CIC FORUM TACKLES TECHNOLOGY Technology's effect on the meeting industry was one of the top topics the Convention Industry Council (formerly the Convention Liaison Council), a council representing 26 associations in the meeting, convention, and exposition fields, tackled at its second Industry Forum. The 2000 Forum, which was held in December at the J.W. Marriott in Washington, D.C., drew about 150 guests.

Corbin Ball, CMP, founder, Corbin Ball Associates and MM's technology columnist, said that on the positive side, globalization of business would create the need for more meetings; that the isolating effect technology has on people's lives will create a need for more face-to-face meetings; and that the need for adult education will only intensify. In fact technology has spawned many meetings.

On the negative growth factor scale, Ball said time starvation, information overload, and virtual meetings and distance learning could negatively impact the number of face-to-face meetings, especially if the economy goes south.

In terms of emerging technology trends that will impact meetings, Ball cited two major technologies. Broadband will make high-definition video technology available anywhere, including airports, convention centers, and hotels.

The introduction of G3, or third-generation wireless applications, a protocol that allows global high-bandwidth wireless Internet access, could also be revolutionary for meeting attendees. "Your cell phone will morph into a wireless palm device, a video camera, a video phone, a still camera, a Walkman, a pager, a television, a radio, a geo-positioner, a wireless Web browser, and more," said Ball.

Ball also described a new wireless networking device from Shockfish, which allows you to enter your preferences and determine who around you in a 20-foot radius who also has the device matches those preferences. This concept provoked the most controversy of the day, particularly about privacy issues. (For a full report, go to www.meetingsnet.com, and type in Flash Forward in the Key Word search section.)

CIC Searches for New President Meanwhile, the CIC has created a President Selection Committee to cooperate with CIC's association management company, Association Management Group Inc., McLean, Va., to search for a new full-time CIC president, a position left vacant when Garis Distlehorst, who has held the post since summer of 1999, left in December to head up REC- TECH, a producer of electronic directories based in Cleveland, Ohio.

The new president will be based in AMG's offices, and be responsible for the day-to-day management of CIC, including overseeing the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) program.

It's not located in the pharmaceutical corridor, but don't hold that against the Center for Biomedical Learning at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. The one-year-old, high-tech facility was built specifically for medical education. The CBL is not just a facility you can rent - utilizing the resources of the university, CBL staff design training programs customized for pharmaceutical, biomedical, and medical device company clients. A variety of certificate programs are available, including ones in clinical studies and advanced pharmaceutical marketing; the center also offers preceptorships with university faculty. The facility is a member of the International Association of Conference Centers. Its meeting rooms accommodate from 15 to 250 participants. There are no sleeping rooms at the center, but there are hotels 10 minutes away. In addition to developing program content, CBL staff can arrange catered meals on site, as well as off-site entertainment and tours.

So far, clients include Aventis, Pfizer, and Schering, says CBL director Julie M. Wood, who formerly created education programs for Fisons Pharmaceuticals. Now, the CBL is also marketing to medical associations, she says. For more information, contact Wood at (716) 273-1609.