As I reflect on the trajectory of the events industry, I can’t help but feel a twinge of frustration. Despite the leaps and bounds made in various other communication sectors with the integration of technology, the events industry seems to be lagging behind. It’s akin to watching a black-and-white TV in a world of 4K resolution.
For years, I’ve championed the use of technology in events. From leveraging innovative tools for seamless event management to enhancing attendee engagement, I’ve been a vocal advocate for pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Yet, time and again, I find myself confronted with the stark reality that the industry as a whole has been slow to embrace this digital revolution and regularly returns to type.
At the heart of this issue lies a fundamental disconnect between traditional event structures and the evolving expectations of modern audiences. We’re stuck in a rut, clinging to outdated formats that resemble more of a monologue than a dynamic exchange of ideas. It’s as if we’re still operating under the assumption that attendees are passive recipients of information rather than active participants in their own learning journey.
But here’s the thing: the world has changed. We live in an age where customisation and personalisation reign supreme. From tailored advertising to curated social media feeds, individuals have come to expect experiences that cater to their unique preferences and interests. Yet, when it comes to events, we’re still predominantly offering one-size-fits-all solutions that fail to capture the diverse needs of our audiences.
This lack of adaptation is not only frustrating; it’s also holding us back from realising the full potential of events as transformative experiences. Imagine if every delegate could embark on a journey tailored specifically to their learning style, interests, and objectives. Picture a world where technology seamlessly guides participants from the moment they receive their invitation to the post-event analysis, shaping every interaction along the way to maximize engagement and impact.
It’s a vision that I refuse to let go of, which is why I’ve made it my mission to spearhead change within the industry. With a recent £2.8 million investment secured for Live Group, we have the resources and the momentum to drive innovation forward. We’re not just talking about incremental improvements here; we’re talking about a paradigm shift in how events are conceptualised, structured, and executed.
From harnessing AI algorithms to personalize content delivery to creating immersive virtual and in-person experiences that provide the audience a sense of togetherness like never before, the possibilities are endless. We can’t afford to rest on our laurels or wait for others to catch up. The time for action is now, and I’m more determined than ever to lead the charge.
So to my fellow event professionals, I say this: let’s embrace technology not as a novelty, but as an indispensable tool for shaping the future of events. Let’s challenge the status quo, experiment with bold ideas, and push the boundaries of what’s possible. Together, we can create experiences that are not only memorable but truly transformative for every delegate who walks through our doors. The future of events is waiting, and it’s time for us to seize it with both hands.
Toby Lewis is CEO of Live Group, Over the past decade, Toby Lewis has transformed one of the most respected and most successful full service event agencies in the country into a leader in the field of stakeholder communications and the range of integrated digital technologies he developed has seen the Live Group win a clutch of coveted industry awards.
His advice on complex event projects both in the UK and abroad is prized by organisations ranging from Big Four Professional Services firms to HM Government departments, from NDPBs and charitable organisations to Associations.
In a climate where the event industry continues to experience swingeing budget cuts and where economic forecasts remain uncertain, Toby has bucked the trend and brought about a real renaissance in the company he leads. He is now working closely with clients to help them incorporate digital technologies into their long term communications strategies, achieving not only greater depth, breadth and clarity of engagement, but profound levels of responsiveness, understanding and behavioural change.