Exhibition World Issue 2 — 2020 - Page 56

Artificial intelligence AI serving our exhibition needs? EW finds how members of the UFI Digital Innovation Committee view AI Matthias (Tesi) Baur, founder and Senior Con- sultant in International Business, Exhibitions and Digital Transformation at MBB-Consulting Group: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a digital hot topic that’s sure to dominate discussions in the months to come. Indeed, in a recent article by Stephan For- seilles, the Digital Innovation Committee identified AI as a key development to influ- ence the exhibition industry. Recent research has shown that most C-level managers in the industry see AI as a positive development for the exhibition world. However, will we make the same mis- take with AI as we have with social media, staying largely inactive and not pushing for developments that specifi- cally serve our needs? In the past, topics such as ‘social me- dia’ and ‘communities’ fea- tured heavily in discussions, yet no proactive steps were taken. Too often, we wait un- til a supplier develops digital functionality to enhance our business model for us. As an industry, we should be more proactive in specify- ing and investigating which AI functionality could en- hance our offering for cus- tomers. How does the UFI Digital Innovation Committee view AI? On the right are some comments from our group members that describe the potential it offers business: Stephan Forseilles: “AI is potentially a revolution for our societies. Some think it will impact us as much as the invention of fire or the wheel. However, AI is not a miracle so- lution to all our problems. We have to make sure we properly educate everyone in our or- ganisations (but particularly in our C-suite) about the real capabilities of AI. It needs to become another natural tool in their strategic arsenal.” Peter Tubak: “Every new technology is a po- tential source of new services and products. As AI imitates (follows) the processes of hu- man cognition, it is predes- tined to have a game-changing role in industries dealing with human interactions. I am sure that, with the evolving power and miniaturisation of ‘AI hardware’, we will see start- ups growing up and reform- ing/reshaping (maybe even disrupting) the event industry.” Issue 2 2020 Maria Drozdova: “AI is an essential part of tech- nological progress and it will continue to develop rapidly in the years to come. How will it influence the event industry, with a great degree of human resource involvement and the contribution of certain person- alities playing a significant and determining role? AI doesn’t have to replace people, but it can simplify and speed up the processes. To help arrange meetings? Yes. To choose your business partner or to contrib- ute to the dialogue? Not sure at all. AI is a tool and human is still human.” brought to us things that have extended the human experience in some profound ways. AI will support the event industry by reading data streams and interpreting them to help us get better at what we are doing. There are many opportunities where AI can enhance the event experience – by conversing with humans in a natural language, by identifying emotions and by recognising objects. What the providers of such solutions will have to learn is to build systems that have ethical and moral values. “It is clear that AI is important and that it offers huge potential for us as an industry. We need to combine our expertise to push this topic forward. As the Digital Innovation Committee, we are dedicated to providing a platform for this topic. Please talk to us and share your thoughts and any best practices you’ve seen so that we can share this with the industry as a whole.” Silke Hoersch: Gunnar Heinrich: “To make AI a real competitive differentiator (and it definitely 56 has the potential to be exactly that), it also needs a data strat- egy and valid data. In our in- dustry, you often find at C-level still only the vague feeling that data could be somehow ben- eficial. But then it is lacking a clear idea of how to derive a data strategy from the overall corporate strategy and put it into action.” “Every new technology brings with it some measure of fear. When we first saw trains, critics said mankind will pay for the hellish invention. In fact, new technologies have For more information, check out the group sec- tion: https://www.ufi.org/ about/committees/digital- innovation-committee/ objectives-and-chair/ w w w.exhibitionworld.co.uk