It’s the start of a new year, and as expected, many predictions on different subjects have appeared all over the Internet. This article is no exception – yes, we’re jumping on the bandwagon with our own fearless forecast. But instead of covering usual topics like love, fortune, and luck, we’re going to focus on meeting trends we think will happen in 2015.
Increased popularity of hybrid events
Hybrid events mix live, physical components with online, virtual components. These events can be conferences, seminars, trade shows, training sessions, and other kinds of meetings.
You’d think that virtual events will be more popular than hybrid events given the speed of mobile device adoption, but as it turns out, people still want the social aspect of a face-to-face encounter, whether it’s personal or professional. At the same time, it can’t be denied that technology has influenced the way we meet. With board portals and other kinds of meeting apps in the market today, more people can participate in events they previously would be unable to join due to schedule and distance constraints. Therefore, we expect hybrid events to grow in popularity in 2015. It’s not hard to see why – hybrid events let more participants join in without losing the personal connection people seek in gatherings.
Additional venue-provided resources for technical requirements
Because of the increasing use of technology in meetings and conferences, venues will become much more competitive if they also offer resources such as large LCD displays, charging stations for mobile devices, and of course, high-speed wired and wireless Internet connection. Meeting planners will be looking for these resources for hybrid events, so venues that can deliver will be likely to get more business this year.
But it’s not just hybrid events that utilise meeting solutions. Even in face-to-face meetings, participants can write notes, annotate documents, and follow presentations on their mobile devices using board portals, so it make sense for venues to provide the necessary resources to accommodate organisations’ technical requirements to run their meetings, hybrid or otherwise.
Reinforced security measures in board portals and other meeting solutions
There was no shortage of malicious cyber attacks in 2014 — the Target security breach (occurred in 2013, but the repercussions carried over to 2014), Sony Pictures hack, eBay password leak, JP Morgan Chase data breach, just to name a few of the biggest ones that caused a lot of concern. And let’s not forget about threats like Heartbleed, Shellshock, and POODLE, which also caused their own fair share of trouble.
We expect 2015 will be no different when it comes to cyber criminals wanting to get access to confidential data. But what we expect will be different is the way technology solutions react to these threats. We hope lessons have been learned from the hacking events that happened in 2014, so we predict that there’s going to be a stronger focus on tight enterprise security this year.
Bigger big data collection for organisations
Big data is not just the latest buzzword – it’s here to stay. Big data refers to extremely large and complex data sets that can be analysed for patterns and trends. Social media networks, review sites, government portals, blogs, traditional media outlets are just some of the examples of data sources organisations can rely on for information. But that’s just data from external sources. The use of paperless meeting solutions like board portals gives organisations more data, this time from internal sources, allowing them to take a closer look at their meeting processes.
But data is worthless without context, so we predict that analytics will be a major priority for 2015. While data gathered from external sources can be utilised to forecast market trends, data gathered from internal sources – particularly meeting solutions – can be utilised to evaluate behaviors and collect feedback, which in turn can be used to create better meeting processes.
Shorter meetings with better efficiency
When everything is automated and streamlined, meetings become organised and effective. As a result, they end up being shorter, simply because the process has been made faster.
Though long meetings are sometimes inevitable, people will see a big cut in the time they spend in meetings, thanks to meeting solutions. Also, with solutions that facilitate remote meeting attendance, travel time gets completely cut out from the equation. This alone already saves a lot of time.
Although meeting solutions have been around for a few years, it’s only in 2014 that they’ve seen significant growth in usage. We’d like to think that 2014 was just the beginning, and that 2015 will see more organisations make the transition from paper-based to paperless.
Stronger interaction between hosts and participants, and among participants
This year, people who attend meetings and events will be regarded as active participants, not passive attendees. The combination of social media networks, meeting solutions, and mobile devices allows people to have more say and take on a more active role. Though this isn’t an entirely new thing, 2015 will take engagement to a whole new level.
Let’s take a big event such as a conference as an example. In this scenario, organisations will become more careful with their choice of venue, speaker, caterer, etc., simply because the participants’ feedback can appear in real time and to a public audience (a Facebook post can go a long way). Or maybe the participants will be given the chance to choose what they want prior to the event, in the form of a poll (which, coincidentally, is one of the typical features of meeting solutions).
This high level of interaction is applicable to not just big events, but to meetings of any size and kind. Participants will react and comment at any time, so hosts and presenters should be ready to receive instant feedback and act accordingly. Thus, flexibility is more important than ever.
What are your meeting predictions for 2015? Share your views with us and together, we can look back at the end of the year to see what we got wrong – what we got right!