Blog post

AI in Events

  • Posted by Tim South
  • on Friday March 3, 2017


In the news recently, there have been reports that the first piece of AI technology specifically for use in events has been officially launched - a networking solution tool aimed at matching visitors together or visitors with exhibitors based on their interests.  

While this sounds like it could be useful, it doesn’t sound like a true AI platform.  To be true Artificial Intelligence, the system needs to learn from data. Driverless cars, for instance., work by continually sending data from cars on the road to a central hub.  This allows cars fitted with AI technology to understand new situations and adapt their behaviour accordingly.  Therefore, it is actually ‘learning’ and only true AI is capable of this.

In this instance data in the form of user feedback would have to be constantly sent back to the central hub allowing it to ‘learn’ about the user's changing preferences.  In reality, this is an impractical process as visitors would not want to continually provide feedback at every stage.  In addition, events and visitor preferences change all the time, so what this system learns from one event may not be relevant at the same event a year later.   What we’re left with is a simple matchmaking application which, whilst useful, is quite a long way from true AI.

AI isn’t always able to revolutionise every aspect of an industry, and this is just one example within the events industry where AI may not work well.  So in what aspect of the industry could AI be used well?

Event Apps

AI could be used effectively to revolutionise the event app experience.  When people attend events, they need of a variety of information at their fingertips, such as; when and where is the next keynote speech taking place? Who is at this event that I can network with? What is the itinerary?  To date, event apps have attempted to tackle the task of providing this information, but have often left users feeling a little underwhelmed.  This has been due to many apps being overloaded with useless information, navigation difficulties and having to rely on poor event wifi.

AI has the potential to provide relevant targeted information on demand.  This could be in the form of a voice activated personal assistant such as Siri, Cortana, Alexa etc.


Final Thoughts

So it seems AI has potential in some areas of events, but my word of warning would be that people mustn’t get carried away and try and use it to revolutionise every aspect.  Its application has to be well thought out.

We may well see more AI solutions coming to the event industry in the near future, but I feel that they are likely to be a long way behind the likes of driverless cars and other industries currently pioneering the technology

What other applications could AI have within Events? When AI is done right, what might that look like? We’d love to know what you think.


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