OPINION: New technology can't replace human touch

When I first entered the live events industry, production agencies

were beginning to tremble at the advances in technology. They thought

face-to-face communication would be replaced by new media with companies

getting together via video-conferencing facilities or addressing mass

audiences over the Internet.

Some companies I'm sure tried to achieve the kind of communication

associated with a three-day conference in a pleasant location without

even leaving their offices let alone the country. I even attended a web

address from the chairman of the agency I was with at the time. There we

were, paying homage to the dragon that looked to slay us holding a glass

of wine and a plate of nibbles. How hypocritical.

But the need to see people in the flesh prevailed and the live event

industry breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Moreover, rapid developments in the very sector that looked set to ruin

our livelihood meant it needed its own communication requirements.

Impressive exhibition stands dominate IT and telecoms shows and mobile

phone manufacturers are begging for films that show how people can run

their life over WAP-enabled phones.

So, just as the radio threatened to replace the newspaper and didn't,

the Internet has not replaced the live event. Sadly, the same cannot be

said for other industry sectors where increased consumer choice and

autonomy of decision-making has taken away the need for sales people.

Less sales people means less sales conferences. Perhaps we have been a

tad selfish to assume that the art of delivering emotional messages is

under threat, when in fact what is in danger is the continued existence

of some of our most valued and vibrant audience participants.

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