How to Leverage AI for Digital and In-Person Events

Corbin Ball explains how artificial intelligence will help enhance meetings in the years ahead.

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Artificial intelligence has the power to enhance digital and in-person events — without hitting the budget too hard, as detailed in the recent webcast "Top Technology Trends Transforming Events," presented by meetings technology expert Corbin Ball. During the presentation, hosted by videoconferencing platform BlueJeans by Verizon, Ball outlined three key technology shifts: the proliferation of virtual and hybrid platforms; deeper reliance on data analytics; and the use of AI to add value to events and exhibitions.

Artificial intelligence, also known as machine learning, "is the ability for computer systems to take tasks that normally require human intelligence," Ball explained. Following are some ways it can enhance meetings and events.

Voice Recognition

Familiar to anyone who's asked Siri for directions or Alexa to play a song, voice recognition has become one of the most popular applications of artificial intelligence in the consumer market — but has also proven of great value to meetings, as well.
 
It's used for real-time translation and transcription, which provides non-native speakers and the hearing impaired to understand presentations as they are happening. The translation app Wordly, for example, can simultaneously interpret what is being said into 15 different languages. Audio is captured by connecting directly to conference equipment, with audience members using their own devices to see and hear what is being discussed.
 
"It's a fraction of the cost of setting up translation booths in each room," said Ball. "It's not perfect in terms of voice recognition — I wouldn't use it for the United Nations — but I'd use it for lots of events." For digital events that target international audiences or that are working to ensure accessibility, he said, "this is type of technology that would really help."

Video Recap Software

CLIPr enables video time compression and search, gathering user data that helps the event organizer understand what viewers care about.
CLIPr enables video time compression and search, gathering user data that helps the event organizer understand what viewers care about. Photo Credit: CLIPr

As video has become more prevalent in events of all kinds, video recap software provides an effective way for attendees to get immediate value out of this content. The recent winner of the IBTM Technology Innovation Award, the software uses machine learning to analyze recorded video content, highlighting key topics, and allowing users to search and share.
 
Ball spotlighted the service CLIPr, which enables video time compression and search, providing attendees actionable insights — while also gathering user data that helps the event organizer understand what viewers care about. "The ability to go in and quickly search through a wealth of video and to quickly analyze it has significant applications for our events," he said.

Facial Recognition

Of particular relevance for in-person events, facial recognition technology can support event registration and provide valuable the analytics to organizers. Zenus, for example, identifies the emotional responses of individuals (anonymously to safeguard privacy) and will analyze, measure and optimize this data. As groups return to public spaces, the technology also allows for real-time tracking of occupancy levels and physical distancing. "You can get an account of the demographics of people in the audience — but also if they're paying attention, and whether they're engaged," said Ball.
 
Trade-show exhibitors can leverage the TrackMany smartphone for analytics on traffic flow per hour, per day, and attendees' average "dwell time." It also offers demographic details such as age, gender and sentiment. "You can see where people are looking and what are the engaging places in your booth," said Ball.

Matchmaking

"Virtual exhibitions have not gone that well in terms of connecting people in an effective manner," said Ball. "They need a better way of measuring who is coming in and what are their interests." AI can assist with this, drawing on information attendees provide during registration, or pulling details from their LinkedIn profile to effectively connect those with common interests. "This can be beneficial to attendees, to exhibitors or for VIPs," Ball said.