without the need for lengthy email chains.

Facial recognition software

For years, visitor feedback has been collected manually with the aid of surveys and polls, but thanks to face recognition software, this could become a thing of the past.

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Using infrared and ambient light cameras positioned around a venue or booth, emotive information can be gathered from attendees and processed using Face Analysis Technology. This data is then assessed via a system like Sightcorp’s CrowdSight to measure mood and engagement.

With this kind of real-time insight, event planners and exhibition holders can hone the user experience with even greater precision, ensuring visitors get the most from the events they attend.