Demands from buyers for more tech – and opportunities to try it out – at IMEX were heard by organisers with this year’s show integrating new event tech throughout the exhibition, education sessions, networking and live experiences.
The show recorded its largest ever number of event tech exhibitors, with EventMobi, DoubleDoutch, etouches and Cvent joined by newcomers Bravura Technologies and Event Tech Tribe. Evenesis, Brogent and EventOPS were among those representing Asia Pacific.
Another prominent addition to the Tech Pavilion was the new Tech Café, which showcased emerging event technology by providing a dedicated space for presentations and demonstrations, and gave buyers the chance to “try before they buy”.
“I’ve come to IMEX in Frankfurt with an open mind, I want to discover new ideas about various aspects of holding events – ranging from furniture to technology,” said Susanne Majer, Event Manager at Deutsch Bank. “After all, you never know where the next idea will come from. I want to find out what tech is new on the market and can help to address regulations across various sectors.”
A new Live Zone showcased experiential suppliers such as giant ice-breakers Mister Piano and Dundu puppets. Planners visiting the new Zone were also able to try out gadgets and games and take part in pop-up events including Speed Networking in the Zeus Coworking Campus.
Planners could also meet for informal discussions on AI at the new Chat Bar located in a new multimedia pop-up room – the ‘G-Tainer’. Successes and failures were shared as people discussed their own AI experience.
The TECHknowledge Area, led by The Meeting Pool, proved popular with planners wanting to trial new solutions and troubleshoot their tech challenges. Tara Thomas from The Meeting Pool, said: "Our one-to-one consulting sessions have shown a real demand for different types of tech designed to drive the event experience, including much interest in VR and AR."
Thomas also led a session on ‘How to host a tech bar to drive value at events’, which gave step-by-step guidance on providing a variety of tech education scenarios to delegates.
Gamification, audience engagement, security and AI were also hot topics. Diego Moreira, a hosted buyer from Dagaz Convention and Incentive Travel, Brazil: said: “I’m primarily after tech to boost delegate engagement, both before and during an event. I think it has a valuable role to play in helping people to connect and network at events. It also helps us as a business to go paperless – supporting our sustainable aims.”
The regular #IMEXpitch fixture received a makeover, moving from a competition to a showcase of suppliers sharing their innovations with planners keen for a snapshot of the latest tech startups.
Clementine Lemiegre at exhibitor Evenium, said: “We’re here at IMEX in Frankfurt to showcase our event app ConnexMe, which helps planners to deliver better presentations, boost interactivity and enable networking among participants.
"There’s no substitute for showing planners face-to-face how a product or solution works – they can then easily see how the technology could make their life easier. We’ve found that many planners are interested in how tech can drive delegate engagement and also better manage event registration. The next big thing in the technology space will be VR.”
Education sessions held at the show’s Inspiration Hub covered chatbots, event data and future tech trends among other topics.