Over a third of its hosted buyers (40 percent), visitors (34.5 percent), and exhibitors (37.5 percent) think technology will deliver the meetings industry's next big innovation, according to the IMEX Group. With that in mind, the next edition of its IMEX America trade show -- taking place Oct. 18-20 in Las Vegas -- will feature several programs that put new technology front and center, it announced yesterday.
First up will be #IMEXpitch. Taking place Oct. 18, it will feature technology start-ups who will compete in a competition during which each has five minutes to pitch their product to a live audience. A winner will be chosen from a group of five finalists by an independent expert judging panel, and will receive as its prize free space on the Technology Pavilion at next year's show.
"IMEX has a long history of being at the forefront of showcasing event tech. The competition is truly where the industry looks for the latest innovations changing the game for event professionals, and is also an amazing opportunity for startups to attract significant attention and buzz around their products," said Tara Thomas, co-founder of event-tech website The Meeting Pool and one of the #IMEXpitch judges. "I'm excited to be involved this year, and to see what I know will be an incredible lineup of companies."
Along with #IMEXpitch and the Technology Pavilion -- an area on the trade show floor dedicated to technology suppliers -- IMEX America will boast a "TECHknowledge Area" devoted to tech-themed education sessions, Q&A exchanges on topics like Snapchat and OneNote, and a Gadget Lab guiding visitors through the latest tech solutions.
Finally, the show also will offer a series of "TechTours" for buyers who are interested in meeting the experts behind the most popular innovations featured on the exhibit floor.
Said IMEX Group CEO Carina Bauer, "Technology has long led the way in innovation, particularly in the meetings sector. This innovation often comes from startups entering the industry and we see many interesting ideas from new businesses through our #IMEXpitch competition and across the show floor."
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