Artificial Intelligence (AI) is: the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.
AI is rapidly developing and has a growing impact on both our work lives and our leisure time. But how does AI effect the events industry and how can it contribute towards event success?
Chances are you are already using AI without even realising it. At a quotidian level, AI is present when we ask our Amazon Alexa device for the weather forecast, and when we ask Siri to make a phone call to a friend. This latter use is easily transferable to the events industry. Some of your delegates may already be using voice recognition technology to add an event to their calendar and/or to seek directions to the venue. Event planners can take this a step further by integrating voice recognition technology with their events app. This enables delegates to locate specific breakout sessions or to find out when the next coffee break will be served, all in one place!
According to Business Insider, 80% of businesses plan to be using chatbots by 2020 and the events industry is no exception. A chatbot is essentially a computer programme that can engage in either written or oral conversations, thus proving a useful tool for events of all sizes. Event planners can create chatbots that engage with their attendees and answer specific questions they may have in the lead-up to the event. Response time is almost instantaneous and the chatbot can operate 24/7, particularly useful when planning events on a global scale and needing to communicate with delegates in multiple time zones. Chatbots can also facilitate group chats among prospective delegates in advance of the event, therefore increasing engagement and facilitating networking.
One of the key benefits of AI in the events industry, is its ability to personalise recommendations for event planners, attendees, exhibitors and sponsors. From the offset, event planners can use intelligent platforms such as Styckie to assist them with their venue finding. Styckie uses an algorithm to source ideal vendors in specific locations based on a comprehensive set of event requirements.
Further down the line, at the live event stage, AI matchmaking engines such as Grip can be used to enhance the attendees’ experience and ensure that all interaction is as meaningful as possible. Smart matchmaking tools analyse a delegate’s profile - their goals, interests and social media data – in order to curate personalised recommendations for them in terms of insightful breakout sessions to attend, key people to meet and useful products to explore. Attendees can choose to schedule meetings prior to the event as well as indicating when they are not interested in the recommendations supplied by the system, which helps improve the next set of recommendations.
Learning and evaluation
The benefits of AI extend post-event too, through "deep learning”. Deep learning relies on pattern recognition, meaning that it can interpret data, add an element of reasoning and subsequently recommend new actions based on that reasoning. In an events context, this could mean using the technology to read registration and footfall data to anticipate the logistical requirements needed for next year’s venue. These judgements rely on a back catalogue of historic events data, as well as onsite feedback. A further example of how engaging with AI simply serves to develop and improve the technology and so allows us to reap even more of its benefits in future.