by Alex Palmer | January 08, 2020
Several event management and technology solution providers have unveiled a set of data standards aimed at creating greater consistency and efficiency throughout the meetings industry. 

Announced at PCMA's Convening Leaders conference in San Francisco, the effort aims to eliminate the manual process of managing data sets -- creating, confirming and updating them regularly -- that is required of many industry suppliers. Leaders from organizations including CadmiumCD, EXPOCAD, Freeman, GES, Map Your Show and Personify A2Z Events announced the effort and expressed the goal that more vendors to join in this unified approach.

"Collaborating on a set of standards has the potential to revolutionize how we work and grow as an industry to meet customer demands. These standards will alleviate ambiguity, guarantee quality of work and boost productivity," said Danielle Puceta, senior vice president of digital at Freeman. "We have demonstrated our commitment to seamlessly exchange data in an appropriate and secure manner through recent initiatives and this standardization effort is another step forward."

As a Freeman spokesperson puts it, the data sets and reporting that pass between these various companies today are often different. If Freeman request an exhibitor list from A2Z for one show and ExpoCAD for another, the reports may be completely different. Once receiving the list, Freeman or GES is then required to reformat and cleanse the data so that it can be properly imported into our own internal systems extending processing and response time. By setting these standards, the organizations aim to empower their organizations to communicate more consistently, and in turn remove the time-consuming manual data cleansing and manipulation.

This first set of standards is a preliminary step, aimed at setting a baseline for moving data between organizations, including the data objects and field-level details needed to work with exhibitor data. This includes setting parameters around field types, length, formatting requirements and relationships between exhibiting companies, their booths, and the contacts responsible for them.

Though it is still early in this effort, leaders of the organizations involved expressed enthusiasm about its potential value for the wide range of trade-show stakeholders.

Michelle Wyatt, co-founder and CEO of CadmiumCD, stated that agreeing to set standards across a variety of platforms is essential "for any show to be effective in reaching their target audience."

Roger Price, general manager for Personify A2Z Events echoed these sentiments, stressing that the organization's clients expect a seamless experience across channels for attendees, exhibitors and sponsors.

"Creating standards that support interconnectivity across the show floor, mobile devices and website portals allows them to focus more time on creating exceptional experiences and less time managing technology," said Price. "The implementation of these standards will help us and our clients deliver on that promise."

Those interested in joining the effort were encouraged to reach out to Donald Bishop, sales engineer at Freeman ([email protected]) or Amar Barua, vice president of global business applications at GES ([email protected]).