The corporate event has gone digital. Paper tickets and itineraries have given way to badge swipes and electronic agendas. Chance meetings have been replaced by automatically curated networking. And there is no need to take notes for colleagues who cannot be there — they can watch a livestream of the event and use their phones to submit questions.

Technology is changing corporate events, and the pace of change is accelerating, according to Brent Turner, a senior vice president at the event marketing agency Cramer. And for better or worse, tracking abilities are a big part of that change.

A recommendation algorithm offers suggestions of whom to meet. Eventgoers who are using the networking app Klik, and who have agreed to meet, will see their wristbands light up the same color when they are near each other.

Hiver, a startup in London, is one of several companies offering a tracking beacon for event attendees. The Hiver beacons can be attached to a lanyard or placed in a badge holder, and when paired with a phone app, will track who the wearer has interacted with at the event and for how long. Attendees can view the list of interactions they have had and the LinkedIn profiles of the people they have met.

Exhibitors can use attendee beacon data to see who stopped by their booth, how long visitors stayed, on average, and the busiest times. That information can help companies adjust plans for that conference or other events. Other crowd-measuring devices include tracking mats that count how many people step on them and cameras at charging stations.

Organizers can use beacon data to produce heat maps showing crowd flow through the day. That information helps organizers factor in foot traffic when they price future booth location space.

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Originally published Sept 16 2018 by Julie Weed

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