Informative, thought-provoking, inspiring and fun programs. Read More


Boost your company's technology with Corbin’s consulting services. Read More

Corbin’s Link List

The web’s most extensive list of industry categorized links! Read More


Hundreds of free articles on meetings technology and event planning. Read More


Subscribe to Corbin's Free High-Content Bi-Monthly Newsletter. Read More

Software Tools

Free planning tools, spreadsheets, templates, handbooks, & more. Read More
  • 1


  • The 2019 Quarter 3 Issue of Corbin's TechTalk News Now Available +


    The 2019 Quarter 3 Issue of Corbin's TechTalk News   is new available providing the latest in technology to nearly 9,000 events, tradeshows and hospitality professionals in over 70 countries. This issue is packed with articles, links, videos and ideas on how you can use technology to improve the business process for events and tradeshows. 

    In this issue:

    • NEW
Read More
  • Calling #EventTech Innovators: IBTM Technology Watch Award Applications Are Now Open +

    Does your company have a new, innovative technology product applicable to the meetings and tradeshow industry? Would you like to get substantial free publicity for it? And a free booth at IBTM World in Barcelona as well? Further information and application form  HERE .
    The IBTM Technology Watch, established in 2000, is the original meetings technology award and one of the
    Read More
  • Corbin to Chair IBTM's Technology and Innovation Watch Award for the 16th Year. +

    This award is the longest running and one of the event industry's most significant award recognizing technology innovation - the "Academy Awards" of events technology. I am very pleased to I have been asked again to chair the judging committee. This award is a great opportunity for technology companies to show their new stuff and get a free booth at IBTM
    Read More
  • Corbin Ball & Co. Marks Its 22nd Anniversary +

    In April of 1997, I left my career as Head of Conference Operations for a high-tech association (SPIE) to form my own speaking, consulting and writing firm focusing exclusively on technology for events, exhibitions and meeting venues. I was the first person to do this full-time -- the 'OG' of event tech! Today, I am happy to say there are many Read More

    • 1

    Latest Articles

    • 1 The Event Technology Revolution – Are We There Yet?
    • 2 2019 Trade Show Trends That Exhibitors Need to Be Following to Maximize Customer Engagement
    • 3 How to Use Instagram to Promote Your Event (and Sell it Out)
    • 4 Second Screen Technology for Events: What Are the Options?
    • 5 Event Planning Technology: 6 Essential Features to Use
    • 6 The Platform or the Event Tech Deck – What is the Best Technology Choice for Event Planners?
    • 7 Event Technology Innovation Trends Highlighted with IBTM World’s 2018 Technology Watch
    • 8 6 Tips to Maximize your Tradeshow Booth
    • 9 Virtual Vs. Augmented/Mixed Reality for Events: The Pros and Cons for Each Medium and the Likelihood of Adoption
    • 10 Retrospect Article: The Revolution - The Future of Mobile Technology for Events
    • 11 Tips to Come Up with More Effective Promo Videos for Events
    • 12 As Technology Changes Events, These Five Elements Will Likely Stay the Same
    • 13 Five Trends That Will Revolutionize Trade Show Marketing in 2019
    • 14 Facial Recognition – The Next Step to Streamline Events
    • 15 Three Steps to Cope with Technology Change
    • The Event Technology Revolution – Are We There Yet?

      I recently attended an open-air concert in the small city where I live. Before the music began, I noticed what appeared to be three generations of women sitting in front of me (a teenage daughter, mother and an elderly grandmother). I heard a phone ring and watched the grandmother reach
      Read More
    • 2019 Trade Show Trends That Exhibitors Need to Be Following to Maximize Customer Engagement

      Industry trade shows enable companies to get the opportunity to make a lasting impact on potential clients, affiliates, and customers. Companies joining a trade show face the combined risk and opportunity of being compared with competitors and other booth designs in a live space. In a previous feature, we looked at
      Read More
    • How to Use Instagram to Promote Your Event (and Sell it Out)

      2019 Guest Post by Natasha Ponomaroff As of 2018, Instagram had an estimated 77.6 million active users. 500 million people use Instagram every single day; 71% of U.S. businesses use Instagram and 23% of Instagram images are more likely to get ‘likes’ vs Facebook images. Still not impressed? How about…1
      Read More
    • Second Screen Technology for Events: What Are the Options?

      ©2019 Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, DES Presenters and meeting planners are often faced with the following dilemmas: In today’s multitasking environment where event participants are regularly on their mobile devices, how to keep their attention? How do you keep attendees engaged? And how can you best measure their interests and
      Read More
    • Event Planning Technology: 6 Essential Features to Use

      ©2019 Guest Post:  Callie Walker, ePly   Event planning technology can be a broad subject, but it can be boiled down to this definition: Any technology that helps you plan, manage, and organize data when putting on an event. Different types of organizations put on different events, but all organizations can benefit from
      Read More
    • The Platform or the Event Tech Deck – What is the Best Technology Choice for Event Planners?

      There are many event tech choices available to manage nearly every aspect of the meeting planning process as well as enriching the attendee experience. For example, I track nearly 1,500 event tech products in 60 categories at my website: . With so many choices, the planner’s dilemma is: how does
      Read More
    • Event Technology Innovation Trends Highlighted with IBTM World’s 2018 Technology Watch

      ©2018 Corbin Ball, Chair of the IBTM Technology Watch Judging Committee Established in 2000, The IBTM World Technology & Innovation Watch is the longest running and regarded by many as the most significant technology award for the meetings industry. The goals are to recognize technology innovation and to highlight significant
      Read More
    • 6 Tips to Maximize your Tradeshow Booth

      ©2018 Guest post from Shem Szot Everyone knows that tradeshows are an excellent chance to spread the word about your business. A physical presence and personal engagement can often leave deeper impressions than online interaction alone. And joining a tradeshow means you don’t have to worry about bringing in the
      Read More
    • Virtual Vs. Augmented/Mixed Reality for Events: The Pros and Cons for Each Medium and the Likelihood of Adoption

      © 2018 Corbin Ball The twisting of reality is becoming common practices in the meeting, tradeshow, event and exhibition world. By using an ever-evolving array of technology such as virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, users can enter worlds created from scratch to entertain, provide demonstrations and eventually sell a
      Read More
    • Retrospect Article: The Revolution - The Future of Mobile Technology for Events

      Editor's note: As part of the 20th anniversary issue of TechTalk, I thought I would include an article I wrote in 1999 -- at the turn of the new millennium (back in the time of 1G phones when even flip phones had not yet been invented). In this article, I predict
      Read More
    • Tips to Come Up with More Effective Promo Videos for Events

      ©2018 Arthur Retman, Movavi As a medium there are many ways to utilize videos for events – but one of the most popular is definitely promo videos. A promo video is basically any video that is used to promote or market the event, and boost its visibility, entice prospects, or directly
      Read More
    • As Technology Changes Events, These Five Elements Will Likely Stay the Same

      We are living in a time of unprecedented technology change. How will these changes affect meetings and tradeshows? Will they remain a central form of education, networking and marketing? Will virtual meetings and other communication technologies replace the need for face-to-face events and exhibitions? Although there will likely be very
      Read More
    • Five Trends That Will Revolutionize Trade Show Marketing in 2019

      ©2018 - Guest Post by  Ryan Gould, Elevation Marketing If you’re a business owner or marketer who’s serious about maximizing ROI, then you need to have a presence at industry trade shows. It’s all in the statistics—when it comes to efficiency, 85% of B2B marketers and salespeople say that trade shows
      Read More
    • Facial Recognition – The Next Step to Streamline Events

      Facial recognition (FR) is rapidly becoming part of our everyday lives. iPhone X users open their phone using FR as their passwords. Airlines and TSA are starting to use FR as a faster and more secure way of check-in and boarding flights. Apple, Facebook, Google and Snapchat have made recent
      Read More
    • Three Steps to Cope with Technology Change

      When laptops computers first appeared in the early 1990s, manufactures called them “freedom machines” with ads showing smiling users inputting at the poolside and the beach. We don’t see these ads anymore. People are aware that technology isn’t increasing our leisure time -- we seem to be working harder than ever!
      Read More

    Nine Amazing Meetings Technology Trends to Watch in 2016

    These are exciting times. The rate of technology change is accelerating with thousands of ideas, apps and innovations bubbling up to help meeting planners, exhibitors, venues and other meeting participants to do their jobs better. 
    This annual review covers many of the major events technology trends to watch for this coming year.
    1. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will see major growth at exhibitions and events.

    Virtual reality (immersive multimedia) and augmented reality (a layering of computer-generated sensory input onto real-world views) have seen major investments and advances in the past year:
      • Facebook purchased Oculus Rift (high-resolution immersive VR goggles) for US$2.1 Billion.
      • Samsung, Sony and Google have all made major investments in VR in this past year.
      • GoPro has made a made a turn-key 360° camera array that will work with Google Jump VR software. These VR videos will be distributed on YouTube
      • Google is selling Cardboard, a US$20 VR viewer that will convert large format smartphones, such as the LG G4 and Nexus 6, into immersive VR goggles at about 1/50 to 1/100 the cost of standard VR viewers.
    • Microsoft’s Hololens is an advanced augmented reality system with gesture controls which will be available in the next few months. This technology will be a fully untethered, see-through holographic computer enabling high-definition holograms to come to life in your world, integrating with your physical places, spaces, and things. Holograms mixed with your real world will unlock all-new ways to create, communicate, work, and play. This has huge potential for group collaboration, booth engagement, virtual training, interactive design and other activities at events and exhibitions.
    The VR and AR tools above are the closest approximation of the Star Trek Holodeck that technology has provided so far!   With so many major technology companies making deep investments in this space, VR and AR will continue to improve in quality, will get less expensive and much more prevalent in the next few years.
    These new, creative immersive visualization tools are beginning to work their way into events in a number of ways:
    • VR headsets will be used to demonstrate products at tradeshow in a more realistic, interactive and engaging manner while minimizing the need to ship physical products to a show.
    • VR will be used to engage attendees at booths with games and other immersive experiences.
    • VR will be used to provide a much more engaging and realistic hotel/venue site inspection experience – compared to browsing hotel websites.
    • 3D models of exhibit booths, stage sets and other event setups, will be replaced by 3D virtual walkthroughs. These walkthroughs can be saved and compared to future designs.
    • VR will redefine virtual meetings. Instead of watching a webcast, VR could make it seem to the remote attendee as if he/she were actually in the meeting room (or any other location in the world). One example, Samsung and partnered with the NBA to record and distribute basketball games in VR – to potentially huge audiences in China and elsewhere.
    • Augmented reality tools such as Hololens will provide complete new, immersive ways to collaborate and interact with each other from different locations.
    • Mobile, social telepresence robots (such as DORA – Dexterous Observational Roving Automaton) may eventually become virtual attendees at tradeshows and events. These remote robotic VR sensing units (virtual attendees), on a very basic level, are already here
    The dawn of truly accessible, high-quality VR and AR is here! We will see lots of activity, improvements and usage at exhibitions and events in the near future.
    2. Mobile event apps will mature into full-featured event intelligence and data analytic platforms.
    Mobile event apps are now widely used at events (a prediction I made 15 years ago). The next big step is that they are moving beyond paper replacement and logistics management. A recent spate of funding and acquisitions in the mobile event app space (DoubleDutch US$45 million funding, Guidebook US$10 million funding, etouches purchase of TapCrowd to name a few in the past two months), points to broad business adoption and recognition of the value of this technology.
    Modern smart phones have an array of sensors. When combined with mobile events apps, every touch in the app (and soon every movement) can be trackable. They can provide a goldmine if information about participants’ likes, dislike, interests, movements and more that can be used to improve future events and to provide customized marketing content based on the participants individual needs.
    DoubleDutch, Genie Connect and others are working for a broader scope to use these analytic data for event intelligence to be used for marketing automation, customer relations management and event improvement.
    3. Second-screen technology and other mobile participant engagements tools will flourish.
    Second-screen technology refers to the use of a mobile device to provide an enhanced viewing experience for other content usually with interactive features. This is seen most often on television, but increasingly so at events. Presenter content, such as slides, polling, video, notes, social media links, can be pushed to any device in real-time during a presentation.  
    This technology uses participants’ mobile devices to help them to focus on the presentations rather than distracting them away for other things. Some of the companies providing these services are Lintelus, Freeman’s FXP | TouchEvenium ConnexMe, and to some degree, MeetingPulse, and Microsoft’s Bing Pulse. More information, including video links can be found here.
    Other mobile engagement tools such as the Makelight app serve simply to drive attendee excitement:
    4. Images and videos will dominate social channels at events. 
    Events provide a great source of images and videos. The tools listed below will be used to increase attendee engagement and significantly broaden the social footprint of events.
    Savvy users of Twitter know that a tweet with an image is nearly twice as likely to be retweeted. Similar statistics apply to other social channels.  A picture or video can be worth a thousand words. Consequently, a variety of emerging social apps using photos, videos and video streaming are working their way into events.
    Instagram has doubled in use in the past three years with over 300 million users. As this social channel is inherently mobile, it is a natural to use at events. Twitter walls commonly include Instagram feeds as well as Twitter images.
    Snapchat has built a brand out of disappearing photos and videos (4 billion daily video views alone). It now offers ‘Live Stories’ a curated stream of user submitted Snaps and videos from various locations and events. Users who have their location services on at the same event location will be given the option to contribute Snaps to the Live Story. The end result is a story told from a community perspective with lots of different points view. The feature doesn't identify who created which snaps, only showing that they were all captured at the same event.
    Check out an example: EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival):
    Tradeshow/event photo booths are great for increasing attendee engagement, for capturing contact information and to broaden the impact of social media for events. They commonly post images (including the event hashtag) to Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook. ChirpE, as an example, posts to Facebook and Twitter.
    Videos are also seeing increasing usage at meetings. Facebook introduced auto-playing video in December 2013 and saw the number of video posts jump 75% the next year. This ubiquitous and highly mobile channel is a natural for use at events.
    The Vine app allow users to post six-second videos and then share them to Twitter which is also seeing use at meetings.
    Streaming video apps, allowing real-time video postings, are coming to events. Meerkat made its debut at the annual technology/music SXSW conference (known for significant debuts such as Twitter). Periscope, purchased by Twitter, provides similar services and will likely prevail due to a better interface and its support from Twitter. With 10 million people registered (in just 4 months), watching more than 40 years of video each day, Periscope will be a force to be reckoned with for events. Meeting planners should prepare for even greater Wi-Fi and cellular bandwidth usage as well as increasing copyright challenges. 

    As images and video get more views and events provide a great source for them, we will see event marketers and participants increasingly use the social photo/video tools.

    5. The Internet of Things (IOT) will connect people and objects in unprecedented ways for events.
    The Internet of Things is the connection of objects and people to transfer data over a network without the need for human interaction. Sensor chips in a myriad of “things” (appliances, thermostats, door locks, TVs, watches/bracelets, cars, buildings, roads, power grids, dams, livestock, toothbrushes and more) will provide unprecedented efficiency and convenience. A broader term, the Internet of Everything (IOE), is perhaps a more descriptive term for this revolution that will be affecting us all in the near future.
    Results of IOT are coming soon in a wide range of attendee experiences. The hotel room will become “smart” with mobile guestroom door locks and sensors to determine human presence for AC adjustment/lighting. Smart TVs are already in many rooms. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sensors including iBeacons can track attendee movements throughout a meeting facility and local area to provide a wide range of assistance such as location-aware information and directions. The San Diego Convention Center and the downtown Gaslamp District is a great example of how this will develop (see next trend).  

    6. BLE and beacon technology will continue to evolve and be deployed at events.
    In my September 2013 trends article, I predicted that location-aware geofencing technologies would be making their way into events (3 weeks before Apple introduced iBeacon technology). Although still in its infancy, we are seeing strong examples of continued development of beacons (also known as iBeacons, BLE, and Bluetooth Low Energy):
    • This year’s SXSW music/technology conference in Austin (noted for significant technology rollouts such as Twitter) deployed more than 1,000 beacons across some 265 venues in the city. Attendees used these beacons through the mobile app (provided by EventBase) for hyper-local networking, push notifications, event messaging based on location, and much more.
    • DoubleDutch is using beacons with their app for a range services including welcome notification/directions, precise in-room polling (with a pop-up link directed only to the attendees in the specific meeting room), networking and other options.
    • The Cisco Global Sale Experience used beacon technology to measure crowd flow in food lines and in transportation queues between the MGM Grand Garden Arena and the Mandalay Bay Convention center for it 18,000 attendees.
    • The San Diego Convention Center and the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center have deployed beacons throughout their facilities to assist in navigation and area information.
    • Beacons have been used the last two years at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) for scavenger hunt gamification.


    7. Wearables (including smart watches, smart bracelets, smart name badges, and wearable beacons) will see increasing use at exhibitions and events.
    In the way that smartphones are already transforming the attendee experience at tradeshows and events, other wearable smart devices tapping into IOT will bring a new level of convenience avoiding the “fumble factor” of digging out phones from our pockets and purses.
    Fueled by fitness bands and the release of the Apple Watch, wearables are becoming mainstream. Several other companies will be releasing their versions of smart watches before Christmas.

    One product, Cicret, although very much in a development prototype stage, gives a glimpse of future possibilities for wearables: 
    Smart watches and other wearables will likely help event participants to:
    • receive GPS directions
    • receive directional indoor way-finding through a convention facility/exhibition hall
    • open guestroom doors
    • make e-wallet transactions that are faster and more secure than credit cards
    • receive conference alerts
    • exchange contact/lead retrieval information
    • use as admission tickets
    • make audience polling responses
    • enable automated check-in for registration/meeting rooms
    • record and track continuing education unit (CEU) credits and much more.
    QuickMobile recently released the first mobile event app with Apple Watch integration this summer.  More versions are likely to come.
    In related travel areas: airlines such as American, EasyJet, British Airways, Avios, and Emirates have Apple Watch apps tor departure/arrival/gate change notifications and mobile boarding passes. Some provide seat selection, destination weather and mileage balances.
    Hotels such as Starwood, Accor, InterContinental have apps for mobile check-in, arrival and departure information.  Some feature loyalty points. Starwood allows guests to use the Apple Watch as a key to enter rooms at W Hotels, Aloft and Element properties.
    Additionally, standalone wearables will become more widely used for events as well. Smart bracelets such as the Xyloband and the Lightwave provide for more engaging and exciting event experiences.
    Companies such as LoopdAllianceTechITNLimefyPokenTurnoutNowXFocus are developing wearable beacons (often attached to or as part of a name badge) with many benefits: to assist in networking, contact exchange, wayfinding, notifications, for detailed crowd flow analytics, attendance tracking and more.
    Although wearable beacons are a more expensive option compared to simply using beacon technology in a mobile event app (up to US$10-15 or more per person), the benefits are that it includes all attendees without a need for each to have a modern charged smart phone with the conference app installed.
    Smart name badges and bracelets using RFID (radio frequency identification), NFC (near field communication), or beacons (or a combination of the above) are increasingly used at events in a number of ways:
    • To help attendees track different exhibit booths visited
    • To post automatically (user initiated) to twitter and other social channels of activities, photos, quotes, etc.
    • For automated voting
    • As a entrance ticket
    • For cashless payments
    • To share virtual business cards
    • For semi-automatic social postings
    • For surveys
    8. Event Intelligence will be the next BIG thing!

    The onsite meeting used to be known as the “black hole” of event data management. Planners used computers to gain insights before and after events, but during an event they were “flying blind.” For example, paper surveys were handed out, but tallying wasn’t completed until after the event – not in time to make mid-course corrections.
    Now, it is possible for every touch on a mobile event app to be tracked, scored and rated. Social media channels can be monitored and incorporated into the mix. Onsite “likes” and mobile polling and survey tools can be scored in real time. Meeting planners and event marketers can know immediately answers to the following questions:
    • What are trending hot topics?
    • Who are the top speakers?
    • What exhibit booths have the most attendance?
    • What speakers/exhibitors are “liked” the most?
    • Who are the key connectors/influencers?
    • What are the attendees’ ratings on specific survey and/or polling questions?
    With coming advances in geo-positioning and beacon technology, it will be possible for every attendee movement to be monitored precisely (usually with permission from the attendee) to yield even more data. This includes:
    • What is the crowd flow through an exhibit hall? Where are the hot spots and where are they not?
    • What are the “dwell times” of specific attendees in front of specific exhibitor booths? (For example: an attendee would be likely more interested in an exhibit if the stood at a booth for 15 minutes compared to just walking by. This is very valuable information for exhibitors to know who specifically are interested in their product or service. It could also be useful for attendees to be able to generate a list of the exhibit booths visited and the amount of time spent with each of them.)
    • Where are queues forming for registration, food and/or transportation in order to send reinforcements?  
    • Who is in the meeting room? (This could be useful for many purposes including automated CEU tracking or to send pop-up messages targeted only to attendees in the room to open up a room-specific mobile poll.)
    This real-time collection of onsite data can be a goldmine of information to gain insights for event improvement, to make midcourse corrections, to engage participants and to provide more targeted marketing.
    With better onsite data collection tools than ever before; the next challenge will be finding useful, real-time analytic tools to interpret these data. Many mobile event app companies are beginning to provide easy-to-understand real-time analytic tools. For example mobile app DoubleDutch’s Event Performance tool can provide real-time sentiment analysis with specific tools to measure engagement and “happiness.”
    GenieConnect (recently purchased by Lanyon) provides an event portal and event app system that provides a range of analytic and marketing tools as well.
    Attendee management companies such as Certain Software, Cvent and Lanyon are developing event intelligence tracking through their systems
    Beyond this, there new, very capable analytic tools. IBM’s Watson Analytics (makers of the supercomputer that won the TV Jeopardy contest), now offers a freemium data analytics tool. Up to 50 columns by 100,000 rows of data per upload can be analyzed for free! Natural language queries and  simplified graphing/analysis tools make this product easy to use, to easily see trends and tell the story to others. 
    Additionally, specialized event data analytic tools are emerging, such as insightXM, promising very specialized event intelligence capabilities.
    The focus will be on “knowing your audience.”  What do they want? What are the needs, interests, budgets, buying clout?  This event intelligence will help to engage existing audiences and attract new ones. 
    9. A repeat from previous years’ predictions: Despite the increased use of virtual meetings technology, face-to-face meetings and tradeshows will remain viable.
    Webinars and other virtual meetings are great for short information exchange. However, in today’s multi- tasking and often distracting work environment, attention spans are short. Thirty to forty-five minutes is usually the maximum you can expect someone to pay attention to a webinar while sitting in front of a monitor.
    Meetings, on the other hand, take people to a more focused environment with fewer distractions. As long as attendees are informed, entertained and fed, event hosts can keep them engaged for days. At the minimum, we share a social contract to at least look like we are paying attention at an event. The opportunities for networking, brainstorming, and relationship building are usually far greater at face-to-face events than online. For an exhibitor, it is often the best way to meet so many qualified buyers in such a short time. For buyers, it is a great chance to meet vendors of interest – all together in one location, categorized and mapped for your choosing.
    Meetings provide a vastly richer, more targeted, and more focused learning experience than nearly any virtual meeting. To put it succinctly, there is no such thing as a “virtual beer!” 
    These are just a few of whirlwind of changes coming.  Do you agree with them? Do you have others? Please leave comments and let me know your thoughts. 
    Pin It

    What The Audience Is Saying

    • "Way beyond the best I could have imagined!"
      Russell Clark Environmental Protection Specialist, U.S.
      Environmental Protection Agency
    • Excellent session! Best one I have attended at PCMA. Needed to be 2 hours! Bring it back in 2014.
      Marguerite Leishman Meetings Manager
    • Corbin, ALWAYS a homerun presentation of great info!
      Peter O’Brien Marriott Global Sales
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3