In this month’s round-up of top tech stories, we look at a new Airbnb tool that allows people to book meeting spaces outside the usual hotel conference room.  We also look at a Bluetooth-enabled messaging app which can help attendees connect in event spaces that have poor or unreliable mobile coverage.  We also have some great tips on how to get your video event marketing right, as well as what security issues you need to think about in light of the recent data breach incidents we’ve seen in our industry.  Lastly for a bit of fun, we look at what we may be seeing a lot more of in the future – the Human Uber!

Have a look at what you may have missed:

Skift: Airbnb For Work Brings Meetings Spaces and Experiences to Business Travellers

A few months ago, Airbnb launched a new tool which features an interactive map of lodgings available near the site of an event that planners can use to either book directly or embed on registration sites.  Now, the company is going to sell experiences to corporate customers and curate appropriate listings for those who want to try a meeting outside the usual hotel conference room.

Airbnb will add its Airbnb Experience products into the booking process for both travellers and those booking travel for others. It will also curate appropriate home listings into “playlists” of spaces ready for meetings outside global city centres. The meeting space options will be pulled from the more unique properties listed on Airbnb, instead of offering a more standardised meeting experience provided by Breather or WeWork in big cities. The intention is to facilitate more creative offsite events on the Airbnb platform – and if you happen to book an Airbnb Experiences product as a team-building exercise as well, all the better. Read more.

TechCrunch: A Messaging App That Doesn’t Need a Mobile Connection

A new messaging app is looking to give folks a way to communicate in situations with poor or no mobile connectivity – which is great news for many event planners out there.  Berkanan is a group messaging app that uses Bluetooth to send and receive messages, which means it can work on planes, at festivals or any other event space where mobile coverage isn’t up to scratch. Though sending text messages on Bluetooth is nothing new, what the app offers is a way to broadcast a message to everyone within the app in a specific location.

As well as providing a more dependable way of communicating with event teams, it’s also a good option for those wanting to improve delegate networking at their events.  Alongside group messaging, Berkanan also allows private one-to-one messaging, as well as audio calls placed over Bluetooth. The range for these calls and messages is about 50 meters, but if there are people between you and your intended recipient with the app installed, the app can send messages further by going through other users’ devices. Berkanan will also show users if they are getting closer or further away from the user they’re messaging with, without ever showing either person’s exact location. Read more.

Successful Meetings: Why Meeting Planners Should Care About Data Security

This month, the UK Conservative Party conference app suffered a huge and embarrassing security breach which temporarily exposed the phone numbers and personal details of some of the country’s top politicians who were attending the event. And though the app provider has since taken full responsibility for the technical blunder, it is an important reminder to anyone working in events that incidents like this can happen in our industry anytime and it helps to be prepared.

In this article, Successful Meetings magazine speaks to a cybersecurity expert to find out why organisers need to take more responsibility when it comes to protecting the personal information of people coming to their events.  It’s an interesting read because it looks at the threats that exist for meetings and events, the impact of GDPR and the kind of things event planners do that can easily increase their risk of breach – like collecting too much data, throwing away printed delegate lists and emailing personal information.  Read more.


Are you looking after your attendee data? Learn more about the top data security vulnerability areas around meetings and events and what you should do if your event data gets lost or compromised.  Download your eBook now: The Event Planner’s Guide to Data Security in a Post-GDPR World


EventPlanner: How to Strengthen Your Event’s Brand on YouTube

Is YouTube still important for promoting events? Absolutely! In fact, it’s bigger than ever. According to research, by 2020, 75% of all mobile traffic will be video-based – which means if you’re looking at strengthening the brand of your event using video, YouTube can be a great way to reach a wider audience and attract more followers.

This article highlights some great examples of events that do YouTube well – from the likes of the World Economic Forum and the World Science Festival.  It also outlines some key steps you need to take if you’re looking to build a YouTube channel for your event.  This includes things like how to design a visual identity for your channel and how to plan a video content strategy around your event.  It also includes some great ideas like creating different playlists, which allows people to view a bunch of your videos in one sitting – and how to use the platform to present other types of content around your events, such as interviews, sketches and how-to videos.  Read more.

RFID Journal: RFID Technology Helps Charity Event with Fundraising

This is an interesting one for those involved in organising fundraising events.  The article looks at how one non-profit anti-poverty group raised around $15 million at an event as a result of using an RFID system which eases the process of making contributions.  Nearly all the contributions took place within a matter of minutes, when individuals wearing RFID-enabled wristbands simply raise their hands.   Personnel then scanned the wristbands and the pledges were recorded and displayed on a screen.

Traditionally, pledging at events is usually something that is carried out manually on paper, with volunteers recording the ID number of each individual making a pledge, along with the amount being given. Not only does the RFID solution make the whole process easier for volunteers working at the event, but it offers organisers a real-time understanding of how much pledging is taking place—and how much is still needed to reach specific goals. It also makes it easier for those making the donations as it eliminates some of the most common barriers, such as worrying how to use the device, who to make the check out to or ensuring all their credit card details are correct. Read more.

Associations Now: New Tool Uses Social Media to Improve Emergency Response at Events

Researchers at Purdue University have created a new real-time social analytics tool that emergency responders can use to track potential emergencies at large events. The new technology will allow police departments, fire departments, EMTs, and others to use social media posts to track those who need assistance in an emergency. The technology will be deployed for the University’s own football games, but was designed for possible use during major events such as speeches or during natural disasters. It could even be used for tracking traffic patterns. Read more.

Unilad: Human Uber Lets You Attend Events Remotely Using Someone Else’s Body

Is this something we’ll see more of at events of the future?  Introducing the ‘Human Uber’, a person who will stand in for you at social events or meetings where you’re supposed to be, but either can’t make it or can’t be bothered to make it.

The new idea was launched at the MIT Tech Review’s EM conference in Asia earlier this year. The Human Uber, aka ChameleonMask, uses a real human as a surrogate for another remote user. To do this, a surrogate user wears a mask-shaped display that shows a remote user’s live face, and a voice channel transmits a remote user’s voice. It seems humanity has come one step closer to shutting itself away and hiding behind technology once and for all!  Read more.


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