Surekha Ragavan
Apr 12, 2018

Why business event centres must adapt in the digital economy

AIPC president Aloysius Arlando on the need for centres to be digitally enabled.

Why business event centres must adapt in the digital economy

Digitisation in the conferences and exhibitions market is an inevitable reality. But what centres are still grappling with is how to translate the importance of digitisation to concrete value propositions for clients, according to Aloysius Arlando, president of International Association of Congress Centres (AIPC) and CEO of SingEx.

In an interview with CEI Asia at DestinASEANplus2018 in Jakarta, Arlando emphasised that centres need to first understand that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to providing digital services.

“The adoption of tech among different clients vary, and that’s where centres will need to be truly flexible in terms of the provision of digital or technological services. We can’t presume that there’s a similar digital adoption across companies,” he said.

At a basic level, centres must provide WiFi, but must also provide scalability to personalise clients’ needs. “You need to be able to scale the needs of WiFi as more digital solutions come on board and there is more pervasive use of tech whether in terms of AR or VR,” Arlando said.

For instance, tech companies will likely depend on AR or VR to showcase their products, so digital services must be able to scale to support them.

Arlando added that traditional speaker-listener experiences are not going to be predominant features as attendees engage with and consume data differently. Listeners will concurrently listen to the presentation and digest information directly through their devices, such as by posting a photo on Instagram or exchanging the information with a colleague who isn't there.

“You want to keep them going and encourage that. Basically, it’s a non-liner experience,” he said.

For centres to learn about tech offerings in the events landscape, Arlando suggests they learn about what’s being offered on local shores before looking elsewhere. “It will be useful to go and meet up with [local] tech associations, to understand them better. Nothing beats learning about what’s already in your backyard,” he said.

On the matter of data, he said that industry players in the region are still undergoing “a journey of discovery”, especially with the impending GDPR. “We are in a business of data management. But the question is: What does it mean in what context? What exactly are we going after?” he said. “This is why it’s important to know your business space, and to know your strengths.”

DestinASEANplus 2018 was held in Jakarta on April 10 and 11 at the Indonesia Convention Exhibition (ICE). The event saw international buyers and sellers convene for scheduled appointments and business forums, and featured speakers from the World PCO Alliance. Next year's edition is slated to take place in Bandung. 


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