Engaging Attendees Through AI: EventBots by Sciensio

March 8, 2018

People want to work smarter, not harder: leveraging technology to reduce repetitive administrative tasks seems like a clear path to getting there. Potential applications of artificial intelligence (AI) within the events industry also focus on the win-win concept of gathering data to provide an improved, personalized customer experience.

Sciensio promises all of that with their EventBot chatbot, specifically developed for events. One might even be tempted to say “who” was developed for events: it is easy to personify the technology. Event organizers can give the bot a name, specific tone (for example, “sassy”) and even a backstory to create more enjoyable interactions.

Founded in 2016, Sciensio and its EventBot technology has rapidly gained industry accolades and respect: in 2017 the company was shortlisted for the Event Tech Awards, won the SISO.org award for best new technology, won the #IMEXPitch award, and was the overall winner of the IBTM Technology Watch awards.

What exactly is a chatbot? It’s an automated program that includes AI technology to interact with people over messaging apps. Sciensio works with event organizers to program the EventBot for their unique event. Pulling from data sources such as a website, online agenda, registration system, etc. the bot is a channel for information and assistance for attendees, and data capture for the planner.

Chuck Elias, co-founder and CEO of Sciensio, and Elizabeth Glau, Sciensio’s product marketing manager, demonstrated EventBots by Sciensio in the Technology Playground at the recent MPINCC Annual Conference & Expo in San Francisco. I spoke with Elias at length about the technology to get a better understanding of how it worked.

Event managers have hundreds or even thousands of people at their events, and many of them are asking the same questions. Training staff, especially temp staff or volunteers, on all the answers can be challenging even though the answers to those questions are already available somewhere (usually on the event website, or in an email).

EventBots by Sciensio make it easy for attendees to access those answers before, during and after your event. There is no learning curve, and no app to download. When an attendee needs information or help, all he needs to do is send a text message (or use Facebook Instant Messenger, or send an SMS, a Twitter direct message or several other channel options) rather than find a staff member or dig through other information.   

That may sound simplistic, but you’ve just made the attendee’s life easier, and incidentally saved time (and therefore money) for show management.  Information and registration desk staff no longer need to know all the answers, instead, they just need to be able to show the attendees how to get those answers.

The information can also be personalized to create identity-based communication. For example, if I was invited to a special dinner for members of the press and that information is tied to my registration, I could ask, “where is the press dinner tonight” and it would know the dinner I meant (or ask me a question to confirm) – but other non-press attendees would not be given that same response.

Elias said that the tool was born of a need for customer self-service and to make communications easier and less time-consuming.

“We’ve created a solution that allows customers to get the answers on their own, in the lowest-friction way possible – which is text,” Elias explained.

He continued, “Since everyone has a phone, everyone is reachable. Your attendees or participants or exhibitors can just text the bot, and they’ll get an immediate response back for anything the bot has been trained to respond to, and it will respond the same way every time, 24 by 7.”

Obviously, the bot won’t be able to answer every question. For more complex queries, it can alert event staff – or the support channel of their choice – providing them with the opportunity to seamlessly take over responses. This highly personalized level of interaction ensures each attendee gets the attention and answers that they need.   

EventBots by Sciensio also provide usage analytics, valuable data points that can be used to improve the attendee experience both onsite at the event and for future. There is a survey or polling feature that can be used to immediately capture feedback and sentiment.

Push technology is an option, for communicating important news and information to all attendees or specific segments such as session cancelations, special activities for exhibitors, or emergency communications.

“If you have a lot of people coming together for an event, you want to provide them with an easy way to get information,” said Elias. “That’s what our platform does: allows people to pull the information when they need it across any device that they want to use.”

For more information and to try the EventBots by Sciensio demo, go HERE.

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