JAPA Meetings director, American Express Meetings & Events

An American Express study on virtual and mobile technologies revealed some interesting findings.

As a leading meetings management company, we speak with clients every day about integrating technology into their meetings – including use of mobile and virtual solutions. Among our clients’ questions are: What technology should we use? Who is using technology? When and why should technology be used? And how effective are these

mobile and virtual tools?

Earlier this year, we conducted a study on the current state of virtual and mobile technologies relative to meetings. Our Annual Meetings Forecast, to be released later this year, will provide more details but we thought we would share some of the most common responses to these questions now as a preview.

what technology is being used?

In Australia, many large companies have started to engage in discussions about how enterprise technology systems can support managing meetings as a strategic investment category. On an individual event level, mobile applications and text messaging programs are used. Early adopters are also testing virtual technology such as web-ex technologies, satellite broadcasting and virtual environment technologies to create hybrid virtual and in-person events.

who is using this technology?

Both corporate and association meeting planners and meeting owners have started experimenting with mobile and virtual technology with a higher proportion opting for the former option. With the majority of meeting planners estimating that nearly all of their attendees carry smart phones, whether work or personal, it is no wonder that mobile is an area of early adoption.

when are they using this technology?

Most meeting planners and meeting owners use mobile technology prior to their meeting or during the actual event. Mobile technology is perceived as having significantly higher value to meetings organisers managing larger events.

why are they using this technology?

Meeting planners are using mobile technology to connect with attendees in ways they could not do so before. They are using mobile technology to provide pre-meeting messages and managing on-site logistics. Items like allowing attendees to store and view their meeting agendas, meeting agenda alerts and reminders and security updates are often rated as the most important features.

how effective is this technology?

While mobile and virtual are in different stages of adoption for meetings and events, they are both relatively new and are still being explored so little data on measures of effectiveness exists. However, given the global proliferation of smart phones and virtual communication tools, there is no question that meeting planners have already started to think of ways to make these tools deliver on the meeting owner’s core objectives.

Email Danielle Puceta on Danielle_e_puceta@aexp.com or visit www.americanexpress.com/businesstravel