Smart economy means the effective use of digital technology in productions and services to generate additional value to the economy. The current smart economy is shaped by the adoption of various technologies such as data analytics, mobile application, blockchain, etc. across many industries. MICE is one of the industries that gain benefits from smart economy by making use of technology to create more innovative service in MICE value chains. For example, Incheon city in South Korea installed more than 200 high-tech IoT sensors that are able to collect the flow of tourists to be analyzed and used for development of MICE industry. Moreover, the city utilized VR technology to create SKY View Aerial VR platform, allowing organizers to explore around the city and the inside view of facilities via website.
What is Smart Economy?
Smart economy usually refers to one of the six broad development areas in smart city. It is the use of technology to help effectively manage resources and generate additional value of products or services. The ultimate goals of smart economy are the improvement of city’s ecosystem for startup, investors and businesses to be more attractive as well as the expansion of municipality’s economy in an innovative and sustainable way. Smart economy can be achieved by integrating digital technology such as data analytics, cloud, blockchain, robotics and many more into business activities. Consequently, it will strengthen the competitiveness of local businesses which will lead to the economic prosperity that, eventually, benefits to everyone.
Transforming economy with technology
The smart economy is shaped by the adoption of modern technology in business across industries. There are many modern technologies that can be exploited to improve the business efficiency.
Technologies that change a process of business operation
Data analytic delivers the insight that helps look through the customer’s mind so that businesses are able to provide tailored products or services that each customer prefers. In MICE industry, data analytics is the tool for not only creating more personalized experience to MICE travelers but also forecasting the future trend as well as anticipating the needs of MICE travelers in real time. For example, Girona flower festival in Spain changed the data collection method from traditional surveys to big data analysis via millions of visitors’ mobile data usage per day. It enables organizer to obtain more accurate data such as age, gender, nationality of tourists and movement patterns in order to generate an actionable insight that offer tourists a better experience.
Social media is changing the way on how businesses engage and communicate with consumer. It is now the most effective channel to reach a variety group of consumers as today people spend time on social media, on average, more than 2 hours per day, according to Statista, a business data platform. Over the past years, businesses have used various brands of social media to keep connect with consumers and comprehensively deliver marketing campaigns. In event and meeting industry, 96% of event organizers use the social media to promote their events and consider that social media is the most effective channel, according to Eventbrite, an event management and ticking website.
Cloud platform improves business efficiency by simplifying the process of business operations. It also helps save man hours from manual processes and unnecessary tasks. In MICE industry, there are many cloud event management platforms like Eventbrite, Aventri or Cvent that provide numerous services such as dynamic online registration, branded event website, venue sourcing and automated email marketing. A study from Forrester, a market research company, show that the use of Cvent event management platform can deliver 113% return on investment (ROI) to the event organizer.
Drone or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is starting to have more and more functional roles. In general, it is commonly used for taking a picture, recording a video or surveilling the area. However, in MICE industry, drone starts to be used in new creative ways, for instance, being a flying hanger for event’s banners and advertisements, performing an aerial show like the drone display in China International Big Data Industry Expo 2019 and becoming flying mobile hotspots that cover the event area.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is going to help automate business operation by taking over human tasks which could reduce human error and improve business efficiency. For MICE industry, according to SpeedNetworking, a matchmaking software provider, AI can be exploited in many ways such as strategically matching attendees who have the same goals or automating the conversation with sophisticated chatbot that has a capability to learn by itself from previous interactions.
Thai MICE is encouraged to grow with technology
Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) has initiated the “SMART MICE” strategy to transform Thai MICE industry with creativity and advanced technology. The strategy aims to make the Thai MICE events to be able to create an impact on customer emotion, enhance customer experience and improve customer engagement. It consists of 5 elements that are vital for upgrading Thai MICE industry which are 1) Sustainability, a consideration of impact on society, economy and environment 2) Modern, the use of modern technology in MICE events 3) Artistic, creating MICE events with creative concepts 4) Revolutionary, hosting MICE events with innovative format and 5) Transforming, continuously developing MICE formats.
Creating smart economy through MICE industry
Case study 1: Smart tourism in Helsinki, Finland and Antwerp, Belgium.
Helsinki city in Finland has created MyHelsinki platform, a digital tourism platform, to be a personal guide for tourists. It was built with real and updated contents, generated by local people, along with information that was created from three open databases, consisting of activities, location and events. The platform was also built with Application Programming Interface (API), allowing service providers such as Online Travel Agency (OTA), tour operators and media outlets to serve travelers with personalized contents and services. The open API made it possible for other businesses like Tencent, a Chinese technology company, to exploit Helsinki’s open data for developing the WeChat MyHelsinki mini program, a mobile one-stop service for Chinese visitors. Another business that makes use of Helsinki’s API is Alipay, a third-party online payment platform, to provide a mini program that transforms Helsinki into a completely cashless city for travelers.
On the other hand, smart tourism in the city of Antwerp in Belgium has utilized crowd management technology provided by Orange, a telecom company, to help move people from place to place, plan a service based on tourists’ behavior, and show an advertisement when crowd move to the area. It is able to keep track of people’s position anonymously by collecting the information from all smartphones that connect to Orange’s network within a given area. This crowd management technology usually uses during a large city event such as the Tour de France or the Tall Ships Races in order to provide visitors with a delightful experience.
Case study 2: Digital Smart MICE city in Incheon, South Korea.
Incheon city in South Korea was designated as the Digital Smart MICE city because the city along with MICE industry were developed based on ICT technology such as IoT, cloud and big data. It allows people to join the exhibition through smartphone in real time and exchange contact information for trade and business via various business connection applications that Korea MICE alliance (KMA) has developed for participants. Moreover, the city installed more than 200 high-tech IoT sensors that collect the flow of tourists throughout Incheon to be analyzed and used for industrial development of MICE. It also had the MICE control center and MICE experience center for monitoring the data that acquires from IoT sensors as well as checking the current status of MICE visitors. In addition, Incheon city has created a service platform for a variety of MICE services such as the VR Layout Arrangement System to simulate meeting room layout and the SKY View Aerial VR to explore around the city and the inside view of facilities.
Case study 3: Smart Event – The integration of digital platform in event.
International Enterprise (IE) is the Singapore’s government agency that runs over 350 events every year from small workshops to big conferences. IE has empowered its events by integrating GEVME platform, an all-in-one event management software solution, into IE’s business processes and financial system, which enables IE to tackle several challenges such as standardizing the branding and template of all events, automatically creating the same type of events, compiling online transactions systematically and complying with Singapore’s security standards. As a result, IE is able to smooth the event’s workflow process and enhance efficiency by reducing redundant tasks with automated event management system.