Connect with us

Thought Leaders

How Will AI Revolutionise the Events Industry?

There are AI optimists and AI pessimists, but what everyone agrees on is that AI will be transformative. From generating ideas for screenwriters to crunching vast amounts of data for analysts, it has countless diverse uses. But what will it mean for the events industry?

Event Planning

AI has a critical role to play in event planning, and as anyone who works in events will tell you, it’s very hard work. The satisfaction will come on the day, when the event goes off without a hitch. But for a long time beforehand, your nose is to the grindstone. Using AI, planners can dramatically simplify this process. They can organise seating layouts according to past data or attendee choices, gathered through a form. AI, in the form of a tool like EventCollab, can help you analyse and manage your budget.

Consider the analogy of a conductor orchestrating a symphony. Just as the conductor ensures each instrument is played at the right time and in harmony with others, AI in event planning ensures that all elements of an event—seating, budgeting, scheduling—work seamlessly together. This orchestration leads to a well-coordinated event where every detail, from guest lists to vendor arrangements, aligns perfectly, ensuring the event runs smoothly and efficiently.

Planners can also lean on AI to create landing pages, emails, and social media content to promote the event, and integrate a smart chatbot to field any questions attendees or potential attendees might have. And event planners with an international audience, or planners who want to reach an international audience, can use AI to translate content easily into other languages. Imagine having a multilingual assistant who can fluently switch between languages, ensuring that your message is clear and understood by a global audience, thereby broadening the event's reach and impact.

Increased Personalisation

One really valuable use of AI in an events context is personalisation. When you’re planning an event for thousands of people, individualising the experience can be difficult. AI, however, can help event organisers provide personalised recommendations to attendees based on their stated interests. It could direct an attendee to a talk about something they’ve expressed an interest in or a structured mentoring session if one of their goals is connected to mentoring and support.

Imagine attending a massive conference and receiving a tailored itinerary just for you—highlighting sessions, workshops, and networking opportunities that align with your professional interests and personal preferences. This level of personalisation, facilitated by AI, enhances the attendee's experience, making them feel valued and understood. Needless to say, personalisation is incredibly valuable. Done well, it always improves customer or user satisfaction and loyalty. It also creates a more immersive event experience for the person.

Smart Venue Management

The Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) is the name sometimes given to the marriage of AI and the Internet of Things – the network of physical objects embedded with sensors and software for the purposes of receiving and transmitting data. In more everyday language, IoT is why the light goes on when you enter a dark room. AI supercharges this idea. It can be used for smart venue management: optimising heating, lighting, and ventilation. Sensors can be used to help manage crowd flow and prevent too many people from gathering in one space.

Think of AIoT as the invisible coordinator of your event, continually monitoring and adjusting the environment to ensure optimal comfort and safety. By automatically regulating factors like temperature and lighting, AIoT creates a more pleasant and energy-efficient venue. Furthermore, by analysing real-time data from sensors, it can swiftly address potential issues such as overcrowding, enhancing the overall event experience and safety.

Deeper Integration

AI doesn’t just combine with IoT. It can be integrated with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to create virtual event spaces and experiences, allowing guests who can’t make an event in person to experience it nonetheless. It can make the whole event more interactive for those who do attend: AR is now used all the time by brands, event organisers and even museum and gallery creators to offer people an experience that’s more multi-dimensional and distinct. New AR use cases are appearing all the time.

Imagine attending a virtual conference where you can ‘walk' through the venue, interact with other attendees, and participate in sessions as if you were there in person. This integration of AI with VR and AR breaks down geographical barriers, making events accessible to a wider audience and providing an engaging, immersive experience that rivals physical attendance.

Ethical Considerations

But a word of warning. As I’ve written about elsewhere, AI is not perfect. Its in-built biases have been widely discussed. And that’s why we should be cautious about embedding it too quickly and too deeply into our lives. A technology this powerful should reflect the whole human community, not just the demographic those who design and build it belong to. In an event context, it’s important that organisers have their eyes open, that they’re transparent with attendees about how they use AI, and that they make sure all AI applications are accessible and inclusive.

Consider the analogy of a powerful tool, like a precision instrument—it can be incredibly useful but also requires careful handling to ensure it functions correctly. AI is similar in its potential for both great benefit and harm. Event organisers must ensure they use AI responsibly, being mindful of biases and striving to create an inclusive and fair experience for all attendees. Transparency and ethical considerations should be at the forefront of AI implementation in the events industry.

The Future

AI has the potential not just to improve events, but to revolutionise them. It can free organisers from repetitive or menial tasks so they can think creatively and strategically about how to provide the best possible experience for their attendees. It can help on the day to optimise the conditions at the venue and provide each attendee with an individualised experience that helps them to make the most of their attendance and get value for money. It can bring the event experience into the homes of people who can’t make an event in person. And we can absolutely expect that further uses for AI will emerge as the technology develops.

Imagine AI as the diligent backstage crew in a theatre production, managing all the behind-the-scenes tasks so that the directors and actors can focus on delivering a stellar performance. By automating administrative tasks, AI allows event organisers to concentrate on crafting memorable and impactful experiences. So long as organisers are mindful of AI’s limitations, and always put the well-being of their attendees first, we can expect events that are more comfortable, more secure, more personal, and more immersive. And that can only be a good thing.

In conclusion, AI stands poised to revolutionise the events industry by enhancing efficiency, personalisation, and overall experience. From smart planning tools and personalised attendee experiences to advanced venue management and ethical considerations, AI offers a multitude of benefits that, when harnessed responsibly, can transform events into unforgettable, inclusive experiences. As we move forward, the key will be balancing innovation with mindfulness, ensuring that AI serves as a powerful ally in creating exceptional events.

Michaela Jeffery-Morrison is the Founder & Managing Director of the Women in Technology World Series at Techoraco. Michaela is widely respected as a DEI pioneer, a champion of historically underrepresented communities, and the creator of a global movement that is connecting, empowering and inspiring women in the tech sector.