More than 800 association executives and vendors turned out for the second annual technology conference of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), cosponsored by MCI and the Nasdaq Stock Market. It was a mind-boggling display of software and services-some 13 different categories of exhibits. About 55 companies exhibited at 64 booths at the Sheraton Washington (DC) Hotel June 13 to 15, up one-third over the number at ASAE's first technology conference last year.
Conference participants heard how technology can streamline the meeting planning process and previewed a so-called virtual conference that can create a meeting via computer or address an issue through electronic media with live participants.
"This conference allows us to share a vision-our vision of associations as technology leaders," Garis Distelhorst, CAE, ASAE's 1995-p;1996 chairman , told the opening day session. Technology, he added, provides a "new way of solving tomorrow's problems."
Products that grabbed attention included Peopleware's MeetingPro software in a new Windows version, a program that supports planning, marketing, scheduling, accounting, registration, and data management. The Bellevue, WA company demonstrated the system on-site.
ACT (Applied Computer Technology) showed software that automates the organization of tradeshow space. It can adjust data for 11th-hour requests for larger booths, identify all exhibits by product type (making it easier to avoid placing competitors next to each other), and position or group displays by specialty.
The Association Software Company, Falls Church, VA, debuted an off-the-shelf version of TASS (The Association Software Solution)-named TASMIN-for small associations' conference and exhibitor management, according to Heidi Tompkins, marketing manager. Scheduled for release in July, the program integrates "all areas of meetings, booths, speakers, trade shows, and registration" with an association's database.
PlanSoft Holdings' Ajenis didn't exhibit, but the software is slated for a rollout by the end of the year, said Doug Fox, director of marketing and a participant on the panel on technology-based meeting planning. Ajenis software is intended to create an interactive link between meeting organizers and hotel convention services departments.
ASAE's next technology conference will be December 8 to 11, again at the Sheraton Washington.