19th March 2014

ESSA takes first steps towards 'Big Data'

The Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA), a trade association representing contractors and suppliers of goods and services to the exhibition industry, is ramping up its campaign to make sense of the ocean of data generated by the registration and data firms serving the event industry.

The Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA), a trade association representing contractors and suppliers of goods and services to the exhibition industry, is ramping up its campaign to make sense of the ocean of data generated by the registration and data firms serving the event industry.

The association has formed a Data/Registration working group, whose first meeting at the Event Production Show in February brought competing firms together to collaborate for the benefit of the industry at large. At the meeting, the group was charged with bringing together the many disparate databases they hold on behalf of event organisers into a unified whole. The working group comprises representatives from seven leading data and registration companies, namely Datalead, GES, Interchange Communications, LiveBuzz, N200, RefTech and Show Data Systems.

Chris Skeith, ESSA director, explained the rationale behind the group's formation and its initial goals: "Events generate huge amounts of data, which is collected, controlled and analysed by the data and registration firms for their customers, the event organisers. This data is immensely valuable to organisers, and they are quite rightly protective of it, but this working group is looking at ways of aggregating the data without compromising the organisers commercial interests, and then using that 'anonymised' data to build up a deep and detailed picture over time, encompassing the whole event industry in the UK.

"I'm immensely gratified by the superb reponse from our members, who represent the cutting edge of data and registration services, and proud of the way in which they have collaborated so freely for the benefit of not just ESSA members, but potentially the whole industry. The invaluable support from the Association of Event Venues (AEV), Association of Event Organisers (AEO) and the Event Industry Alliance (EIA) has been instrumental in making this initiative possible, and demonstrates just what can be achieved with cross-association projects."