Who needs people when you’ve got smart technology?
There is nothing else quite like it. Deadlines are looming and you can’t ask for an extension like you could back at school (although I may have tried this once too often with my teachers!)
It doesn’t matter whether you’re organising the Olympic Games or the local village fête, once the date has been announced there is no way of going back. The impact of cancelling or postponing an event can be felt for years afterwards.
There is so much to do in the run-up to the event and there will always be that one thing that happens last minute as you race to get everything shipshape before opening time.
So is technology the answer to all our problems?
We are forever being told that it is; that it will do tasks for you and reduce your costs at the same time. But precisely that notion, in my opinion, is a key misconception that is the biggest culprit for the misuse, and ultimately distrust, of technology among event organisers.
To illustrate my point I’ll give you an example from another industry. Over the last few years, the Border Force in the UK have been introducing eGates – you know, those gates you see at the airport where you can scan your passport, and all your information is analysed through a computer that decides whether to let you into the country – a fantastic piece of technology, I think most people would agree.
Both the USA and Canada have also introduced the eGate system over the last couple of years, but interestingly they’ve had significantly more success with it. Why? Because their technology strategy is very different. On the other side of the pond, the technology assists the border official by removing the administrative tasks while allowing the official to make any decisions, focussing their time on the skills that only a human can possess; intuition, years of experience and that gut feeling.
In the UK on the other hand, the technology has been brought in to replace the falling numbers of Border Officials, and as a result it’s been plagued with issues.
In a nutshell, the two contrasting strategies for using technology are:
- to replace the individual
- to assist and enhance the individual
A long anecdote, but hopefully the relevance to the event industry is made clear by this example.
People are at their most effective when they’re being supported by technology. When people and technology work in unison the results can be outstanding. When one is favoured at the expense of the other, it’s likely that efficiency will suffer.
Event technology has moved on massively over the last couple of years, whether it be mobile apps, interactive floorplans or event websites. These tools will significantly improve the relationship between your event and your delegates while giving you, the event organiser, more time to focus on your most important tasks and key issues – as long as you use them to assist you and not to do the job for you, of course.
Right, that’s enough from me – I’ve got deadlines to meet!