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Show Notes

Join us as we dive into the dynamic world of event technology with our new Vice President of Event Technology, Todd Moritz. With more than 20 years of experience in the events industry, Todd shares his insights and innovative approach to event tech, discussing how you can explore and navigate the event tech landscape. Topics include: 

  • The latest event tech trends
  • AI's influence and how to utilize AI safely
  • New tech tools
  • The future of event tech

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planners using event tech

Transcript

Host: 0:00 

Hi, and welcome to The Events Experience, where we take a deep dive into everything event planning. I work for Bishop- McCann, an agency devoted to creating JOY through meetings, incentives, and events for big name brands. On this podcast, myself and our company's experts will discuss all things events, so keep listening to hear all about the latest tips and trends for virtual, live, and hybrid events.   

Hi everyone! Today we are going to discuss the ever-changing event technology landscape. This is a timely topic for us here at Bishop-McCann because at the beginning of this year, we doubled down on our commitment to event tech by creating a position dedicated to technology. So joining us on this episode is our new Vice President of Event Technology, Todd Moritz. With more than 20 years of experience in the events industry, Todd will be able to share his insights and innovative approach to event tech. Thank you so much for joining us, Todd! 

Todd Moritz: 1:01 

Thanks so much for having me, Brenna! I'm happy to be here and really happy to be part of the Bishop-McCann family. 

Host: 1:05 

Yes, and we're so glad to have you as a part of the team. So to start this off, I thought you could tell us a little bit about your background in event technology and your plans as you step into this new role at Bishop-McCann. What do you hope to accomplish? 

Todd Moritz: 1:20 

So in terms of background, I have a pretty well-rounded background in technology in general. So most of my early events experience was really in content production. And then I detoured for a while into web development and design, where I helped build some of the first big websites on the internet. That was a long time ago. About six years ago, I completely shifted focus to events and event technology specifically, so I managed a technology startup that was focused on large-scale corporate events. And then transitioned agency side, where I consulted with clients to help architect technology solutions to really help them power their events (and these are some of the biggest events in the world), to create amazing attendee experiences, and reach new audiences using the tool set that I developed along the way. 

Then the past few years, I've been a speaker at industry events and a real advocate for innovation in the event tech space. So as far as my new role here at Bishop-McCann goes, it's really overseeing all technology, so it's both internal and external. We're starting at the core. We're evaluating the systems, the processes, and the tools that our associates use really day-to-day to help create amazing events. And we're also looking at tools for our clients and attendee-facing opportunities to leverage technology and really create JOY. 

Host: 2:27 

Love that it all ties back to creating JOY. Next, I thought we could talk about what everyone is always curious about and that's trends. What are you seeing as some of the latest trends in event technology? 

Todd Moritz: 2:41 

Well, I think clearly, everybody's talking about AI right now. And I mean, how can you not? But as an industry, I think event technology has really had a slow start at like post-2020 innovation. Everybody's talking about how AI tools are going to revolutionize the platform space. But from where I'm sitting, there's not much really happening with the platforms themselves outside of a few notable exceptions. So what is being done, though, isn't necessarily happening in those platforms, but it's things like dynamic transcription and localization of content. It's AI-enabled, real-time audience analytics tools, and in external research and design tools that we all have access to now that can save us time and help us focus more on those attendee experiences. So I think over time, those ancillary tools, they're going to get better and better. I mean, they're getting better every day. So then we can automate processes like ballroom layouts, basic design, writing tasks, and eventually even coding tools that can enable non-technical folks to do things that they never even imagined they could do. 

So I'm far more excited about the potential of AI than what we can do with the tools that are out there now. It's a really interesting time to be in the middle of it all and to watch that kind of innovation happening in real time. So I know you asked for trends, plural, but I think in the advent of AI, that's pretty much overshadowing everything else. And I think what's going to happen in the near future is that AI is going to enable a new wave of trends that will affect us from here on out. So I don't know what they are specifically, but that's what's so great about being right here, right now. 

Host: 4:06 

So obviously, as you've just said, AI is going to be something we'll continue to want to watch. But given the recent surge in AI utilization, many people have expressed reservations about using the technology. What measures are we implementing to ensure safe AI usage, and what would you tell those who are wary of using it? 

AI event technology

Todd Moritz: 4:27 

So I think the biggest two things to be concerned about, and that's aside from just the learning curve for all of us using the actual tools, are really accuracy and privacy. So when it comes to content, AI can draft things for you really quickly, but you need to look at that output and verify that it's accurate. So most of these research and design tools, they rely on data sets from the past, and they're really only as good as the data that's been fed into them. So sometimes that output is really good, but sometimes it's not. And you have to be careful. 

But I think privacy is the other real concern. Anything you put into an AI system potentially becomes part of that system. So you have to follow guidelines like not using PII (personally identifiable information) or any attendee data, not mentioning client or program names, and no personal information. It's a fine line sometimes, so you really need to proceed with caution if you're using those publicly available tools. I think when you start looking at large amounts of data coming from the platforms where we're generating reporting, you have to make sure that that data is anonymized before you work with any of it. A good rule of thumb is that if you aren't 100% certain that your data is anonymous, don't use AI to process it. Just use common sense. 

Host: 5:31 

Right. So are there any common challenges that you face when it comes to the tech side of the events industry? Any solutions that you're hoping to implement in this new role? 

Todd Moritz: 5:42 

So like I mentioned a little earlier, we really need to be seeing more innovation out there, and I've been saying this for years. The event tech space - I think the event planning space in general - we're a really close-knit group, which is amazing for us and amazing for our clients. But when you're that close, it's sometimes hard to see things outside the industry that we could be using to do new things in new ways. So one thing I learned in my startup days is that unless you have somebody willing to refer you into someone inside the event community, you're going to have a hard time making a real impact or getting inside. So I try to keep my eyes open for other general tech tools and trends out there that we can bring into the fold and do things that we've never even thought of. 

In this role specifically, I'd like to build our own suite of AI tools to serve our own specific purpose and then share how we're doing things with the wider community to inspire them. We're also actively pursuing partnerships with some amazing people in technology tools that we'll talk about down the road to help shape and influence some of what I'm talking about in terms of ushering in new partners. I don't want to give too much away, but things are happening now that will be revealed at the right time. 

Host: 6:42 

Awesome! So are there any specific tools or types of tech that you're keeping an eye on right now? 

Todd Moritz: 6:50 

So there's a company called Zenus that's getting a lot of attention right now, and they're a perfect example of leveraging technology from outside the industry. And they're creating some real incredible buzz. What they do is facial analytics. That means they can measure things like facial expressions and know if someone is male or female, they can know their age, and they generate anonymous data showing engagement at events. Now it's important to note that it's anonymous. This is not facial recognition. This is facial analytics. But they also do things like monitoring traffic patterns and qualifying leads in expo-style environments to help optimize audience flow and generate more ROI for their clients. It's all AI-based, it's all anonymous, and you're going to be seeing them all over the place at events going forward. 

Host: 7:31 

So beyond the new tools that we can expect to see, where do you see the future of event technology heading in the next few years? 

Todd Moritz: 7:40 

So I think the biggest opportunity for right now is leveraging and harnessing data. For years we've been capturing all this data at events, but I don't think as event marketers we're using that data to its full potential. So soon we're going to have the tools to take that data, we can analyze it in real time, and build customized experiences for attendees as they're moving through our physical spaces. For these past few years, the notion of personalization is something that's been talked about. But I see that going to a whole new level. 

Host: 8:07 

Finally, what advice would you give event planners who would like to leverage technology to enhance their events? 

Todd Moritz: 8:15 

I think most important is just be curious. You know, seek out more information and share what you see and what you know. I think it's that sharing that just makes us all stronger and better at what we do. And ask questions. Don't be shy about it. I know that goes without saying that most event planners I've met are not the least bit shy and not afraid to ask questions. And you know, if you haven't tried doing research with things like ChatGPT or Gemini, get on it. Carve out some time to explore and experiment. And if you're an event planner at Bishop-McCann, keep your eyes peeled for a few special things that might be coming your way soon. 

Host: 8:48 

Well, that all sounds super exciting, and I can't wait to see what's to come! Thank you so much for joining the podcast and providing your insights into event technology. 

Todd Moritz: 8:58 

Thank you so much for having me! 

Host: 9:00 

Thanks for tuning in to this episode of The Events Experience. Don't forget to subscribe to our podcast, and create JOY wherever you go!  

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