In this event tech podcast summary, Michelle Bruno, Strategic Consultant with Dahlia+ Agency and President of Bruno Group Signature Services, and Nick Borelli, Director of Marketing Growth with Allseated, discuss the role of event tech in Trade Show News Network’s ‘Trade Show Talk’ podcast.
What do you see as the role of event tech?
Michelle Bruno: I don’t care if it’s a mobile app or a metaverse platform. At the end of the day, it should be automating a process, doing things faster, better than a human could do, so it makes space for human potential, human thought… In a nutshell, I think it’s a workhorse.
Nick Borelli: They’re never going to automate creativity. Creativity, innovation, and non-linear connections are things that technology should exist to facilitate humans doing. The output of coming together is change. If change hasn’t happened already, it means there’s a creative solution that needs to come into being. If technology can get rid of all the clutter, it allows humans to be creative agents.
Michelle Bruno: Humans can always redefine creativity. We can always change the rules. Technology can’t do that. We’ll always be in charge for that reason.
Nick Borelli: I’m designing events where I don’t necessarily know what the outcome is going to be, specifically. The outcome should be broadly defined. The specifics, that’s the magic. That’s when you have an event or an experience design that’s next level. Something came into being that wouldn’t have come into being in an automated way. It’s our job, in the events world, to create safe spaces for those things to happen. When the right people come together around an idea, you get something that technology couldn’t come up with. Evolution and change require you to embrace some of the things that event planners fear the most – which are the most important – risk taking and not necessarily designing every moment [of an event].
Do you think we’ve taken steps forward in the last two years, or was it just forced change due to circumstances?
Michelle Bruno: The two years during COVID, having the specific constraints that we had, was a breeding ground for creativity. We had no other option, but to be as creative as possible. Now that we’re back, and some of the constraints have been lifted, I think we’ve, in a sense, reverted to pre-COVID thinking, and that makes me sad.
Nick Borelli: I’m also sad about that. I’ve had different phases of dealing with this. I don’t mind pain if the pain is for growth. What causes evolution is constraints, and we had those constraints, but if the pain was needless pain, then it’s a real waste. Perhaps the reversion back to 2019-style events is because of constraints on assets, budget and also a period of ‘let’s embrace all the things we couldn’t just have. Planners, unfortunately, were shown how to do all of these amazing things, but they weren’t given assets after that took place. It’s not that they don’t understand how to execute a virtual event, or they don’t see the value in virtual events now, it’s giving people the skills, but saying you can’t use them.
What is the metaverse?
Nick Borelli: The metaverse is the next generation of the Internet. It’s inevitable. It’s happening right now. Every tech company worth anything is investing in it. This new generation of the Internet [Web 3, the metaverse] is really going to leverage experiences. In the current iteration (Web 2), platforms own your data, use your data and take advantage of it. In Web 3, everyone has access and ownership to elements of what they bring to the table. You’ll see elements like decentralized commerce and more of a creator economy. We’re in the emerging metaverse. You’re in a three-dimensional environment. It’s the difference between designing an experience and designing a website.
Michelle Bruno: It [the metaverse] represents the migration from a world that has so many limitations, especially in events. We’re migrating into a place that, virtually, has no limits. There are infinite directions in which to go. If we can work out the tension between infinity and constraints, there’s room for tremendous impact on our industry and the world.
Also, the metaverse is literally changing the chemistry in your brain. Your thoughts start to believe that you’re in another place, that you’re doing something that you can’t normally do outside of the metaverse. When you open that door, there are so many things to think about. So many problems that didn’t have solutions before can now be solved. It’s mind-blowing.
Also, the dark side, the danger, there will be so many experiments and untested realities that could be damaging to young minds, especially. As an industry, as we embrace this, we also have to put the brakes on certain types of things, experiences, and outcomes.
As we go forward, and I agree with Nick, it’s absolutely inevitable. It’s already happening. There are just many things to be mindful of. If there’s any organization that has in-person events, virtual events, or hybrid events, whatever you want to call them, that’s not thinking seriously about this iteration, they’ll be out of the game in five to 10 years.
What are you most excited about within the meetings and events industry?
Nick Borelli: HR. internal events are so valuable right now. There’s so much pain. Call it the war for talent, the great resignation, the remote work paradigm. Those things aren’t going away. it’s a place where experience design can be the hero of the day.
Michelle Bruno: What excites me most as a creator, is there’s this new array of tools and things to think about that support personal autonomy and personal creativity. This is a tremendously exciting time… for creators to move forward with much more advanced skills and tools.
Want more? Listen to the full podcast.
(guessing the link to the podcast will change when it moves to the previous episodes section on the TSNN site. Do we want to download and link somewhere else?)
Backed by more than a decade of innovation, Allseated sets the standard in 3D virtual reality solutions and digital experiences for the events industry. Allseated powers virtual and hybrid events for some of the world’s leading corporations. In 2022, the company launched Meetaverse, a platform that makes it easy to create a corporate metaverse that your entire organization will love. Allseated.com.