Small Market Meetings

MAY 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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May 2017 Ma y 201 7 9 Spellos Bringing Tech Savvy to Small Market Meetings Conference By Dan Dickson W hen technology expert James Spellos was asked to do a phone interview with Small Market Meetings maga- zine, he asked his AI to handle the arrangements: to check his calendar, suggest available dates and times to the maga- zine writer, and ask the writer to respond. AI, or artificial intelligence, is a tech development that is rapidly spinning forward and becoming more commonplace. Spellos, who lectures about the tech world in college classrooms and corporate boardrooms through his company, Meeting U, will be a speak- er at the 2017 Small Market Meetings Conference in South Bend Indiana, September 26-28. He has addressed the conference before and always brings fresh tech ideas to the group of delegates. After a few back-and-forths with the AI, whom Spellos nicknamed Amy Ingram, the phone con- versation was scheduled and the interview com- pleted. "AI is in the very early stages. It's just start- ing," Spellos said. "I have seen tools such as plan- ning, transcription and language interpretation where artificial intelligence seems to be doing the job. It is permeating some of the needs that plan- ners have to get services done for their events." Some companies are learning about AI and try- ing it out, Spellos said. Individuals may be bene- fiting from it and not even know it. The tech guru said AI isn't like asking your phone to dial some- one by name or asking Google to look up infor- mation for you; that's essentially voice recogni- tion. AI does more complex things a person would normally do. It's like a robot learning from a human being and improving outcomes for them. "At trade shows, it's rare if I don't see at least half a dozen hotels, convention centers or cities using virtually reality displays to show their properties," said Spellos. "It helps clients get a more intimate view of what they might be booking in that city." Another new tool is augmented reality. This is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real- world environment. The elements in it are enhanced, or augmented, by computers that pro- vide graphics, video, audio or GPS information. By Dan Dickson Conference Cash was a popular item during the new sponsor auction at the 2016 Small Market Meetings Conference. James Spellos Planners are using this tool, said Spellos. "They use it more in their marketing to push out content that is above and beyond what a regular catalog or brochure, for example, might show." While planning meetings, mistakes are made because of the human element, but planners find ways to overcome them. They can use tools that allow them to make sure everything runs smoothly for their guests or attendees. Spellos warns that tech tools are good only if they allow those attendees to enjoy a better experience. "There is a fine line in the technology conversation between using a tool because it is new and cool and using something that best supports the bottom line of the company or organization," he said. Spellos' website,, explains his take on the latest technology developments and includes videos of Spellos in action at various conferences.

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