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'
GIBTM PREVIEWHow will GIBTM 2011 differ from lastyear's show? With GIBTM now in its fifth year we arecreating more content on the exhibitionfloor. We have relocated the SeminarTheatre there and a number of jointnetworking events will help us educate andidentify additional regional Middle Eastbuyers about the benefits of the show. Thisis helping to boost international participationof exhibitors, as there will be more regionaldecision-makers for them to meet on site. We are also working closely with tourismboards in the region. We have been carryingout a series of educational presentationsjointly with them to their private sectorpartners on how to get a better return oninvestment from GIBTM. What are you most proud of over thisyear's campaign?The RTE meetings portfolio now has anofficial presence in the UAE in myself andour Regional Sales Manager and this allowsus to work much more closely with our keyevent partners, stakeholders, exhibitors andassociations, to help raise the profile of bothGIBTM and the meetings industry in theregion. We have also recruited a local PRagency in the UAE to work alongside ourinternational team to increase awarenesswithin the Middle East. We are alsocommunicating in Arabic, so are reaching a wider audience. Are you still finding resistance from somedestinations in the region regardingexhibiting? This year we have been working closely witha number of regional destinations. Duringthe second half of 2010 we completed aregional sales/educational tour where weworked closely with destinations likeBahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan,Lebanon and Syria to identify their keyMeetings/MICE private sector members. This included an educational presentationon the meetings industry within the MiddleEast and why GIBTM would benefit them.How has the education and seminarprogramme been approached? We continue to ensure that the educationtopics at GIBTM remain relevant to themarket. We take on board feedback fromthe attendees from last year and this helpsus identify topics and trends which weresearch throughout the year. We continueto conduct the annual industry researchreport as this has given us a great insightover the years into the changing shape ofthe meetings industry in the region. The education changes each year to keepup to speed with the trends in the regionand this year we will look at CSR strategies,social media and the future trends of themeetings industry among other topics.How has support been this year frominternational meetings industryassociations. Meetings ProfessionalInternational (MPI) seems to have wounddown its conference that ran alongside theshow?As well as our strong internationalrelationships with industry associations suchas MPI, ICCA and Site, we have beencommitted to supporting the activities of theregional chapters of Site and ICCA at agrass roots level. We will be working withthem at GIBTM this year.What can you say about the developmentof the meetings industry in the Gulf? Due to the infrastructure development, theMiddle East has presented itself as apremier location for holding meetings thatare relevant, not just for the region, but on a global scale.The abundance of venues in the region ishelping to grow the sector. The region's status as an emerging hubfor business, especially within the energysector, pharmaceutical and financialindustries, is also a key strength.What else is new for the show and theregion? Abu Dhabi's business tourism, meetings andincentive infrastructure has expandedsignificantly over the past year. Businesstourism currently accounts for around 70per cent of Abu Dhabi's hotel guest profilewith 10 per cent of this emanating from theMICE segment.What are your expectations and ambitionsfor the show this year? We are targeting a 15 per cent growth onexhibition space this year and are lookingforward to attracting over 2,000 visitors, aswell as over 300 international and regionalhosted buyers and around 250 exhibitors.Reed harnesses Gulfrelationships for GIBTMAs Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) gears up (28-30 March) for what it claims is the largestgathering of meeting professionals in the Gulf, CMWasks GIBTM Exhibition ManagerLloyd Kenyonwhat's in store this time round.26www.c-mw.net Conference+Meetings WorldMarch 2011Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC)