June 28, 2018 | Zoetermeer (NL)

Conferences powered by AI: RAI implements ORTEC’s recommender system to add value to the event experience

RAI Amsterdam, a conference and trade show organizer, has implemented an AI-controlled recommender system for its events. The self-learning technology is developed in association with ORTEC. The recommender system is presented today at the AI Expo Europe, taking place in Amsterdam.

Recommender systems suggest content or products based on personal interests and other data. They are known primarily for being used in apps like Spotify and Netflix. This technology is now being introduced into the events space. RAI organizes dozens of national and international conferences on a yearly basis. ‘Horecava’ and ‘Huishoudbeurs’ are among the most well-attended, with over 1.5 million visitors. The organization strives to bring visitors and exhibitors together in an inspiring way. With the newly developed recommender system, created by ORTEC data scientists, RAI will continue to strengthen its position as a ‘matchmaker.’

Conferences powered by AI: RAI implements ORTEC’s recommender system to add value to the event experience

Bret Baas, CIO of RAI: “The better we understand our visitors, the better we are able to facilitate inspiring encounters with exhibitors. We tested the recommender system developed by ORTEC at several conferences, and noticed that the quality and frequency of relevant encounters improved. Therefore, we implemented the technology for all our self-organized events. We started sending personal recommendations to visitors before their visit and extended this to help with orientation and travel preparations. We will also use the system for recommendations post-events. This way, we can help our visitors throughout their journey and add more value to their event experience.”

Award winning technology
ORTEC’s recommender technology recently won prizes at a recommender contest held by innovation lab NewsREEL. The system is powered by AI techniques such as machine learning, data mining and user modeling. Pieter Bons, Data Scientist at ORTEC, explains: “Recommenders are especially interesting since they have something human in them. With a unique combination of algorithms, we are capable to mobilize user knowledge and find the balance between interests, inspiration and temptation. We translate data, such as reviews and behavior, to relevant, personalized and sometimes surprising recommendations. Our technology is distinctive, since decisions are based on behavioral data of all users. The collective intelligence of the entire user group is then converted into a common theme used throughout the content. This leads to less irrelevant information, more engagement and satisfied visitors.”

Bons has high expectations of the recommender technology: “At the moment our focus is mainly on optimizing existing use cases, but possibilities to create new things abound. In RAI’s case, insights from the recommender can be used to furnish the conference space more efficiently, in line with the information needs of visitors. They can also discover new topics that can be addressed at a conference. It’s a technology not only applicable to the world of events, but can also be applied in other sectors, such as the travel, retail and media."