The (lingering) Fear of Technology
for Conferences and Events - Part I
Despite the prevalence of technology today, societal beliefs as to the proper time and place for the use of technology still exists, some in the conference and event industry.
Over the next few blogs we’ll look at some of the lingering concerns regarding technology’s place in conferences and events, as well as emerging technology that could change the way events run in the near future.
In Part I we will look at whether or not Having a Hybrid Event (Face-to-Face (F2F) and Online components) will decrease F2F attendance.
It has been thought that offering a hybrid conference will encourage people to merely connect to a conference rather than actually attend it. This becomes a deterrent for the hybrid event because event organizers may count on the F2F fees to cover various costs (i.e. venue, food, technology, speakers, etc.).
If organizers are able to move past this fear, there is the secondary fear that technology will fail (essentially a fear of Murphy ’s Law; anything that can go wrong, will go wrong). It is possible that technology could fail; but with proper planning, testing and on-site support, most technical failures can be avoided or at the very least immediately addresses and remedied.
According to a study by the MPI Foundation, “… industry-wide anxiety that hybrid meetings lead to degeneration of in-person events are completely unsubstantiated.” Further, “the fear of technology failure and the potential for cannibalization of the face-to-face meeting are two concerns often cited by those opposed to hybrid meetings. The concerns around cannibalization appear to be largely unsubstantiated. On the contrary, the data suggested that face-to-face attendance increased or remained flat.”
Widespread participation in webinars (web-based seminar), video conferences and other digital meetings have offered prospective attendees increased knowledge of technology’s capabilities. This awareness has led to an expectation and/or desire by many that technology be further integrated into the conferences and events that they wish to participate in.
Hybrid Conferences and Events are going to be a part of the event landscape; it is time to embrace it and determine the best practices for effectively hosting a hybrid meeting.