“I went hybrid in 1980!” Why tech isn’t as new as you think

Many claims about new technology in the meetings space are misplaced, and the tech has often been around for years, according to one long-standing eventprof.

Ken Clayton (right), who has been in the meetings business since the 1970s and is one of the directors of technology company RefTech, is behind a new blog that seeks to dispel myths about event tech.

Clayton is not using the blog to promote RefTech products – instead, he says he wants industry insiders to understand the background to claims made on behalf of various technologies.

“There still seems to be an assumption that all of the tech now used in the events industry is pretty well brand new,” he says. “The idea is probably connected to the fact that so many of the people in the business were born after much of the tech was introduced. How many know that video projectors were being used at least 45 years ago? Or that the Web (not the Internet – that’s different) began making inroads around 30 years ago?

“You can look at most of the tech that’s been hailed as ground-breaking and find that it’s often been around for years,” he says. “Take hybrid events, for example. We used a hybrid event as part of the launch of the Mini Metro in 1980.”

However, Clayton is keen to point out that he is not trying to undermine any of the tech developments.

“The thing about any tech is that it will be right for some meeting planners but it’s unlikely to be right for all,” he says. “Planners need to look at what they’re being offered very carefully and not just accept the sales message they’re given.”

“I hope that understanding where all of this tech – some of it introduced before many of today’s planners were born – comes from will means there’s a better chance of planners being able to choose the right tech for their organisation and their events.

“Having been around through all of this, I thought it was time to look at my experience of some of the technologies that have become commonplace in our industry.”

The blog is available at

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