How can an event shape and connect the world?

EmTech Digital Highlight

Image courtesy to David Mort

On June 1st and 2nd, innovative projects, start-ups and innovative business leaders converged to unveil the future in intelligence during MIT Technology Review’s Emerging Digital Technologies conference (#EmTechDigital) in San Francisco, California. Participants were able to explore the global impact of digital life, engagement and recreation to illustrate how emerging digital trends will revolutionize the destinies of contemporary business and society. The MIT Technology Review’s EmTech Digital 2015 serves as an excellent model for creative ways to organize a successful, goal-oriented event.


EmTech’s Modern Mission

As an independent media company owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that offers tech news on various platforms for an international audience of millions, the followers of, can readily access daily updates and analysis along with the award-winning MIT Technology Review magazine. The goal for MIT Technology Review during this conference was to provide audiences with the tools to better comprehend the world’s technological evolution and begin an educated conversation. MIT Tech Review’s editor-in-chief and publisher, Jason Pontin, said, “We’re proud to bring the EmTech brand to the West Coast and around the globe. Our world is shaped by technology, and bringing our editorial to life on stage—introducing audiences to the people behind the emerging technologies in person—provides critical insights into how technology will affect business and society.” By hosting this conference, they could broadcast tech-oriented news while nurturing a dialogue between multi-skilled members within their innovative community.

What is the best way to bring thought-leaders from various backgrounds to discuss the newest technologies and the promising concepts? With help from the Whova app, they were able to provide an arena for open engagement for defining the future of tech. The success of this event can be measured by the value of the conversation that was initiated. Achievements from EmTech Digital 2015’s social engagement include:

  • Long-lasting Twitter conversations about technology, where people continue to use the hashtags weeks after the event.
  • 4,000+ tweets that were generated under #EmTechDigital during the conference.
  • Several publications, including FastCompany, Network World and Wired, are talking about the technology presented at the event.
  • There were 500+ attendees from around the globe.
  • 30+ top-notch speakers from Google, Oracle, etc.

EmTech Digital Tweets

Whova was honored to have been the official networking app of EmTech Digital. According to our report, the Whova app usage was driven by the need to locate other attendees (5079 views) and reference the agenda (2770 views). By gathering like-minded individuals, EMTech provided guests with an opportunity to access the driving forces behind innovators and brands. There was a total of 431 distinct affiliations, and among the 577 attendee profiles there were 75 distinct industries, including Computer Software, Internet, Information Technology and Services, and Marketing and Advertising.

As attendee Lamia Youseff, Ph.D. wrote

“It became obvious that there are three main technology pillars which will define the future .. [sic] Two of which were directly addressed at the conference and one which was viewed as an enabling must-have pillar to sustain advancements in other areas.. The three technology pillars are: Global Connectivity, BigData and Cloud Computing.”

The finished product was an augmented, two-day experience in the future, where emerging technologies and the challenges on the horizon were discussed and progress in wearables, BigData, health technology, artificial intelligence, deep learning and intelligent design took centerstage. We actually have covered many of these modern developments in our 2015 Event Technology update. EmTech had not only succeeded in its mission of opening up an ongoing discussion between hosts, attendees and their online followers, but flourished in garnering plenty of attention for both their sponsors and speakers online and offline.


Your Turn: 3 Steps to Implement EmTech’s Success at Your Event

Now let’s dive into what we can learn from the strategies that made EmTech’s event a success.


1. It is crucial to specify what your event’s mission is going to be

For example, EmTech’s mission was to explore tomorrow’s digital technologies and to cultivate a conversation on their global impact on business and society. If you’re having difficulty defining the mission of your event, we recommend:

  • Talking to your key stakeholders. You can gather valuable insight into the mission of the event by simply talking with those in your organization who are heavily involved with the vision, the planning or those who reap some benefit from holding this event.
  • Revisiting why you are holding the event in the first place. Remember that event planning is also project management: there’s no need to feel overwhelmed if you think through every goal and take clear steps to stay on track with your start date, end date, and constant communication with your amazing team with unique talents.
  • Looking at your organization’s original mission statement. It is impossible to lead your shared vision without confidence in yourself, in your event’s mission, and in your team.


2. Be sure to exemplify the goals in every aspect of your event

Here, MIT Technology Review understood and embodied their mission and were able to line up the assets to prove it.

  • EmTech’s website describes the event as “It’s not another lecture … it’s an invitation to join the conversation.” With help from the Whova app, your event organizers and participants alike have the opportunity to keep the lines of communication open until your event and afterward.
  • The entire event was highly connected on Twitter. Your MC, like Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the MIT Technology Review, Jason Pontin did, can succinctly introduce everyone to the event’s Wi-Fi password, event hashtag, as well as his or her own personal Twitter handle to field questions and better connect during the course of the conference.
  • Be sure to carefully choose your event speakers to attract the appropriate audience, volunteers and sponsors to best reflect your mission. For example, wearable tech fans were able to learn about the forefront in medical advancements from speaker and MIT Professor Rosalind Picard.
  • Details like the futuristic-looking stage, lighting, stage direction, and marketing make for a memorable time and should polish the finished product as a living, breathing standard for your event goals. Can you imagine John Maeda speaking about smart design in front of a lackluster backdrop? As he said, “In actuality design is not really about how it looks—it’s about the system thinking that went into [a product].”

3. Realize that everything is connected

All of your marketing efforts are connected to your overarching message, which depends on the quality and relevance of your speakers, who are in turn connected to the ambiance of the event space, which is then tied to the food and beverages that are served. The attendee experience is comprised of every small detail of each of these.

  • EmTech created a podcast to get attendees prepared for the event as well as build awareness for the event. With a tool like the EmTech Minute, guests and followers are able to familiarize themselves with the event themes and latest tech advancements before and after attending the event.
  • They planned to have videos ready RIGHT away so others can watch videos online. If they would have waited, this wouldn’t have fit their real-time goals and forward-thinking niche. For example, the top secret work from the developers from Magic Leap was given a 45-minute spotlight at the event. Immediately after their fireside chat at EmTech, a live video of their talk was shared via MIT Tech Review’s website.
  • The organizers of EmTech implemented Whova to engage before, during and after the conference. If attendees were wowed by a captivating speaker or an intriguing sponsor, like one of MIT’s nonprofit organizations or educational programs, they could connect and learn more on the Whova app at any time.

Steal These Tips: What Worked for EmTech & How the Whova App Can Help

EmTech successfully offered an immersive, two-day trip to its participants where a tech-savvy conversation about the digital revolution was fostered and connections were made. Hosts, sponsors, attendees and their online community were able to collaborate with a fluid real-time presence on social media, their website and, of course, the Whova app. Whova anticipated the needs of event organizers, volunteers, attendees and special guests and sponsors, so the focus could stay on this important dialogue. Allow the Whova app to transform the way you run your next event so it can have a lasting impact.

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