Event Technology Awards Judges’ Spotlight: Abi Cannons

Abi is Global Innovation Success Manager for Reed Exhibitions where she works with digital teams around the world to help them find and implement the best event technology on the market. Previously at Slido – an award-winning audience interaction tool for live Q&A and polling – and, before that, managing and producing conferences for 9 years, Abi has experienced multiple aspects of what it takes to drive innovation in events. Abi loves nothing more than getting underwater and is a keen scuba diver.

  • What experience can you draw upon to successfully judge the ETAs?

    I’ve been fascinated by tech since I was a child and event technology for nearly a decade. My passion led me to be heavily involved in the Innovation Zone on the ibtm events portfolio and, shortly after that, I started volunteering to help James Morgan with the fantastic Event Tech Lab (an incubator for event tech start-ups.) 

    I loved event tech so much that I ended up working with Slido (an event tech company) when the team was still relatively small so I also have experience of being client facing working on the inside. My current role allows me to investigate event tech in the exhibition industry, running pilots and helping our global teams to implement tech in the best possible way. 
  • How long have you worked in the event industry and what keeps you interested in it? 

    I’ve worked in the event industry for 12 years (the first four years I didn’t realise there WAS an event industry as I worked in independent academic events). It’s constantly evolving so there’s always something new to learn about or experience.
  • Best (and worst?) moments working in the events industry?

    There is nothing like that feeling of arriving onsite when you’ve worked so hard on an event for so long. Watching all that you’ve planned come to life in front of your eyes is just wonderful. The worst bit is as you wait for people to turn up, hoping they do! 
  • Favourite piece of tech for work and personal life

    I love Slack… it just makes sense and does what it’s meant to and what you want it to do. Down with internal email! For my personal life… so tough… but it has to be my noise cancelling headphones; I listen to music and podcasts a lot on my fairly lengthy commute and I just couldn’t do without them. 
  • What’s your go-to piece of tech when working on an event and why?

    I’m going to say audience interaction tech (live Q&A especially). I am, of course, biased, but it just solves so many problems and is such an inexpensive addition for internal and external events. If you haven’t tried it yet – try it! 
  • From your experience, how has tech been best utilised at an event?

    The one thing I’ve found consistently is that for tech to work the whole team needs to fully commit to its success. Half-hearted implementation always ends with poor results. I used to see this a lot with Slido – when everyone was behind it (from the programme creators to the moderators on stage, to the keynote speakers) the engagement rates were really high and it made all the difference. 
  • We all learn from our mistakes! What was the biggest lesson you learned from a mistake since being in the industry?

    Set multiple alarms – that’s all I’m saying 😉 
  • What are you most looking forward to at the ETAs?

    I love the whole industry coming together to celebrate our successes. The event tech industry is incredibly warm and even competitors can appreciate one another’s achievements. I love the tech-focussed dinner conversations, sharing our stories (and the dancing!) 
  • Why is it important to recognise the achievements of tech companies?

    It’s so important that we talk about how far we’ve come over the past year and how hard everyone has worked for it. Some of the tech companies are still small and really rely on the recognition to help them grow and get out there in the market. 
  • If you could only use one piece of tech when working on an event, what would that be?

    Oh gosh – would have to be my Android phone, as boring as that is. I couldn’t pick anything else. 

The Event Technology Awards ceremony returns to Troxy on November 6, between the two days of Event Tech Live 2019.

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Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: molly@eventindustrynews.com