Ground-breaking innovations are around the corner: robot bartenders that receive orders via apps, 3-D printing models, self-driving cars that drop off attendees and park themselves, augmented reality for meetings, and combining video projection mapping with audio. All of these technologies are either here right now, will be available to planners soon, or are on the drawing board of meetings industry visionaries.
Robotic bartenders may be coming to an event near you soon! The Bionic Bars on some Royal Caribbean cruise ships are fun to watch as they create and mix up drinks to the beat of high-tech music, but many companies are creating cost-effective robot bartenders that may be making their way into event plans soon.
Last summer, the United Arab Emirates National Innovation Committee and Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, unveiled a project to 3D print an entire office building, including the furniture.
In May 2016, the world's first 3D-printed office was completed in Dubai. According to 3DPrint.com, "In only 17 days the building was 3D printed. One top and bottom unit were fabricated, showing off an incredible feat in new office trends. The Emirates Towers premises will house this temporary office of the Dubai Future Foundation which has all the usual conveniences integrated into the design such as electricity, water, telecommunications and air-conditioning."
The finished and furnished building was officially opened last week. This finished space is intended to be "used as meeting space to initiate communications between parties from all over the world."
See this three-dimensional video projection mapping demonstration set to music – one of the many exhibits at the recent Event Trends 2016 Showcase at the Phoenixville Foundry.
There's a lot of promise and opportunity associated with self-driving cars, but there are also a lot of concerns. The technology is still being developed and tested, so workarounds for some of the problems might be created, but the system is not perfect at present. According to Auto Insurance Center there are several pros and cons to self-driving cars. Here are just a few:
PRO: According to Eno Transportation, self-driving cars in large numbers participate in a process known as platooning, which would significantly improve traffic conditions and congestion. This would help to reduce commute times for drivers in high-traffic areas but also to maximize on gasoline usage. Meeting attendees can benefit from this by reducing stress and prepare for the meeting while traveling and still have a vehicle at the meeting venue.
CON: In order for a computer to operate a vehicle, a lot of information would have to be stored on the software. Some individuals have expressed concern about the opportunity for a computer built into the self-driving car to collect personal data.
A medium.com article earlier this year explored how holograms will impact the future of meetings, and augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality will both play a critical role. The article predicts "Where remote meetings will thrive is with AR. With AR lenses, you’ll be able to see your partners face and integrate their bodies in your current world."
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Article written by Donna Baldino, National Account Manager for IMS Technology Services