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Location intelligence and the conference industry

Convene Magazine is the official publication of the Professional Convention Management Association.

In their December 2009 issue, they have part 2 of their annual technology forecast : how will technology continue to shake up the meetings and convention industry.

My prediction focuses on the impact of location intelligence on the industry; here’s what I wrote:

With the meeting and convention industry still all abuzz about the impact of Twitter, a far more dramatic and far-reaching trend is soon upon us, with the impact of what has come to be known as location intelligence

Let’s put it this way: in the next several years, many of the things that surround us in our daily lives will become linked into the ever pervasive network. I often joke on stage that one day I’ll get on my weigh scale, and it will proceed to send an email to my fridge if I happen to skew in terms of weight gain.

This trend is unfolding now: in my home and ski chalet, I have thermostats that have their own Web page and Internet connectivity. Link that trend to mobile applications, and we’re not too far away from a day when my iPhone might sense that I’m getting close to home, and will turn the heat on automatically.

What does this have to do with the future of meetings? We’re entering an era where delegates cell phones will sense when friends are nearby, and will spontaneously organize a social get-together. Planners will use applications which will pull together spur-of-the-moment topic sessions when a certain number of attendees fitting a profile approach a particular room. We’ll have automatic, interactive maps that will help us track the flow of folks through a trade show floor, giving us the opportunity to dynamically adjust the layout to better steer the crowd toward a key sponsors booth.

Location intelligence is likely the biggest of the many waves that are already impacting the industry — and it will be here sooner than you think.

It’s a timely topic. I’ll be the keynote speaker for the International Association of Conference Centers annual conference in March 2010, speaking to the trends that will impact this all-important industry.


  • Convene Magazine technology predictions
  • IACC 2010″ with a keynote by Jim Carroll

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