TECHNOLOGY46 . www.conference-news.co.uk . June 2012 Ken Clayton, Director of event ticketing and registration supplier, Ref Tech:"It shouldn't come as a surprise that organisers feel confused about the avalanche of technological developments. They're told on all sides that they should be making use of this or that technology with the implication that if they don't they're either idiots or incompetent. "The reality is that the people demanding that organisers adopt new developments are rarely impartial: most have something to gain by promoting a particular technology. The real danger in all of this is that organisers can easily lose sight of the basics: what does the audience want from the event? That question has to be answered whether the organiser is staging a major exhibition or an academic seminar. If they don't meet that need, the Tweets, FB posts, LinkedIn updates, hybrid technologies, participant tracking and all the rest will count for nothing."Below: 11% of those HBAA members surveyed said they were "completely comfortable" with technologyincrease in demand to 39%. 80% of the agents and venues concurred that they were fully briefed on Wi-Fi requirements by their clients; . However, just 11% of agents and 12% of hotels and venues felt completely comfortable with the terminology used."The use of IT in events is far reaching and little understood," says Director of Etherlive, Tom McInerney. "To say you offer free Wi-Fi simply isn't enough. From the most basic perspective, delegates are reliant on their personal digital assistant; presentations often use the web; and content is frequently streamed across the globe. All of this requires a robust infrastructure."Corporates expect off-site solutions to be as adaptable and fl exible as the ones they have in their offi ces. This is all too often not the case."When asked if IT specifi cations were of equal importance to AV (sound, light and staging) requirements, 72 per cent of agency respondents stated IT was less important.Agents noted that a quick fi x and more powerful infrastructure was regularly required to bolster what should have been in place from the outset at venues, and that IT spends were often over budget on production of the fi nal bill. The disparity between IT requirements and the actualities at the event has a proven effect on repeat business at the given venues, with 59 per cent of venues stating that issues with IT had led to business not returning.Despite the corporates' desire for IT, it was still not deemed sufficiently important to be part of the tender process for a strategic meetings management programme, according to the Etherlive research, with almost two-thirds (65%) of agents stating that it had never featured despite the corporates' need to measure and consolidate total costs for their meetings and events. Anthony Miller, VP of Strategy and Business Solutions at Active Network:"The world of events has changed signifi cantly in recent years, with organisers being asked to do more with less and demonstrate maximum return from any spend. And, business users now have the same expectations as consumers, with delegates asking for personalisation and maximum value from every interaction."Technology can fundamentally enable the changing role of live events, however, it can also be daunting for organisers to fi nd time to fi gure out how these fi t in."The question of whether technology should be part of an event manager's toolkit is undoubtedly yes. We have many case studies of signifi cant savings and improvements though the use of our technologies, however, the challenge is helping educate busy event teams on how to use technology and how it will make their lives easier and their organisation more successful."Our role is as much about education as it is about creating powerful technology."
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