Is AI key to the future of live events?
Caroline Bee
General Manager, Pico+ Europe

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming the latest and greatest event technology. Event professionals and analysts alike are enthusiastic about its incredible promise, and you can expect to see AI increasingly offered as part of a suite of event services soon. But what will AI actually do to enhance live events?

Better customer understanding brings greater personalisation

Right now, at large events or conferences, everyone collectively experiences the same event and networking can be somewhat of an inorganic exercise, involving ticking boxes and filling out forms with a list of interests. Who you meet and what you discuss is hit and miss at best.

Adding AI into the mix would mean that a machine learning algorithm might be able to use attendees’ registration information and social media profiles to compile a personalised agenda for each attendee – what lectures or sessions they might attend, what products they might like and even a list of like-minded people who they might want to connect with. By using an event app that has AI plug-in functionality, event organizers can get started on using this right away.

Providing assistance and support

AI can also play a key role in supporting mega-events like the Olympics. At this year’s PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea, dozens of robots provided invaluable help to athletes and visitors, performing tasks like cleaning venues, providing translation services and offering scheduling and tips to tourists.

Anticipatory computing, which uses deep learning to foresee logistical problems ahead of time, can notify event teams when they are about to run out of essential items like F&B or product samples – heading off trouble before it starts; something that will be extremely useful to event producers who have to juggle multiple variables in real time.

Making events more secure

Event security is an unfortunate but important necessity in today’s world. Security personnel and technology are vital first – and last – lines of defence for event professionals. While mega-events always have a large security presence, other smaller events do not have the budget for a team of security guards.

The use of facial recognition AI can help tighten security at the registration counter and entrances by identifying potential threats and notifying the event team in a timely manner.

AI can find new attendees

AI can make finding new people who will be interested in an event much easier. Mobile event apps instantly measure participants’ feelings about an event through live polls and ratings. A chatbot can ask attendees to rate sessions and speakers, or launch polls on relevant topics. When collated and analysed through AI, rich data about audience segments can be uncovered – information that can easily be missed by human eyes.

When these insights are surfaced, post-event reports will show what types of people can be targeted for the next event. Today, growing your event comes down to knowing where to find new attendees who will be interested in your event. The benefit of time and cost savings allows you to invest that expenditure into better experiences.

An AI future is here… nearly

As with any new technology, AI faces a number of challenges – it’s expensive, requires a lot of resources and expertise to set up, and a general lack of knowledge and trust about how data will be collected and used. Acceptance will take some time.

Fully-fledged AI systems are still evolving and they will take some time to become affordable and accessible to event organizers and marketers. As of right now, the best way for event professionals to incorporate AI into their work is to use a mobile event app with an AI plug-in.

Caroline Bee, General Manager of Pico+ Europe has been invited to share her views on the application of Artificial Intelligence in events to make attendees’ experience more personalised and secure.

The above article was first published in C&IT magazine in July 2018. C&IT magazine has granted Pico permission to publish the article on all online and offline communications channels operated by Pico, as well as the channels of all our subsidiaries and affiliates.

Source: C&IT, 20 July 2018