Working in the events industry, building contacts with event influencers becomes one of the priorities for us. Knowing the formula of success, pros, cons, how far have we come in the industry for years; all these questions circulate in our minds! Searching for event technology or meetings technology influencer, the most heard name is of a renowned influencer — Corbin Ball.
Corbin Ball, CSP, CMP, DES, MS is an international speaker, consultant as well as writer. He helps and encourages his clients across the globe to use technology which is a true time-saver. With approximate 20 years of experience in event technology, his work has been recognized and appreciated plenty of times.
Few of his awards and recognitions include Hall of Leaders, Event Industry Council 2018, Top 30 CMP Influencers by Convention Industry Council, September 2015, The 25 Most Influential People in Meetings Industry, Successful Meetings, January 2012 and many more.
Corbin started off his career as the Meetings Manager and Head of Conference Operations for SPIE — The International Society for Optical Engineering. There he used to handle and manage all the major aspects of planning an event annually that were held in the regions of USA, Canada, and Europe. With hands-on experience in handling budget, learning about event technology, his ideas and a knack for event tech integration to improvise the event experience was a major contribution to the growth of SPIE.
Since then Corbin Ball has been helping clients across the world (to be precise 5 continents!) to embrace the event technology for their events. He provides courses, speaker sessions and training to utilize this immersive technology to cut off the major working hours that event planners and meetings specialists spend unnecessarily. You can check out his presentations and his work here.
Here are some answers to the questions we got an opportunity to ask one of the best Event Influencers of Event and Meeting Technology:
1. How would you describe the current scenario of the events industry in comparison to the time that you started your career here?
I ran my first meeting in 1979. Back then, the state of the art of event technology was an overhead projector. There were no event-related computers or software. All data were managed manually.
Today, nearly every aspect of the event planning process can be assisted with the proper use of technology, usually via web and cloud-based systems. In addition, the attendee journey using technology has become much more interactive and measurable.
2. What characteristics have remained unchanged in the meetings industry?
See my article on this topic:
As Technology Changes Events, These Five Elements Will Likely Stay the Same
3. How would you describe your typical day of work?
I spend about 100 days each year traveling on speaking and consulting business. During that time, my office is in my notebook computer. I often use it to read and write articles on my flights and keep up with business demand. When I speak in countries I have not visited before, I will often take extra days off to explore.
When I am not traveling, I am usually at my desk in my home office by 6 am. I spend the first two hours reading email and researching new technology trends. I take a break for breakfast and then am back doing more research, writing articles, updating/creating presentations, working on consulting projects, making travel arrangements and standard office accounting work. I try to get a workout every day usually knock off around 4 pm. Unless I have a big project completion date looming, I usually take the weekends off.
4. What is the most innovative piece of event technology you love the most?
I love the next, new innovative event technology product, and there have been many over the years:
1984: The invention of the first meeting planning software program (Amlink and Peopleware)
1990: The invention of room diagramming software (Meeting Matrix)
1995: The invention of template-based online registration systems (multiple vendors)
2008: The first mobile event apps emerge (multiple vendors)
I think the most innovative product I saw this last year is the use of facial recognition technology to speed up onsite registration/badge pickup. It also can make the process more secure.
5. What event tech trends according to you must deserve more spotlight apart from the mainstream ones?
I think that the Freeman’s Fuzion initiative has great potential to improve interoperability and data analytics among a wide range of event technology products (more than 90 different event tech vendors has signed on so far).
6. How many events or what major events do you prefer to attend all around the year?
Here are my “must attend” events:
Winter: PCMA Convening Leaders
Spring: IMEX Frankfurt (I usually attend every 2–3 years)
Summer: MPI WEC
Fall: IMEX America
Fall: ICCA Annual Meeting
Fall: IBTM Barcelona
Fall: IAEE Expo Expo
7. What are your hobbies apart from being an influencer/speaker of an events industry?
I love to travel. So far, I have visited 97 countries and 48 U.S. states. I am always looking forward to the next new place. I am also interested in history (particularly art history), architecture, technology innovation and bicycling.
8. As one of the most famous influencers for the meetings industry, what changes would you suggest to the event professionals?
The meeting industry is in a constant process of change. The one piece of advice for meeting professionals I would offer is based on my personal experience. That is to join and become active in a meeting industry association that most targets your interest area.
We work in a relationship-based industry and one of the best ways to build these relationships is to become active in an association. Typically, 80% of the volunteer work in an association is done by 20% of the members. By volunteering, you are working with the “movers and shakers” of the association.
Also, attendance and active participation in the major industry expos/fairs (IMEX Frankfurt, IMEX America, IBTM) is an excellent way of keeping up on industry developments.