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Are exhibits threatened by artificial intelligence?

Future industries connected with new technologies were discussed during the session “Artificial Intelligence VS Human Capital: How Business Processes Are Changing in the Event Industry” at the 8th Europe + Asia Event Forum (EFEA). The session was moderated by Sergey Voronkov, CEO of ExpoForum-International.

Theoretically, a whole range of operations can be performed by machines: designing events, distributing materials according to databases, launching ads, reaching speakers, organising matchmaking... It can be imagined theoretically. But I’m sure: nothing threatens the field of association and experience; we will neither go online, nor delegate communication to robots. A trend of the 21st century is solitude in the network; people need each other. Machines just let us increase labour productivity and neutralise the human factor, but they don’t replace humans and human interaction!” with those words Sergey Voronkov started the session, reflecting on whether the event industry was in danger because of total technification and the disappearance of people.

Valery Talisman, Director for Innovative Development from the Agency of Artificial Intelligence Development, told about cloud technologies in the event industry. Many organisers use SaaS in their work: google drive, Smartsheet, Asana task planners, Trello, Basecamp, corporate messengers, services to track the number of guests and their seating, such as Allseated, mailing services, such as Unisender and MailChimp, as well as questionnaires, CRM systems and complex platforms, such as TimePad and EventBank.

Oksana Salikhova, CEO of Vein Technologies, said that the event industry doesn’t exist offline only any more. In 2017, more than 7,000 technological start-ups in the field of MarkTech were registered across the world, and most of them were connected with AI technologies, big data, data like, and robotics. Many of them can be used in event marketing. “A creative approach and technologies are the basis of event marketing,” Salikhova believes. “Besides, robots learned to make template creative materials.” However, there’s still no reason to panic, as the speaker noted: “There’s nothing new in the process we are currently experiencing; it’s a new leap in technological progress, we get rid of another routine. There will be no drastic changes – only native technologies will remain widespread. Technologies are still too young, and our industry is quite stagnant.

Nick Dugdale-Moore, Manager for Business Development of the UFI Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (Paris, France), told how blockchain technologies could be used for events. It can be used for payment, registration, security and marketing.

As the speakers advise, if you don’t want a robot to replace you in your workplace in 5 years, hold events with added value today. The rules are easy:

Focus on complicated strategic tasks, since artificial intelligence provides more time to solve them by taking away a whole lot of the routine processes.
Invest in human relationships. Respect people you work with and don’t work with those you don’t respect.
Be creative! Break the mould to surprise even the robots.
Teach your employees something new all the time.
Use social marketing for the benefit of the event: hold events that are useful for society to achieve your business goals.

Participants of the session also included: Andrey Gusakov, Marketing Manager of DATAFORUM; Ekaterina Moskvina, Head of GC Gefest Proektsii; Taisia Seledkova, Director for Marketing & Communications of OC Paroc.

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