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Conference technology augments human connection

Jean-François Feront, Sibos Technology and Customer Experience Manager, discusses how technology enhances the human element of the conference experience

Jean-Francois Feront
Jean-Francois Feront
Sibos Technology and Customer Experience Manager

A good business conference is a hub of face-to-face human interaction. Every year millions travel to conferences around the world despite the fact that we can now click, tap and swipe to connect with anyone, anywhere, in a matter of seconds. While cutting edge technology is now an essential part of our working lives, the personal relationships made and ideas exchanged in person are clearly worth the time and effort. Technology can’t replace the traditional conference experience, but it can help us to get much more out of it.

Don’t miss a thing

The conference at this year’s Sibos will feature more than 600 speakers on a diverse range of topics including cyber security, data analytics, Open Banking and digital ecosystems. It will be impossible for even the most efficient participants to see it all! This is where technology plays its part.

Participants, when logged in, can watch a range of conference sessions through Sibos.com and the Sibos App. The sessions will also be reviewed in our website news stories, which feature in our Insider email newsletter and on our social media channels. In addition, Sibos TV interviews will be available on the Sibos.com video page, the Sibos App Wall and our official Sibos YouTube channel. In the age of catch-up TV, on-demand streaming and instant news, we have grown accustomed to consuming content at our leisure. Sibos, and other global conferences, must deliver the same experience.

Plan for success

The range and diversity of conference sessions at Sibos, alongside the many thousands of participants, make planning your experience crucial. Technology can do the heavy lifting. Our programme list and interactive floorplan help you find the sessions and exhibitors you want, while the App and Sibos Tools allow you to search and message other participants, and add them to a list of Favourites.

The Favourites function can also be used to collate the sessions, speakers and exhibitors you want to visit. Connections are the lifeblood of the conference and technology dramatically increases your chances of meeting the people you need to. Don’t miss that one contact who can share a business-changing idea, or be the partner in your next venture.

Have your say

Technology empowers us to contribute to the debate. Many Sibos conference sessions use Sli.do so audience members can pose questions and speakers can get live feedback and audience data. The feature is integrated into the programme and available through the Sibos App, allowing participants to ask questions which can then be moderated to structure more engaging conversations.

Some of the most interesting conversations also take place during and after the conference via social media. Social media enables us to exchange and share ideas at an unparalleled rate and to large audiences. Global conferences are now magnified in the digital, social sphere, running parallel to the physical event.

Meet your match

Beyond the planning and messaging functionality of the Sibos App and Tools, we go one step further to help you stay in touch with the contacts you make at Sibos. Our smart badge (see tutorial) allows you to click badges with other participants and instantly have their contact information sent to your inbox. It means you take full advantage of all of the networking opportunities Sibos offers, safe in the knowledge that technology will help you follow up on your conversations after the event.

The technology we use the most everyday – mobile phones, email, Facebook, WhatsApp – serves us best when it helps us to maintain relationships that might otherwise fade away in technology’s absence. Conferences are no different and their technology works best when it brings people together.

The conference of the future

The first ever Sibos was held in 1978 before the invention of the internet. This year’s technology-enabled conference in London will be substantially different. Our audience was much smaller in 1978, but it’s still likely that some will have missed out on making new contacts or discovering new ideas. We can now use technology to make networking more efficient and debate more meaningful.

How will technology change Sibos in the future? With AI targeting a revolution across the world of finance, financial conferences might be next to employ the technology, using machine learning input to facilitate business connections. Technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality could change the conference experience substantially. Their impact could range from more interactive presentations to the ability to ‘attend’ multiple sessions at once. Whatever the future brings, our focus for Sibos will be on harnessing technology which enhances the human elements of the conference that make it so valuable to our community.