The Meeting Visions conference, in its third year, is unique for its exclusive focus on meeting technology and unusual for its ability to draw high-level corporate event directors. The roster this past December included meeting executives from Cisco, Nortel, AOL Time Warner, Microsoft, Dell, Amgen, PeopleSoft, and more to talk about meeting consolidation, e-conferencing, wireless advances, online registration, and other challenges of an evolving technology landscape.

In her welcoming remarks, Jeanne Skog, president and CEO of the Maui Economic Development Board, the conference sponsor, commented that, “The Chinese character for ‘crisis’ also means ‘opportunity.’” She was noting the benefits of the program format allowed by the modest attendance (about 50, including a few presenters who joined remotely) at the Wailea, Maui event. Had her comment come at the end of this three-day meeting, it could have just as appropriately summed up a major theme threading through the sessions: Event managers championing the efficiencies of technological meeting solutions are finding that today's poor economic conditions are creating an opportunity for their message to be heard by upper management.

The reaction to the focused, high-level approach was overwhelming. “What other conference do you come to where every conversation is valuable?” summed up Carolyn Pund, CMP, CMM, senior manager Americas, event marketing, Nortel Networks.

Look for in-depth coverage of the Meeting Visions conference in the Technology section of our February issue.