How to ETL live chat with Irina graf and Adam Parry

How To Event Tech Live {ETL} with Irina Graf and Adam Parry.

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Posted on November 15, 2023


Welcome to the ultimate insider’s guide to Event Tech Live London. In this exclusive blog post, we’re thrilled to bring you firsthand insights from two industry titans – Irina Graf and Adam Parry. Join us in an illuminating live chat where these luminaries will unravel the ‘How To ETL’ mysteries at Event Tech Live London ????????.

In the ever-evolving world of event technology, Irina Graf brings over a decade of experience and a proven track record of collaborating with industry giants. On the other hand, we have Adam Parry – the visionary behind Event Tech Live (ETL) and a seasoned organizer of technology conferences in Europe.

InEvent Talks with Adam Parry and Irina Graf

This dynamic duo will dive deep into various topics in this power-packed conversation, equipping you with the knowledge and tools to maximize your ETL experience. Together, they will unlock the full potential of event technology, providing you with practical and visionary insights. Brace yourself for a discussion that will equip you with invaluable insights and strategies to elevate your event game. It’s an unmissable opportunity to gain a competitive edge and thrive in event technology. 

Are you ready to discover more? Keep reading as we uncover the secrets of Event Tech Live and empower you to make the best of your time in London. Stay tuned for this exciting conversation. 


Irina Graf: James, are you joining Event Tech Live London this year?

James Morgan, PhD: I hope so, yeah. It’s in pencil on my calendar, but I need to check. Things are busy out here in Saudi Arabia. I’d love to be there.

Adam Parry: You can still tune in online, man. We are a hybrid event, after all.

James Morgan: Oh, I didn’t know that. So tell me how to do that.

Adam Parry: So, just as simple as register, as you would normally. Registration will get you access to the event platform, and then you can tune in and watch a curated stream of sessions from the show. Even if you don’t see everything or must dip out, all sessions are available per show on demand.

James Morgan – Excellent. Thank you.

Irina Graf: Thank you. We have Abi.

Abi Cannons: Hello. How are you?

Irina Graf: Good. How are you?

Abi Cannons: I’m good, thank you. My question is, there’s much to see and do in many stages and fantastic content. What would your advice be to a first-timer who hasn’t been before? How should they approach the show, what should they be aware of, and how should they get the most out of it?

Adam Parry – Alright, that’s an excellent question. First and foremost, if it’s your first time at the show, look online at who’s sharing their attendance and excitement and connect with individuals like yourself and Abi. You’re a long-standing attendee of the ETL and a part of the team, so I will say that you’ve supported this in many ways over the years. I think you should be connected with more experienced people because everybody has a different approach and a different reason or objective to be at ETL. The content is my mainstay, so cherry-pick those sessions that mean a lot to you. Still, if you come into the show (which I’m assuming you are) to look at what technology you might want to use in your shows going forward, maybe you’ve got a new requirement. You may wish to look at what’s new and innovative; the Kickstart zone is a great place to look. That’s full of new companies who are established, but that may be their first time at Event Tech Live. We have launched the STARTUP ZONE, which is again back for its 10th year this year, and that’s a fantastic place to look and speak to companies that are approaching things differently or coming up with new technologies or inventing things for the sector, so that’s fantastic. And then, there’s also our NORTH AMERICA PAVILLION, a selection of companies based in the US.

So, if you organize events in the US as part of your event program, they’re great companies to talk about being partners with and utilizing them on home soil because I know sometimes that can be a challenge. If you’re a UK organizer, make you find the right partners in the region and things like that.

I need to name individual exhibitors, which would be hard to do because so many great companies are exhibiting with us. It is closed for this year, but that’s an excellent way for buyers to come and experience the show. I’ve created one-to-one meetings with some of our exhibitors in a time-efficient manner and also have funding for travel, accommodation, and things like that, which in the modern day makes it a little bit easier for some people.

Abi Cannons: That’s great, but just to add to that before I go, you know, I’ve seen some fantastic things on the LAUNCHPAD STAGE and including our friends at LINEUP NINJA, so you know it’s well worth going and attending those short pitches, and meeting those newbies because that’s where innovation is discovered.

Adam Parry: Absolutely.

Irina Graf: Yeah. Thank you very much. That’s a very significant question. Before we go deeper into the content session and all the networking events, Is there a dress code for this event?

Adam Parry: Hats. Everybody has to wear hats. It could be any hat, but they must wear one. It’s an informal event that people can attend, extending now to our awards program. So, the event technology awards was initially a BLACK TIE event, but now we incorporate it into the mainstay of the event at the end of day one. It’s an extension of the event for companies shortlisted or sponsoring all the exhibitors and anybody who wants to come. And that has also followed that trend where people can wear whatever they want, but you get extra points if you wear a hat.

Irina Graf: Cool, that’s fine. So, about networking, just taking an example from IMEX, where they had stand parties, is it in a similar format where we also have stand parties? What do you have?

Adam Parry: That’s an excellent question. We’re not at the level of IMEX yet, with some of those parties, I wish we were. Maybe Abi and the group team or something would throw a big party next year, but we have more exhibitors doing informal drinks, networking, and drinks on their stand at specific parts of the show. I know BIZZABO currently has a pre-event networking dinner and cocktail drinks at the convene at Bishopsgate, which people can RSVP for, so check that on the BIZZABO website.

Yeah, there are lots of different things happening across the show, and then we have our networking drinks and other things.

Irina Graf: So, it’s quite a big venue, and there are a lot of halls and catering outlets, so any recommendations, like which hall will you take, how about the catering, and are there long queues? How do you move between the galleries or the stands?

Adam Parry: Yeah, sure. So, Event Tech Live is in halls 9 and 10. We have a new co-located event called EVENT SUSTAINABILITY LIVE that’s right in the hall next door to it and accessible through Event Tech Live, so if anybody is interested in sustainability or just in sustainability alone, come along and register. You’ll get access to both events. You can network with people on the sustainability side of the event.

We also have many suppliers and other content and stuff happening over there. One of the things I would check out is if they’ll have a brand new scanning option for picking up food, beverages, and other things on the go. So you tap in with your phone as you would if you were paying for something at the entrance or with your credit or debit card. You can go in, pick up whatever you want, and walk out. It charges you, so it’s like the Amazon Go Fresh store approach to things, which I certainly will be looking at because sometimes, the catering on the boulevard around lunchtime is very popular. Sometimes, those queues can be pretty long, so this way, you don’t have to queue or anything like that. So it’s an excellent option for grabbing a sandwich, drink, or whatever you need and returning to the show or a meeting.

Irina Graf: So, I remember you posted one post on LinkedIn where you said if you would get a dollar for every session proposal you got, that has AI in it ….

Adam Parry: Yes (laughs)

Irina Graf: So, will there be a lot of content sessions about  AI, and how do you pick the best session about AI to attend?

Adam Parry: Do you know what, Irina? It’s a tricky thing to judge. I think it’s both in our process. This year, for events, we had over 200 submissions for content for the show, and we can only schedule something in the region of (I think, off the top of my head) around 80 or 90 sessions across the four stages of content that we do have. So, even selecting which sessions to place and put on is a challenging part of organizing the event. Luckily, I’m not the only one involved in that, and it doesn’t fall to me. From an attendee’s perspective, you don’t have to choose because we record all of our content and archive it on the YouTube channel and the ETL website, so you can pick the ones that may stand out to you the most or the speaker that resonates with you the most. You can go and see that live at the event. But if you do miss something, or you serendipitously meet someone in the aisles, and you and you get chatting, or somebody you’ve not seen in a while, or you get deep into a conversation in a meeting, and you miss a session, you’ve not missed out on the content. You can watch that online, post-event, or through our website, YouTube channel, and other formats.

Irina Graf: That’s brilliant; I love it. You don’t need to choose, and that’s the best. I think all events need to have this approach. Do we have questions from the audience?

So tell me, why did you transition from (was it) the Old Truman Brewery, and how will it impact the vibe of the event? The brewery was very “start-up-like,” Now it’s more corporate. How do you feel about that?

Adam Parry: Do you know what? I’ve got a soft spot for the Truman Brewery. I think if you ask Abi and Maggie, who are listening, and many more of the attendees, it was a unique part that made ETL feel different, edgy, and not necessarily toeing the line of what we were (maybe a traditional trade show) and expo and at the same time when we first launched, a lot of our customers were also really early on in the journey and really in that start-up mode. Some of our most prominent exhibits are now (Like events case and others) at the starting point of their journey when we launched ETL and ETL in its format for many years at the Truman Brewery, supporting that growth ecosystem. We can make particular cost savings and make it quite efficient from a budget perspective to attend there. But as everything grew, not only our exhibitors, because they got more extensive and more established, wanted to bring bigger teams and do bigger things on site, and so did the event’s audience. Tamar Beck gave us some feedback once here that she felt it might be getting a little bit too busy at specific points, and unable to pass people in the aisles. So over the years, we’ve taken lots of feedback from the exhibitors, the attendees, and things like that, and it got to be just pre-pandemic, so it made a lot of sense for us to start looking at other venues that would allow our exhibitors to do bigger things on site, have bigger activities. But also, as I said to you earlier, it was part of our move to make it an efficient and attractive experience for people coming from Europe and internationally to the show to make it easy for them to get there, and that kind of spread to hotels and other things around the venue. And I think what finally kind of cracked it for us was that our genuine passion has always been sustainability around our show. ETL has always been a carpetless show, and we’ve done lots of their things, reused marketing materials, reused banners, branding, and all that stuff for as long as we possibly can. Recycling and things like that at the Truman Brewery, we did all that ourselves, but ExCel London is putting millions of millions into sustainable infrastructure. There are lots and lots of initiatives, and they continue to invest in that, so they support our goals in trying to make ETL and event sustainability as sustainable as possible with the small team we’ve got. There were many factors, but those were a couple of things, and I think that’s reflected now with those growing the audience and attracting more people from more countries.

Abi Cannons: I just want to add to that, which is that I don’t know how many years I’ve been coming to ETL, but at the Truman Brewery, I still never worked out the best way.

Adam Parry: And that’s how we kept people there for so long because they got lost like it was IKEA. That’s how we did it.

Irina Graf: Yeah, Adam, I wasn’t aware of the sustainability points, so it’s very good that you mentioned this. ExCel does a lot in the sustainability part, so it’s very good that you also introduced the sustainability show. It is a good development for the sustainability show. Hello Adam, what would you like to ask?

Adam Fillary: Hi, everybody. Yes, thank you, Adam and Irina, for doing this, and I apologize if I did arrive late, just in case my question was a. You. You caught me off-guard because you asked some of the questions I might have brought up, so I’ve tried to invent one, which I think is something I’ve witnessed or didn’t witness the last two or three days. I wonder if there’s any insight into how the app might be used…

Adam Parry: In all honesty, Adam, the short answer is that it is not bidirectional at ETL. You would have to be scanned by the exhibitor and followed up with, but I have seen a company come out, and they may be called MOBILE ME. I’ll have to double-check this for you, Adam, because I think they are trying to crack this from a lead capture perspective and be registration agnostic, so the data doesn’t necessarily need to be pulled from the registration system. It can be used by a company or an individual independently of an event or registration and then go off, and it kind of uses AI tools to identify the person you’ve spoken to. It may have captured just the badge, the name of the company, the business card, or some other details about that company. Then, their system goes off and queries a number of different databases and uses AI technology to prepopulate a profile for them that you can then follow up with and reach out to. So, there’s a market gap, and I don’t know how traders/organizers would feel about it.

Irina Graf: Fantastic, so everyone is listening now, and if you can support Adam with bringing advantage life to new locations, reach out. Hello?

Miguel Neves: Hello, sorry. I’m new to the LinkedIn audio event. It’s nice to hang out with everybody virtually. So I’ll be there again this year at ETl, maybe on the 5th or 6th. Adam, I’ll be asking a lot of the exhibitors their thoughts on the state of the industry, so I thought I’d ask in terms of where you think we are. I get a lot of mixed responses, you know. I see virtual event companies struggling quite a bit right now. Some more focused on webinars and hands-off servicing seem to be doing well, but I think just from the appetite for exhibiting from the value people are investing in the show. I wonder if I could get your thoughts on that.

Adam Parry: It’s an excellent question. It’s often one that I get asked a lot as well, and I think some of the movement and maybe scaling back that we’re seeing in the industry is still part of that legacy of companies ramping up quite considerably. During the pandemic, you know, support, and satisfy the desires of all that push to virtual. Maybe many companies got excited about that prospect and future, and that didn’t continue to materialize to this extent in time to the same extent post-pandemic. A lot of the industry has shifted back to the person, although even you reported on this last week about the trade show report. The statistics show that, on the whole, we’re in, so it does have to ask where those attendees are or whether they are still engaging with events. Are they engaging with hybrid versions or virtual versions? Now that’s not clear. I think the industry regularly goes through a lot of growth and acquisition. As you see it, many companies that have grown quite considerably have either absorbed companies or are fascinated by some of the other prominent players. I think that’s just part of the natural part of the ecosystem. I think some companies born through the pandemic with a purely virtual play have started to look outside the industry’s scope into sales enablement, webinars, and marketing opportunities. I think that was more of them not necessarily having anything else to offer other than that and needing to maintain what they’d set out regarding growth and market shares.

What I will say is I’m constantly inundated with inbound (I’m sure you are as well, Miguel) companies that are approaching things in a slightly new, different way. They’re trying to iterate or innovate on an existing kind of challenge within the industry and support that. I think that’s a reflection of the launchpad as well as this year; we’ve got another ten new faces to the ETL that haven’t been a part of the show before, so you know technology, it’s not just the events industry that technology has affected like this. We can look around the globe; a company always raises a lot of money and doesn’t quite make it for whatever reason. However, I’m still very bullish on event technology because the growth for me comes from what I see as (and I honestly believe this in terms of globally as an industry) our adoption rate of technology is still reasonably low, which, for me, means there’s an opportunity for both events technology companies and the drive to go along with that based on more companies now adopting technology and processes that help them support or more efficiently or make more money. I hope that answers your question.

Miguel Neves: Yeah, that does it. One other question, if you don’t mind. Do you have any (maybe not putting any specific companies on the spot), but do you have any technology or new approach from the exhibitors that has impressed you so far this year?

Adam Parry: That’s a good question. I think there are a couple of companies I like that are helping with efficiency, and I think this is where event planners and event companies start to see that value quickly. I will mention a couple. I think FFAIR is an exhibitor and sponsor that helps exhibitors get onboarded promptly with an event and is an efficient tool for planners to manage that. And it’s not just for tradeshows; this could be for corporate events, conferences, or others.

I’m going to give SESSIONBOARD a shoutout. Another one would be Bear Analytics. Unfortunately, they’re not able to exhibit with us this year. They did plan on doing it, but some other things came up, and they’re centralizing the data you get from all of these different platforms (Salesforce, Hubspot, and Marketo). They’re really starting to give you the tools to make you understand the sense of that data and understand it and quiz it and even get to the point of maybe making better predictions or forecasts when it comes to possibly launching new events or identifying opportunities to grow revenue or support attendees in a better way and marketers around registration pick up rates and drop off rates and things like that. So there are two or three companies, but as I said, I have this real passion and always have done for technologies that help support the efficiency of their business because, as an industry, we are essentially very time-poor and have movable deadlines, unlike other projects which if they overrun or they’re late or anything like that, It can often get pushed back. It’s not a big deal, but events don’t have that luxury.

Irina Graf: So, Adam, how many countries are coming to the ETL this year?

Adam Parry: As of this morning, we have 51 countries.

Irina Graf: That’s very impressive

Adam Parry: Yeah

Irina Graf: I want to offer this last opportunity to ask your questions. And Adam, is there anything you would add that I still need to cover?

Adam Parry: I’m biased, and I think ETL is a perfect place if you want to come and learn about the strategies of other organizers or other individuals in the play in the industry and how they’re approaching technology. ETL is very well supported by the technology companies and the individuals running those companies or working for those companies offering advice. Still, we also have lots and lots of the by-side, the organizer side, the planner side, getting involved in those conversations whether you’re in meetings, conferences, trade shows, brand events, experiential events, and things like that. We have got something for everybody, and if you can’t make it in person, I’ll remind everybody again: you can tune in online and get access to content on demand after the show as long as you’re a registered participant.

Irina Graf: Fantastic. I’ll try to bring Roger onstage, but it doesn’t let me. If you have LinkedIn exhibiting, Adam, maybe you can tell them they should improve their audio project.

Adam Parry: I will. I have LinkedIn speaking, and they are the first session of the day at 10 am on the 15th. So I will definitely tell Eleanor.

Irina Graf: Yes, please

Adam Parry: I need to look at this. They are making some exciting improvements to the events ecosystem, and they’re certainly doing their best to partner with event technology companies to make that as brief and seamless as possible for organizers. So they are invested, but yeah, I don’t know whether this bit falls under Eleanor, but I will surely ask. 

Irina Graf: Yeah, so I have Roger texting me the message because I just can’t bring him on stage. And another feedback on LinkedIn is that I can’t save this session, which is a shame because that would be a fantastic podcast episode. Right now, we’re taking notes, which will be published later, but it’s not the same, so my other feedback is that Roger is typing in his question, so please, everyone, wait. Here’s his question: I’m coming for an event sustainability live, so I’d like to ask if Adam can recommend some exhibitors at ETL who I should visit about sustainability. It’s an excellent question. I think we lost Adam for a second.

Adam Parry: I think I got the question. I got disconnected for some reason. We have so many. It’s tough to choose again, and it would depend on the focus of the areas you’re looking at from a sustainability perspective or where you want to make a difference. I will say we’ve got (–) supporting us, and we’ve got a number of their members participating with us, from stand builders to branding companies to companies that offer advice. I think some companies that stand out to me are doing brand-new things. There is a company called NOT YOUR EVERYDAY LIMITED, and they’ve made a considerable investment in sourcing sustainable furniture for events. The good thing about sustainable furniture is that it looks like Italian design, super high-end furniture that you would expect to see in exquisite hotels, venues, or restaurants, and they’re bringing that to the events industry. Not only is that furniture sustainable, but it is also lovely, and that’s one company to check out.

Irina Graf: Adam, sorry to interrupt. From Roger, focus on the carbon decarbonizing event platforms, reducing their impact.

Adam Parry: Sure, the one company that I would focus on or the one organization that I would focus on is ISLA, and certainly having a discussion with them about tracing, tracking, and reporting on our impact on the event from not just us but our supply chain visitors to the show and things like that. In my opinion, they’re what I would classify as industry-leading, but if you don’t want to use a platform, there is a company called Event Precision/decision. The company’s founder is called Matthew Gray, and they also work with organizers to report, manage, and track all of their impact. A fantastic company!

Irina Graf: Thank you very much. Unfortunately, I am not going in person, but I will sign up for the virtual sessions.

Adam Parry: Fantastic. Thank you very much.

Irina Graf: But I believe Celine is going, I’m sure John is going, Analise is going too. Please send us an emoji confirming that you’re going, if you are, and then you can meet each other face-to-face. So, I think that’s all for today. We covered a lot of ground. If you have any questions, please contact Adam, who can answer them further. 

I would also like to thank InEvent for making the session possible today. InEvent, a cloud-based event management platform, will sponsor event theatre for content at ETL so you can attend their sessions. They also have some incredible activations on their booths where you can experiment with creative ideas. An extraordinary chance with InEvent is that they’re hosting a raffle for ETL, so they invite you to participate in this raffle to win tickets to the ABBA concert in the ABBA arena. So this is a very exclusive opportunity to see this event live on stage. I’ll share a link to this raffle in the comments of this audio chat, so take this opportunity, and you might join the concert.

So that’s all for today. Thank you, everyone, for joining; thank you so much, Adam, for this chat. I’ve been to some of the very first ones, and it’s great to see how the event has evolved from Truman’s Brewery to ExCel London. And now you’ve already been to the US at least twice, and who knows where you’re coming next. I must say Germany is a significant market.

Adam Parry: I don’t mind for sure, Irina. Absolutely.

Irina Graf: So keep in touch. Maybe we’ll see you in Germany as well. So thank you, and I wish you a good weekend. And have a good rest before the busy show next week.

Adam Parry: Thank you, everybody, for the opportunity; thank you too, Irina.

Irina Graf: Thank you, Adam. See you soon.

Adam Parry: Bye.

Irina Graf: Bye.

To wrap this up:

Congratulations. You’ve now got the keys to unlock the full potential of Event Tech Live’s London 2023 edition. Are you ready to dive into the ETL experience armed with the insights from our exclusive live chat with Irina Graf and Adam Parry?

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