A/V tech trends: What will 2016 bring the meetings industry?

A/V for meetings in 2016

With the New Year around the corner, I can’t think of a better time to look forward at which exciting A/V technologies will be embraced by the meetings industry. Technology is evolving at an unprecedented rate, and it’s rapidly changing the attendee experience. So, what can be expected in 2016? I caught up with Freeman Audio Visual Canada’s Andrew De La Cour, National Director of Technical Inventory, to find out.


  1. Big Data moves into the meeting room 
  • 2016 is all about Big Data, says De La Cour. “We’re expecting planners to implement more radio-frequency identification (RFID) and i-Beacon location and participant-based tracking technology.” Location-based data that sheds insight on who the meeting attendees are, where they are in a venue, and how long they remain in a single location will aid planners in the development of future meetings.
  • The New Year will also see more apps for up-and-down push of information between participants and organizers, as well as a more comprehensive employment of analytics of data collection from surveys, apps, tracking technology, etc.
  1. Connecting with attendees through interactive presentations
  • Presentations are no longer a one-way street, De La Cour says. 2016 is all about interactivity and making a connection with meeting attendees.
  • Interactive kiosks that push and pull content will be more prevalent on show floors.
  • Audience engagement will be at an all-time high through the use of interactive, collaborative presentation technology, mobile apps, and – something really exciting — holographic projection and gesture-based interactivity. “The world is 3D, so why can’t the same be for presentations?” says De La Cour.
  • 2016 will see an increasing shift from presentations that are accessed via laptop and desktop to tablets, smart phones, and smart devices, and with that, wireless AV connections will be more commonplace.
  • Finally, because our world now encompasses the “cloud,” Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo and the like will continue to be integral parts of meetings in 2016.
  1. WiFi and Internet access is critical
  • Reliable and fast WiFi connectivity is moving quickly from a “nice to have” to a “must-have,” says De La Cour.
  • Further, he explains, access must be robust enough to accommodate multiple devices per participant as more and more attendees will come to meetings armed with it all: laptops, smart phones, tablets, and other smart devices.
  • Reliable WiFi connectivity will also be utilized by meeting planners to better track and gather data of attendees as well.
  1. A virtual extension of the venue
  • Simply put, brick and mortar venues will no longer fully contain meetings of 2016. While the bulk of meetings will still be held in fixed locations, walls will become more transparent. What does this mean? De La Cour explains tools such as WebEx, Skype, webcast, virtual presenters, apps, and live streaming will allow attendees and presenters alike to attend without having to be actually present at the venue.
  1. Security and Data integrity
  • Finally, with all the data and information moving beyond the physical wall, protection of data will become paramount, De La Cour explains. 2016 will usher in more widespread use of data encryption, participant verification, security, VPN connectivity, and networks that are both robust and protected.
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