Social Tables predict that in 20 years’ time, event planning will be automated, whereby dates of events will be picked based on your target audience and the business model will evolve into a subscription-based one with monthly/annual fees like that of Netflix. They also say virtual audiences will become the norm and custom event apps will disappear.

If this is the reality in 20 years’ time, what becomes of traditional face-to-face meetings? Will the value of these increase because of the proliferation of technology or will the role of technology go the way of the MiniDisc player and be obsolete before its time?

Despite Google shelving its Glass technology, Apple will be debuting its wearable Watch tech at the end of April. The device is billed as enhancing the relationship people have with technology, taking personable to the next level where conversations are not just a text message on screen, it is real-time sketch and tap patterns that act as notifications, all “tailored for your wrist”. Whilst the capability of the Apple Watch is astounding, does something like this have a place in events? Going back to the example of event apps, these have only just begun to take off, with event organisers adopting this next generation of data analytics to stay ahead of the curve. However, the reality is uptake from the audience is slow. At a recent trade event, one mobile event app provider demonstrated the power of its technology and how beneficial it can be to the event organiser and customisable, personable touch it has to enhance the user experience. There was no denying the valuable insights and conversations the app captured, however it will only work if a considerable number of people attending the event downloaded the app and actively used it. Another drawback was that the functionality of it was much like Facebook and Twitter which then begged the question, why download yet another app to use in the capacity of social media? How personable then is it?

Audience engagement will only be optimised if the face-to-face element is there. Making the experience personable can be achieved with the use of technology, but it cannot replace the human aspect and the impact it has on a person’s experience at an event, or how messages are amplified and received at the point in time.

With technology so prevalent in people’s lives, and wouldn’t it be nice to switch off and just be in the moment?