Defining hour

Vincent Polito (pictured below), CEO of the Society of Independent Show Organisers (SISO), says AI can allow us to focus on the higher value tasks.

Vincent PolitoEvery decade or so, the events industry reaches a defining hour. The events of the past few years wreaked havoc with this principle, but we once again have a real game changing opportunity.  Broadly this topic would be Artificial Intelligence or AI.

As IBM describes it, in its simplest form artificial intelligence is a field which combines computer science and robust datasets, to enable problem-solving. Or to put it another way, systems that think and act rationally. 

Quite recently, SISO member and Ai4 co-founder Michael Weiss was featured in a webinar where he started a show from concept to website, to conference tracks, to exhibitor prospects lists in about 45 minutes using AI tools exclusively. It was a fascinating 45 minutes. I strongly encourage you to view this session. 

The Washington Post newspaper in the US also recently printed an article with a somewhat contrary viewpoint. WAPO proclaimed: ‘ChatGPT loses users for first time, shaking faith in AI revolution.’ 

Which to believe?

After a couple abortive attempts at some concise conclusions, I asked ChatGPT for some thoughts about the subject and was served the following:

“In the next 12 months, AI will have a profound impact on the trade show world, revolutionising the way these events are organised and experienced. One major area where AI will make a significant difference is in lead generation and qualification. AI algorithms will be able to analyse attendee data, such as registration details and interactions, to identify potential leads and prioritise them based on their likelihood of conversion. This will empower exhibitors to focus their efforts on high-potential prospects and increase their return on investment.”

Well said, and I’m not sure I could have said it any better, and I pride myself on my communication skills. 

Let me add to this, if you aren’t already investigating how to put AI to work for you in the events world, you are already behind. Luckily the catch-up period (using AI tools) is much quicker than in the pre-AI days. Despite what WAPO has written, there is certainly not any waning of interest in the live event world. Working with AI is easy to learn. It does not eliminate the human element, but I’d describe it as allowing the human element to dispense with much of the grinding that is necessary and focus on the higher valued tasks. 

I plan on returning to this topic on a regular basis with perhaps some recommendations and certainly to share some major accomplishments in our industry. This is a defining time.