The use of technology at meetings and conventions has become more pervasive in recent years as event planners take advantage of new digital tools to enhance the delegate experience while trimming costs.

Mobile apps, iPads and dedicated Facebook pages are now commonplace at events around the world. Among other uses, these tools help organisers to improve engagement with attendees, deliver richer content to delegates and in the planning of their event.

Here are three areas where technology is making a difference in the MICE industry.

Improving engagement

Event apps such as DoubleDutch and Eventbase are becoming increasingly popular tools for organisers to enhance the experience for participants. These mobile apps allow for live polling and Q&A sessions that encourage greater participation.

They also enable the use of games during sessions that can make for a livelier and more enjoyable event, and also makes it easier to collect feedback post-event. Such tools can be downloaded by participants directly to their smartphones or on devices provided by the organiser at the venue.

More immersive experiences

The emergence of more powerful virtual reality (VR) technology is opening up a whole new world of immersive experiences at events. In the U.S., for instance, events such as the Sundance Film Festival and the Game Developers Conference are already using this technology.

Closer to home, Audi used VR technology last year as part of an event called "A Drive Back in Time" to celebrate Singapore's Golden Jubilee, Participants were given goggles that played VR images of what Singapore looked like in 1965. They were driven around in an Audi car to the same places that corresponded to the images they were viewing in real time.

The revolutionary Google Cardboard – a simple and inexpensive pair of cardboard goggles that can house a smartphone displaying VR images – has allowed for this technology to be used on a wider scale. Organisers can hand out Google Cardboards to attendees, who can then enjoy a VR experience on their own devices.

Standalone devices such as Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear VR provide higher quality images, but their high costs means that only limited numbers can be made available at an event.

Virtualisation of events

New collaboration platforms are making it possible to hold meetings where the participants do not need to be physically present. Using technology such as Microsoft Surface Hub, anyone can join a Skype for Business meeting with one tap, connect with fellow participants and share content effortlessly.

Meanwhile, virtual reality and augmented reality technology can also enhance such virtual events by enabling high quality content to be delivered to the participants’ mobile devices, no matter where they are in the world.

Technology giant Hewlett-Packard became one of the first Fortune 500 companies to hold a virtual shareholder meeting in March 2015. The virtualisation of live events helps firms save costs and also boosts attendance as it accommodates the busy schedules of executives.

End-to-end service

Digital tools that allow MICE delegates to enjoy concierge services directly on their mobile phones before, during and after a visit are also available. ButlerPad is one such tool. Designed for hotels, it allows guests to do everything from booking a table at a hotel restaurant and sending a message to housekeeping, to requesting room service or ordering a poolside drink. All bookings, payments and messages made through the app will also be automatically transferred to the hotel guest’s records.