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Robots are all around you, whether you realize it or not. As defined by Reference.com, a robot is "a machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, especially one programmable by a computer." This can be anything from a microwave to a modern car, and keep in mind that, although a robot is technically automated, it takes a human in order to program and enact that automation.
Basically, a robot is an automatic device that receives behavioral instructions from a human; however, this doesn't mean that a robot can't be an intuitive part of human interaction.
SEE ALSO: Why Your Meetings Need to Evolve
An Example of Robotics in Action
In February of 2015, the Educause Learning Initiative 2015 Annual Meeting, held in Anaheim, California, decided that it was unacceptable to limit conversation and meeting activities to just attendees, so planners put in place a strategy: what if a robot could be used to marry video conferencing with robotic technology, allowing those unable to attend the ability to be in the room.
Thus, the Suitable Technologies BeamPro robot, otherwise known as, "Beam", was employed to provide at-home attendees with the ability to interface with live attendees in meetings, conferences, and elsewhere. In fact, at-home attendees had the chance to control Beam live via their home keyboards.
What Does This Mean for Your Next Event?
Obviously, there's no expectation for your association or organization to integrate robots in your next association or organization meeting, but it should give you pause to think: what technologies are you currently using, or could you soon be using, to increase the user experience?
Video conferencing and live streaming are free or relatively inexpensive technologies that are available right now, and these technologies could potentially bring many more members or even potential members into the fold when used and marketed correctly. For your next event, how much trouble would it be to organize a Google Hangouts conference or livestream your event through Livestream.com?
Other Robots in the Mix
In the Educause Learning Initiative example mentioned above, a robot was controlled by at-home attendees in real-time. Could you come up with a similar scheme? If not, don't worry as there are plenty of other options for real-time interaction. One would be where you provide for real-time chat room regarding your event. This could provide at-home attendees with the chance to hear or see the event as it unfolds, but with the added bonus of being able to provide questions and statements.
You might also turn to a site like Reddit.com to do a live update. This method allows thousands of people in your field, potential members included, to watch, receive live updates, and ask personalized questions and receive personalized feedback as the meeting unfolds.
Each of these methods, in a way, requires the assistance of robots, and by getting onboard now, you may gain an upper-hand on the competition in the future.
What technologies are you currently using, or could you soon be using, to increase the user experience? For your next event, how much trouble would it be to organize a Google Hangouts conference or livestream your event through Livestream.com? What other kinds of technologies have you seen utilized at live events?