Sometimes you read a sentence and you wish you had come up with it.

It happened to me recently – it was a statement sentence for an event company.

We help engineer serendipity.

Brilliant. Utterly, utterly brilliant and it’s brilliant on so many levels.

Now, I’m a cynical old sod so I would normally assume that they had lucked out with that copy but when you start digging on the company – you realise nothing is down to luck with these guys.

The company is Ci and they run the ultra successful conference/exhibition called Web Summit amongst others.

Since their launch in 2009 they have scaled from 400 attendees to more than 22,000.

And the majority of their success comes down to event decisions based on data and algorithms.

They hire statisticians, engineers and physicists to work out hugely complex systems and network analysis to create those ‘serendipitous’ meetings.

Registration data – Their registration system soon revealed that the start-ups attending Web Summit weren’t looking for investors which would be a natural assumption. They were actually looking for talent and developers. They changed the proposition to accommodate this.

Speaker content – To help curate the content of the show they didn’t hire a conference producer they used NetworkX which is a bit of software that can uncover the single most important person within a given community. The higher the influencer, the more likely people are to attend to hear the presentations – great content and big crowds.

Seating plans – An applied statistician created an algorithm to draw up table plans for supporting dinners and awards ceremonies that were absolutely evenly distributed.

Queue management – A lot of organisers go delirious when they see busy aisles and queues for seminars – it’s not a good thing. One of the Web Summit team has a background in ‘Machine Vision’ so Go Pros are set up all over the exhibition area to improve the flow of people.

Machine vision for improved exhibition areas and exhibitor performance – brilliant, utterly brilliant.

I’ll leave it there…

But if anyone wants to have a chat with about next generation exhibitor management…you know what to do…

Jim heads up Exhibitor Smarts, which is a newly created specialist agency working alongside organisers and suppliers to ensure that exhibitors engage, grow and return.

If you want more information about the Exhibitor Smarts please visit our website at

For exhibiting tips and chats follow Exhibitor Smarts on twitter: @exhibitorsmarts

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