Swapcard: Interview with Mia Masson: “AI can ...
Swapcard: Interview with Mia Masson

“AI can complement human behavior to facilitate events”

Foto: Screenshot

Mia Masson, Content Director Marketing at Swapcard about the use of their technology at IMEX BuzzHub, how Artificial Intelligence is helping to connect people and what human behaviour has to do with that.

tw tagungswirtschaft: You will support IMEX BuzzHub beginning on 12 May. What will Swapcard exactly do for this show?

Mia Masson: We're very proud of our partnership with IMEX and support their forward-thinking initiatives. Swapcard will help them to deliver a new portfolio of digital experiences and value-added services for the global meetings and events industry. As part of the new partnership, Swapcard will serve as the foundation for IMEX America’s new all-in-one, omnichannel digital experience which will run between May and September 2021. We will also have Swapcard experts speaking at the Buzz Days IMEX is hosting in May, June and beyond.

What can we expect from IMEX BuzzHub?
IMEX’s new digital experience is designed to give tangible business value to the company’s traditional buyer and supplier audiences who have now missed a year of face-to-face trade shows. The aim is to unlock fresh business opportunities and also to attract a new online audience, generating business momentum and connections in the run up to IMEX America in November.

So you will use Artificial Intelligence to connect people?
Indeed! Swapcard's True AI tools learn from community members with every passing week. Our AI analyzes the demographical data entered voluntarily and behavioral data on the platform to build a personalized journey and experience for each user. Swapcard will suggest the best people to meet and the best content to consume for each person in IMEX's community, based on their profile and behavior.

Are there other features (planned) on your platform?
We can't say too much about this yet, but there are definitely some specialized community features that will accompany IMEX in their lead-up to IMEX America in November. Swapcard is an all-in-one omnichannel platform so we aim to bring everything under one roof. IMEX's community will have only one set of login details to access content, networking, AI, different events, interactions, marketing and more. Some features include live streaming, an online marketplace, network matchmaking features, 1-1 video calls and much more.

Please explain the technology behind Swapcard for dummies?
We love this question! In a virtual event, think of Swapcard's platform as the venue. The attendees log in and experience an immersive, branded world of content, networking and engagement. They can meet people through various means of video, audio or text networking in an individual or group context. That's how they make business connections or even new friends. They can watch live streams of panel discussions and presentations, they can ask speakers questions in real time, and they can check out virtual booths in the marketplace to source new suppliers.

Our artificial intelligence algorithms track where users click - who they search, which sessions they add to their personalized schedule, their favorite exhibitors or products - and combine that with the information they added to their profile to create a list of relevant suggestions. This saves users time - they don't have to spend hours searching for who to meet or what to watch, because the platform already knows!

From the event planner side it looks different - they have a backend studio of the event where they can customize pretty much everything about their event. They also decide on the rights and access of all the people at their event - who can see who, which groups can meet each other, what times are available for networking, who's allowed to attend which sessions, size limits on group meetings, etc.

How would you adapt the technology to live events?
The funny thing about Swapcard is that we were thriving in the live events industry before COVID-19. Unlike many other platforms out there, we came from in-person events. We adapted our entire platform to go virtual when the events industry faced COVID-19. So going back to in-person events or even hybrid events will be easy for us! We've got the experience. Swapcard's platform has the same data tracking and collection, artificial intelligence, personalized schedule builder, meeting booking system, and attendee/exhibitor profile features for live events and for virtual events, in addition to integrated venue maps and badges with scanning tools.

Some might say that Artificial Intelligence would not work in the context of human behaviour – what would you like to tell them?
Humans are creatures of habit. We like what we like and we tend to stick to similar routines, especially in business or professional environments. If you're a spontaneous person with a diverse network, our AI will pick up on that and reflect it in suggestions. If you attend an event to learn about one specific topic, the AI will show you the experts in that topic that you can have a meeting with.

We believe that AI technology can complement human behavior to facilitate events because it saves time and helps attendees prepare their event days in advance. AI will never replace chance or serendipitous encounters in the queue for coffee, but it sure can help attendees make sure they don't miss any potential business connections at events.

What would you advise event planners that would like to use Swapcard: Data first?
One of the biggest lessons the events industry (including Swapcard) has learned over the past year and a half is that we need to become more data-driven. With virtual events taking over 2020, data was more available than ever before and it can really help event planners and exhibitors do better business and invest more wisely. We don't want to lose that going forwards, which is why we believe that technology is an integral part of any event. A virtual platform should accompany all in-person meetings and events to build a hybrid model because they complement each other so well. Data is the most valuable asset we can get from building online communities. Swapcard can help event planners and exhibitors track their data, measure it in real time, export it at any time, compare it to previous figures, deliver personalized experiences to attendees and customers, and make better investments.

Are there other areas at events where AI could be used?
AI not only shows users the most relevant people to meet, but also suggests content. Which sessions to watch, which exhibitors to check out, which booths could be interesting, which products and services correspond to what that user is looking for. Anything on the event platform can be suggested by AI. The secret to AI algorithms functioning at full capacity is using the platform regularly. The more a user is active, browsing, searching, bookmarking, connecting and engaging, the more accurate the AI becomes.

What are the next events where Swapcard will be used?
We just announced a partnership with IAEE's MarketHub, which is a similar community online for IAEE's members to engage with buyers all year round. We also announced a global agreement with Informa where Swapcard is being used as the preferred platform for their exhibitions, trade shows and a number of other events across the US and the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Swapcard has also been chosen as the platform for Hyatt Hotels' new suite of hybrid event offerings, Together by Hyatt Besides that, we're running hundreds of virtual, hybrid and in-person events on our platform every month!

What will be your first event when the pandemic is over?
We're hoping to organize a hybrid version of our Evolve Community editions soon, so that we could meet some of our loyal community members in person. We'll also be partnering with CONFEX in London in June, and be present onsite, as well as speaking at Event Tech Live US & Canada and UFI European Conference, as well as the aforementioned IMEX Buzz Days. We will definitely have Swapcard team members in full force at in-person events like IMEX America and many more!