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March 2011Conference+Meetings World www.c-mw.net 25CEO of PCO MECI Korea, Bannie Kim, looks at how conferences can keep up with technology.Advancing the meetingsindustry: technologyAcross the world today, ubiquitous anddigital information-basedtechnologies are becoming anincreasing part of our lives. As theirapplications become more widespreadacross society, their impact on the meetingand convention industry increases.Harnessing the latest in technology hasimproved efficiency in conferenceadministration, including registrationprocesses and session room operation, oftenwith cost effective and environmentally-friendly implications for meeting planners.The meetings industry is also experiencinggreat change in the area of internetnetworking. It may not be long before face-to-face meetings are at least partiallyreplaced by video conference or 3D webmeetings for the sake of cost savings.International conventions and corporatemeetings via web conference technologywill be mainstream, not only to saveexpenses but for sustainability reasons too. Where there may be gaps in newtechnologies, with appropriate investment intraining, education and upgrading, suchtechnology has many benefits to offer themeetings sector and so PCOs need toembrace its applications rather than stepback uncertainly.Improvements in information technologymean many aspects of convention planningare now online; advertising, social mediamarketing, management of B2B suppliers,customer relationship management systemsfor participants and suppliers. Meeting planners, conference sponsorsand participants are increasingly takingadvantage of new technology applicationswith Enterprise Resources Planning software.Video conferencing is assisted by Wide AreaNetwork (WAN) application deliverytechnology, while Cisco, Polycom andTendberg claims to offer practical costefficiencies when interviews, questionnairesand staff meetings are needed.Information technology is increasinglyused to create an ubiquitous computingsociety whereby necessary information canbe accessed by anyone, anytime, anywhere.through the convergence of advanced,unobtrusive technology, particularly wireless,and the internet.Some of the applications of thistechnology with direct benefit to the meetingand convention community include:Radio Frequency Identification- RFIDsystems transmit the identity of an object orperson wirelessly using radio waves, ashappens, for example in the case of a tollbooth payment. It is increasingly used withbiometric technologies for security.Wireless Local Area Network (LAN)-Users can access the internet at high speedby PDA or laptop through the LAN and/orIrDA (Infrared Data Association) in everypossible AP (Access Point). This isparticularly useful with temporary networksthat are typically available at conventionsand exhibitions. Though there are someproblems with security and frequencyjamming, electricity outlay, and roamingservice, it will be available for fourthgeneration mobile communications.WAN Application Delivery- WANAccelerator is a solution to accelerate thespeed of data transmission of websitesconnected to broadband (B-ISDN). It is veryhelpful to improve data transmission withoutextra infrastructure, enhancing somefunctions like video conferences, variousregistration devices and in-and-out control.Mobile Service- Mobile service as a part ofurban life facilitates the exchange of data inan interactive way via the internet. As itsservice rapidly grows, customers can shareand retrieve lots of information.Zigbee- Wireless network for the nextgeneration, Zigbee, which was derived fromthe zigzag type dance of a bee, is atechnology for ubiquitous computing andLAN communication within a 10-20 metreboundary. The Zigbee gadget can eithertransmit or receive small amounts ofinformation like on/off commands andtemperature level adjustments. Whenapplied to the convention industry, it enablesthe elimination of cables, in-and-outcontrols, anti-intrusion, electricalinstallations, emergency controls and realtime global positioning checks indoors.Video Conference System - VCS enablesmeetings to convene by means of camera orlive internet streaming, saving time andexpenditure in travelling for face-to-facemeetings, also lessening the impact ofglobal travel and carbon emissions.Virtual Reality Conference- VRC isadvanced technology for video conferences.By transmitting holograms, delegates feelspeakers are located in the place wheretheir message is being delivered. PrinceCharles sent a six minute hologrammessage with a 3D image from ClarenceHouse to the attendees of the GlobalConference for future energies in the UAE.Digital technologies are now impacting onthe entire life-cycle of meetings and events,from the online registration, the promotionalactivities and the delivery of the meetingitself, right through to the reporting andanalysis of its success. Its influence can beseen in all aspects of planning, delivery andanalysis of any meeting or event. While technology can never replace theimportance of face-to-face meetings inbuilding contacts and generating businessopportunities, it will allow people to connectand engage in whole new ways, enhancingthose connections.TECHNOLOGY'Technology has manybenefits to offer themeetings sector, so PCOsneed to embrace itsapplications rather thanstep back uncertainly'