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GCB, Press release, USA
17 Dec 2015

Innovation Catalog Bringing Planners Cool Ideas for Tomorrow’s Meetings

Bartending Robots, Driverless Cars, Digital Interpreters, Physical Telepresence, Fog Projectors, Wifi Balloons & More Make the Cut


As in any industry, today’s meeting professionals want to know what is coming up next and how to incorporate new thinking and best practices into their future efforts. What’s cool and doable? What should they be thinking about over the next few years?  What’s further off but still worth knowing about?   Having ready access to these types of insights has just gotten easier with the German Convention Bureau (GCB) today launching its Future Meeting Space Innovation Catalog.

Free and available at, this new, online resource is the first deliverable from the GCB’s Future Meeting Space initiative announced in early 2015. This effort exclusively teams the GCB and the European Association of Event Centres (EVVC) with renowned research partner the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, Europe’s largest applied-science research organization. The goal of the multi-year Future Meeting Space study is to gather key trends, innovations and developments in society, business and technology; examine their influence and applicability to meetings; and deliver tangible tools and data to the industry. Future phases will bring focus group data and other key result reports in the second half of 2016.

The Innovation Catalog showcases 30 developments that are relevant to meetings and gives planners and industry members specific and tangible examples for inspiration and action.  These 30 were narrowed down from 120 examples identified by the Fraunhofer from their own, existing R&D activities & data and new general research; through interaction with multidisciplinary specialists—across design, science, business and meetings; and with the use of trend scouts to dive deeper into certain concepts.  The 100+ idea pool was then reviewed and vetted via a meetings expert panel to assess applicability to the meetings industry.

To make these ideas easy to browse and envision for planners, the Innovation Catalog is organized into trends and key topics with ideas marked with one of two icons noting the stage of readiness for adoption, including Ambition: in the latter stages of R&D for implementation in the near future; and Vision: highly conceptual with meetings feasibility yet to be fully determined.


Some highlights in the Innovation Catalog include

Community/Society Trends – The Sharing Economy, Personalization, Multi Gen & Security—Here all kinds of sharing -- for Gen Y through Silverpreneurs – is discussed calling for more networking, knowledge transfer and resource exchange to grow collaboration and sustainability.  Gamification, use of Instagram for InstaWalk virtual event tours, customized learning, innovation bootcamps, match making apps and more are presented here. Security is also mentioned in terms of both physical and data privacy and protection.

Technology – Digital interpreters, 180o projection and mist projectors that allow you to present info, images and video mid-air are coming.  Physical telepresence or tangible media technologies that allow remote speakers to be seen, heard and even move and demonstrate objects in the audience’s separate location are becoming possible as well.

Mobility - Alternative mobility concepts and means of transportation like car sharing, zoomorphic robots, driverless cars, electric busses and drones are explored to not only move people around, but also materials used to build a booth for example.

Infrastructure – LED virtual skies for meeting spaces, Wifi balloons for remote locations, phase changing materials that create heat and cooling without energy use, cashless payments and chip implants are all ideas that find a home in the Innovation Catalog.

Matthias Schultze, Managing Director of the GCB, explains: “As a leader in the global meetings industry it is critical for us to continue to invest in research and initiatives that move our industry forward and provide fresh ideas.  We hope this unique study will prove to be a valuable resource for planners.”

EVVC President Joachim König adds: " ‘The Future Meeting Space' takes a truly comprehensive look at business, technology and culture, giving event professionals ideas that they can put into practice soon and well into the future.”


About The Future Meeting Space
The parties involved in the Future Meeting Space innovation network include the consortium leaders GCB and EVVC, the project manager Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO as well as the research partners KFP Five Star Conference Service (event management & A-V leadership), the SevenCenters of Germany (marketing alliance between the seven largest  conference centers in Germany including Berlin, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich & Stuttgart), visitBerlin Berlin Convention Office, the National Tourist Board of North Rhine-Westphalia Tourismus NRW e.V. and Drees & Sommer (architecture).


Pictures and more information on select ideas in the catalog can be found at:


About the GCB
The German Convention Bureau (GCB) represents and markets Germany as a destination for conventions, meetings, events and incentives both on a national and international scale. It is the first point of contact for companies, associations and organizations around the world planning events in Germany.

Acting as a connector to the wide range of German event service providers, venues and host cities, the German Convention Bureau (GCB) provides hands-on advice and support to planners and executives in all industries and organizations. To bring maximum value, quality and customization to each meeting and event hosted in Germany, the GCB also helps hosts and attendees leverage the country’s deep expertise in green meetings and key industries such as pharmaceuticals, financials, automotive, logistics & transportation, and technology.

The GCB’s more than 200 members, representing 450 leading hotels, convention centers, destinations, event agencies and service providers of the German meetings and conventions industry. Congress Hall at Leipzig Zoo and Hamburg Convention Bureau are Preferred Partners of the GCB. As Strategic Partners, Lufthansa German Airlines, Deutsche Bahn (German Railways), and the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) support the work of the GCB.

The GCB website ( serves as a useful online tool to find detailed information on Germany, search venues and vendors, get tips for green meetings, catch up on the latest news, access travel guides, and much more.

Follow the German Convention Bureau on Twitter:


For further information, please contact:

Beth Lutz

(978) 273-2493

Jennifer McNeil 

(508) 380-2902


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