The global MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) industry is valued to 750 million EUR in 2020. It is is predicted to grow up to 1.55 billion EUR by 2030, with a CAGR of roughly 6% from 2020-2030.
Already today, MICE is a gigantic industry and the future potential and anticipated growth is impressive. While many industries have had their technological revolution already, the big bang of the MICE industry is yet to come.
Let us take a look at the recent tech revolution in the financial services sector. Startups and Incumbents have started to offer tech enabled products around current accounts, loans and investment products. Good examples are robo-advisors. These new digital platforms provide automated, algorithm-driven financial planning services with little to no human supervision. These new services enable new customer groups to invest money in an easy and intuitive way at low cost from their mobile phone.
The MICE industry is still under-digitized compared to other industries. As seen in other areas, digitization has the potential to accelerate industries and to bring up new business models and products that serve customer needs in a much better way. Areas with the highest potential to drive the MICE tech revolution are augmented reality/mixed reality, AI, NFT and the Metaverse.
With the rise of 5G and powerful hardware such as the latest iPhones, the foundation for new innovative MICE products is set. Virtual overlays for the real world are becoming virtual companions that are guiding their users through a completely new experience. AR overlays for a product presentation can deliver perfectly tailored information at the right moment and spot. For example during a new car release: Some users will be interested in the entertainment system and the AR overlay can highlight specifically these points during the event and present links to deep dive information. Other users might be more interested in the interior and will get information about these features.
But AR will not only change and improve existing experiences such as events or shopping in a store. It will also bring up completely new, standalone experiences for users right in their living room.
AR powered try-ons, virtual parties or having your favorite star giving a private concert in your living room are just some ideas that create completely new product categories that can have the potential to become a new multi-million-dollar market and move the CAGR above the anticipated 6%.
AI enables many new applications and will also have a lasting impact on the MICE industry in the coming years. Machine vision and natural language processing will be the key drivers here. If Alexa would be accessible to every single visitor of an event or store, enabling users to ask for anything at any time, then you could create custom experiences that even today sound like science fiction. Why would you go to the coffee bar and wait in the line if you can order it via Alexa to your current location?
But why should you even talk to a virtual assistant? The machine vision powered AI will know without saying that you’re getting tired, and it would be a good time to serve a coffee as it has seen thousands of people like you before and it knows what to do. Maybe it even knows that you would like to have a coffee before you know it.
Machine vision and natural language understanding is getting better every day and the current models are mature enough to launch groundbreaking innovations in the MICE industry.
The metaverse brings the virtual economies and extends the already existing MICE formats by its virtual counterparts. When you host a fair, you can do it either in the physical space or in the Metaverse or both. The Metaverse will also establish completely new formats and the players in the MICE industry are at the forefront to invent them.
Concerts and exhibitions in the Metaverse are already happening today, for example the Martin Luther King Jr. exhibition in Fortnite. This is already an impressive start but far away from being adopted by a wider audience. Maybe the burning man festival will happen in the metaverse in the future.
A non-fungible token is a proof of ownership that is stored on a digital ledger (blockchain). This proof of ownership can be used for digital assets like photos or videos. So how can the MICE industry take advantage of this trend? NFTs have the possibility to bridge the real and the virtual world as AR does. What if you can just buy the new limited edition Nike sneaker for your avatar at the physical pop-up store? What if the ownership of a Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa NFT allows you to see an exclusive AR overlay that only NFT holders can see? There will be a lot of new NFT business models in the MICE industry that will be further accelerated by AR/mixed reality and the Metaverse.
Avantgarde’s DNA is to push the boundaries of what is possible, and we will invest heavily in playing an active role in shaping the future of MICE. We’ve already started the journey by launching the first NFTs and invest heavily in our portfolio company 361DRX that purely focuses on AR/mixed realities experiences. But there is more to come. In Q2 we will launch an industry shaking product that will move MICE closer to its revolution, closer to its big bang moment.