26th June 2008

Delegates expect conferences to boast the best technology

Where once a quiet room and a flipchart may have sufficed, the events and conferencing industry of today is increasingly. . .

<p>Where once a quiet room and a flipchart may have sufficed, the events and conferencing industry of today is increasingly taking on board the latest communications technologies which, though they may cost millions to develop, ultimately offer end-users significant savings and additional benefits. </p><p>Indeed, such is the prevalence of high-spec technology in major conferences and events that organisers risk damaging their reputation by trying to cut corners and rely on old-fashioned communications tools. </p><p>In short, it pays to stay on top of such advances, often in spite of the relatively high short-term costs. </p><p>Significantly, most delegates will expect to see some form of modern communications technology in use at an event they attend. </p><p>A recent study carried out by Genesys Conferencing found that, of the French, German and British firms polled, over 60 per cent have already incorporated an element of video and/or web collaboration into their audio conferencing capabilities. </p><p>The research also revealed that this proportion increases to 69 per cent among businesses employing in excess of 1,000 staff, and 83 per cent of companies with at least 3,000 workers. </p><p>What's more, the UK is currently leading the way when it comes to adopting multimedia conferencing tools, with one in four of the British firms polled saying that they use such tools on a daily basis and around half on a weekly basis. </p><p>Such a policy has a number of advantages when it comes to hosting a conference. </p><p>Primarily, of course, there are the potential financial savings, with technologies such as web conferencing and voice over internet protocol telephony significantly cheaper than a traditional phone line to another part of the country or the world. </p><p>Additionally, making use of conferencing technology can also allow an event to be split over more than one location, potentially giving guests the ability to contribute from afar and thereby reduce their overheads and carbon footprint. </p><p>As Malcolm Sheppard, a researcher for GILL Technologies, explains: "Company representatives may now promote their product or service and present business proposals to remote clients without need for actual travel and the incident expenses of lodging and utilities. </p><p>"Aside from money, the company's time is also used more efficiently since scheduling conferences over the phone can be done by just dialing the phone. This can be used in conjunction with Web conferences as well."</p><p>Just as with location finding and booking guests and delegates, so too must conference organisers adopt a common sense approach to such communications technology. </p><p>As the above figures show, business users are tuned into the importance of conferencing systems and therefore hiring equipment well in advance is crucial in order to avoid last-minute disappointment. </p><p>Likewise, someone may be an excellent speaker or motivator but be technologically clueless, meaning it may be necessary to call on specialist help in order to prevent a major embarrassment – and again, this needs to be done as far in advance as possible. </p><p>Of course, it seems unlikely that anything will take the place of actual face-to-face meetings and networking, no matter how seamless online links to the other side of the world are. </p><p>That said, however, as competition for attracting delegates and leading experts remains as strong as ever, organisers who fail to bring their conferences into the 21st century miss losing out in the long-run.<img alt="ADNFCR-1753-ID-18656594-ADNFCR" src="http://feeds.directnews.co.uk/feedtrack/justcopyright.gif?feedid=1753&it..." /></p>