Steve - B&WEach month, we highlight a ‘Techspert’ from our team and take a closer look at their
background and experience in the events industry. This month we’re focusing on our CTO Steve Baxter…

What is your area of expertise at Eventsforce?

I’m the Chief Technical Officer for Eventsforce. My team and I look after the technical side of the business – product development, operations, technical support, training and client services. My background is software design and engineering, but I love getting involved across the business to ensure we deliver great products and services. I first started working with Eventsforce as a consultant in 2012 – when I was asked to join as a director in 2014 I jumped at the chance!

Tell us a little about your background in the events industry

Before Eventsforce my experience of events was mostly as an attendee – I spent 15 years building software for life science research, and went to a lot of scientific conferences. The last 3 years have been an amazing learning experience, the variety and complexity of the events industry is beyond anything I had imagined. It makes life very interesting as a software engineer in this business!

What recent tech development do you think has impacted the industry the most?

Mobile technology is having a huge impact – the ability to access event information (and even manage an event) while on the move has been a massive shift. Event apps have a valuable role to play (particularly for offline content or “active” features such as push messaging), but as connectivity becomes more and more ubiquitous at events I think responsive websites and web apps that work brilliantly across a range of screen sizes from smartphones to desktops will become the norm.

What are your predictions for the future of event technology?

It’s all about the data. Whether you are a membership organisation running events for members, an event agency running events for clients or a corporate running events for employees or customers, you need to measure your event ROI and show how your events are contributing to your business goals. High data quality, cross-event reporting and integration with other parts of the organisation are key to that.

I also think data security will continue to be a big issue. 2014 saw a record number of vulnerability disclosures – Heartbleed and POODLE were two that were covered extensively in the media, but there were many more. So far there have been no breaches involving the event industry (or at least none that have been publicly reported), but it’s likely to be only a matter of time. Security hardening (to prevent breaches) and data segregation (to limit the loss when a breach happens) will become more and more important.

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