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Interactive elements, flexibility to drive future meetings, says GCB

But digital and technology won't replace face to face meetings, ibtm world session hears

Pictured: Karina Pierce, German Convention Bureau international business manager

Interactive elements, greater flexibility and better use of space is how the meeting space of the future will look, the German Convention Bureau (GCB) has suggested.

The bureau polled a number of event professionals to find out what elements they considered would drive meeting space design, and presented the research at ibtm world.

Technology (42 per cent) and globalisation (29 per cent) were nominated as the two most important elements affecting future meetings.

But Karina Pierce, GCB international business manager, said face to face meetings would never be totally replaced by digital.

"Things that have been working well up until now will probably continue to work in the future. Forums will stay, they just might look different," she said.

"We will never not meet in person. We will always do that because we need personal connections; you aren't going to be meeting in holograms. It's going to be part of the future but we will also meet in person too. Forums need to be flexible. If you need another chair you can get one; you should be able to modify the room to delegates' needs to make it interactive."

She said today's meeting space used 'tried and tested' methods, which would probably be refined.

Location and access would also remain another vital element, Pierce added, along with data protection.

"Sensitivity of personal data is more important when planning for delegates at an event," she said.

Dr Stefan Rief, who presented at ibtm world via video message, said: "Meetings might start with a keynote, and afterwards there is a break-out into smaller groups to build on topics. These scenarios can be modified, you can link together different venues or add digital elements to the physical meeting."

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