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FEATURE | INNOVATIONS 42 Jul-Aug 2017 MEETINGS & CONVENTIONS • MCMAG-ASIA.COM PHOTO: ©ISTOCKPHOTO TOP 10 Over the past few years, some brilliant, often disruptive ideas have changed the nature of the travel and meetings business. M&C's third annual look at top meeting innovations presents 10 more of these developments, some already at work in the marketplace, and all promising to make waves in the future. 1 Artificial intelligence. Articial intelligence refers to the way computers and software "learn," essentially adjusting to human behaviour to improve their performance and utility. You'd be hard-pressed to nd a tech trend generating more buzz than AI. Uber just made headlines by acquiring New York City-based AI startup Geometric Intelligence, which it is spinning o as its new Uber AI Labs division. The acquisition gives the rides app a leg up on its development of self-driving cars. That new division also will be focused on the more immediate and practical concerns of better estimating rider locations and travel time. Articial intelligence is of paramount interest throughout the travel industry. AI- driven chatbots and virtual assistants, for instance, will see to it that our smartphones soon become our own mobile travel agents, responding to spoken requests to book ights and hotels. The U.K.-based tech company Grip is getting a lot of attention in the meetings industry by using AI to process attendee proles and behaviour data to make matchmaking suggestions for professional networking. Grip has opened up its application- programming interface so that event-app and registration providers can simply integrate the technology for events. Grip emerged the winner at the #IMEXpitch technology competition at IMEX America last October. 2 Second-screen technology. The motivation behind second- screen technology is to harness the power of the smartphone in nearly every attendee's hand – and to use that power for good rather than evil. In other words, it OF THE YEAR Innovations WORDS MICHAEL J. SHAPIRO

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