Technology enjoyed an ample time in the spotlight at last month’s IMEX, held May 16-18 at Messe Frankfurt in Frankfurt, Germany.
One of the biggest tech highlights was the annual #IMEXpitch competition, which gives event professionals the chance to check out the rising stars of the event tech sector as new start-ups compete for audience attention and votes via live, five-minute presentations in front of an expert judging panel.
The five finalists showcased innovative technologies dedicated to business networking, streamlining travel, audience interaction, crowdsourcing of content and the use of data through AI.
Spacebase, a web-based global booking platform for small meetings and events, was crowned this year’s winner.
Launched in 2014, the sharing economy-inspired portal allows event planners to book a wide range of unique, non-traditional venues, in real time, for meetings with short lead times.
“It’s always great to receive recognition, but to have this level of endorsement from an industry-leading event is really special,” said Jan Hoffmann-Keining, Spacebase co-founder and CMO.
He continued, "We are thrilled to have won this exciting award here in Frankfurt and think this is a great initiative. Winning it was a great experience for us and another wonderful thing was that two of our competitors came to us directly after the pitch and asked if we could cooperate. This is event tech - this is start-up thinking."
Besides bragging rights, Spacebase also was awarded free exhibition space at the Technology Pavilion at IMEX 2018 as well as media coverage on the show’s various media and PR channels.
Runners up included Feathr personalized event marketing; Fly Another Day, which helps planners determine the best dates and locations for their events; Shared XP, a peer-engagement crowdsourcing platform; and Showpiper, a multi-platform marketing solution that streamlines video content.
Many of these new solutions captured the attention of IMEX participants, including Kate Cioch, CEO of the Polish Society for Vascular Surgery.
“(#IMEXpitch) was a great way to showcase a wide range of interesting start-ups,” Cioch said.
She added, “I frequently use technology in my job and can already see how at least two of these start-ups could be useful for my organization.”
Meanwhile, IMEX’s new EventTech Tours gave attendees the chance to explore the show’s technology area, its largest to date.
Participants met with a variety of exhibitors during the hour-long tours, which ran throughout the show and were conducted in both English and German.
Technology enabling app creation, the latest badging developments and holograms were covered, giving planners a valuable glimpse into just a few of the myriad technological highlights that could be found across the show floor.
Tech also was explored at the three-day show through a packed program of education sessions.
Tim Bull, managing director of sales for etouches, detailed five ways technology can improve the attendee experience in real time.
Along with explaining how to use technology to boost team collaboration and delegate engagement to create more personalized and memorable event experiences, Bull highlighted the importance of choosing technology to fit an event’s objectives, or “mission statement.”
This session was part of a wider program of free education that spanned the event, with 10 tracks covering hot industry topics including technology, business skills, diversity and marketing.
“IMEX is a show that’s crafted around business – meeting new or well-known suppliers and partners and doing deals,” explained Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group.
She continued, “But we also value innovation and inspiration, and we want to help event planners to see and understand what technology can do for them.”