How to Build New Technologies Into Your Meetings

When it comes to adopting new technologies, do you take a wait-and-see stance — or do you plunge right in?

Man with signs, concept of web, internet, technology.

Peter Hanley, president and COO of the event-technology company, discusses both approaches during “Technology to Build Efficiencies,” the newest video for The Intersection, presented by PCMA and PSAV.

For Hanley — whose nickname is the BlackBerry Guy (he still uses that device) — fear can actually be “a good thing” when it comes to constantly evolving technologies. “I wish more people were afraid to ‘touch and click’ these days, due to security and privacy issues,” Hanley says in the video. “I don’t think they’re always aware of where their data is going and what’s happening to their personal information.”

That said, a sense of experimentation can lead to better use of technology — for instance, greater personalization. “Use the resources you have to understand what’s out there,” Hanley says. “Don’t be so shielded or so protected that you aren’t constantly asking questions and constantly getting new ideas.”

Mark Dominguez, technology project manager for sales and marketing events at Intel Corporation, agrees in part. “Should meeting planners be fearful of technology? No way, not for one second,” Dominguez said in an interview with Convene. “It’s going to yield efficiencies for your events and possibly open up new markets, capabilities, client experiences, and make life a little easier for event planners, agencies, and venues.”

But Dominguez doesn’t mince words for those who treat the technology for their event as rote, or as an afterthought. “If you choose to underfund it, understaff it, or try to make it do something it wasn’t intended to do,” he said, “then you need to be very fearful, because you’ve just set yourself up for a catastrophic and possibly career-limiting failure.”

Although Dominguez quipped that “when you lead, you bleed — so early adopters can expect bumps,” he has a tried-and-true “risk-rewards analysis” about when to move forward with a new technology. “It has to have a tangible, positive impact on the attendee experience, and the scope, schedule, or budget of the event,” Dominguez said. “At the end of the day, if the attendees themselves are not happy with the event, then you’ve failed.”

In the video, Hanley echoes this: “Don’t let IT get in the way of relationships — use it for limiting manual tasks and building efficiencies.”


Corin Hirsch

Corin Hirsch is associate editor of Convene.