by Michael J. Shapiro | November 30, 2017
MeetingPlay, an event-app platform that's been on the market for about five years, will roll out new features next week in its fourth-generation platform, to debut at Marriott's Corporate Partnership Conference in Los Angeles. MeetingPlay founder Joe Schwinger previously oversaw e-commerce initiatives for North America at Marriott, and the hotel giant was instrumental in encouraging the development of the initial product. Next week, MeetingPlay will attempt to assist Marriott in achieving its primary goal of creating brand ambassadors for all 30 brands in its expanded portfolio.
 
To help achieve that goal, MeetingPlay's new features represent three key trends in event technology: augmented reality, artificial intelligence and chatbots. 
 
The augmented reality aspect will be combined with gamification to create a challenge for attendees, in which they must match everyday objects with specific brands in Marriott's portfolio. Designated AR tokens will be placed throughout the conference venue; when attendees hover their devices over the tokens, an image - such as a running shoe - will appear, along with a clue about a single brand. After multiple images appear, attendees will have to select from among a number of Marriott brand logos the one that best matches the displayed images.
 
Artificial intelligence will take the form of curated content, personalized for individual attendees. When users first launch the app, they will answer a few questions about their interests, indicate what sessions they'd like to check out and provide their purpose for attending the conference. Then the app will produce a Netflix-style home page suggesting relevant content in the form of sessions and speakers that the attendee may not have known about. The more the attendee uses the app, the more the app learns about that person's interests, and the more accurate the content suggestions will become.
 
The latest MeetingPlay platform also will introduce a chatbot for the first time, a virtual assistant that can respond to voice or text commands. Attendees will be able to ask the bot questions such as "Where is the general session?" and "What am I doing tonight?" and receive quick responses without searching in the app. 
 
MeetingPlay has been beta-testing the general features with key customers to prepare for a prime-time debut. Following the Marriott conference, the features will be available across the brand's customer base.