Digital solutions and technology touch many, if not all, aspects of how we source, promote, measure, and create engaging and valuable meetings and events. Event attendees and meeting planners expect a consumer-type experience similar to, if not integrated with, their personal experience, leading to greater emphasis and fuelled budgets in design and technology.
According to a research conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, many Chinese companies lack the necessary front-end technologies to achieve such objectives – while continuing to foster domestic R&D activities – the mainland has implemented a number of tax and fiscal measures designed to boost the import of key technologies and related equipment.
With its conducive business environment, robust protection of intellectual property rights and its comprehensive range of professional service providers, Hong Kong is ideally configured to allow its technology sector to undertake technology transfers from the international markets to the mainland.
A case in point is that in January 2017, Hong Kong and Shenzhen signed a “Memorandum of Understanding on Jointly Developing the Lok Ma Chau Loop by Hong Kong and Shenzhen”. Under the terms of this, the two cities will jointly develop the Hong Kong/Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park within the 87-hectare loop. It is anticipated that the park will attract many of the leading businesses, research institutions and higher education establishments from both Hong Kong and Shenzhen, as well as those of other mainland regions and from abroad. In the long-term, it is seen as emerging as one of the key bases for co-operation in innovation and technology research.
How developments stemmed from partnerships such as this will affect the way academics and corporates will want their meetings and events to be organized is yet to be seen.
The advancement of data sharing in the Internet of Things and deep learning in Artificial Intelligence (AI) means that more intelligent devices and networks will become available. In 2018, six billion connected “things” will be actively requesting support from AI platforms, according to a Gartner estimation.
“As we all know, advanced technology has a bright future in events, especially when applied to communication, information sharing, security and visitor flow. At the recent PyeongChang Olympics, companies delivered leading-edge technology solutions that can – and will – be applied to the wider event industry,” said Gregory Crandall, Director of Brand Engagement at Pico+.
“AI was everywhere at the Olympics: there were robots across the event venues including robots at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport with multilingual voice recognition capabilities to help travellers get to their gates. Robots were ever-present at the venues helping visitors get around and providing event details, schedules and tips for tourists; and self-driving buses transported people between the venues.”
“In the event world we see this translating to registration, security, badging, people management, security and visitor flow. In similar fashion, we are seeing bots work as an extension of event production teams on the floors of large shows, like the consumer electronics and tech show, CES delivering on-site equipment and installations as well as in customer service roles like hotel concierges.”
“The speed at which AI is being accepted and becoming part of everyday life is another clue to its incredible potential. Several recent news reports detail how AI is expected to assist in scoring at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo through a 3D sensory system currently under development. The entertainment potential should not be overlooked either – no one could resist the charm of this year’s Olympic robot skiing competition!”
“These technologies are poised to make a big impact on our industry by providing us with the assistance, data and intelligence to deliver more effective and powerful experiences. The 2018 Winter Olympics gave us great insight in where things are today, so let us borrow and build on these technologies and continue our mission to capture and inspire our audience,” said Crandall.