If you have ever been to large event, you know how many questions there can be:

“How does registration work?”

“Where is parking?”

“What time are the sessions?:”

“Who are the speakers?”

Last fall, TEDxMileHigh offered a new resource to event attendees to help with event communication to answers these commonly asked questions. In the true nature of TED, which stands for,“Technology, Entertainment, and Design,” we launched an event guide, that used a new AI technology, designed to help with communication, and here to keep you informed and entertained throughout the year.

Chatbot and A.I. at TEDxMileHigh

The first TEDxMileHigh Facebook chatbot was launched in November of 2017 at TEDxMileHigh: Wonder, our largest event to-date, entertaining an audience of over 5,000 people.

Communication was key. We wanted to make sure everyone had access to a layout of the Bellco Theatre. We wanted attendees to know where to grab lunch, what the schedule looked like for the day, when to return to their seats for the next sessions, how to get to the after party, and information about our speakers.

There were a lot of questions being asked as well. Our chatbot offered a new channel for attendees to communicate, interact, and engage with during the day long event.

What is a Chatbot?

Chatbots were first introduced to assist with customer service and conversational selling, primarily on websites. You have probably also texted “12345” to a phone number to get a discount, submit comments for political campaigns, or donate money – that type of technology also makes use of chatbots.

How it Works

If you attended Wonder, you probably remember seeing large poster boards placed at the entrance of the theater, with instructions on how to interact with our chatbot.

Step 1: Update to the latest version of Facebook messenger.

This was an important first stepdue to the nature of the platform. Facebook messenger chatbots require you to use the Facebook Messenger app. Once the Facebook messenger app is updated to the most recent version, the audience is then equipped with the correct tools and technology to use the platform.

Step 2: Open your camera in the Facebook Messenger App.

There are a few different ways to opt-in to a Facebook messenger chatbot. The first is online through a direct conversation with the messenger platform. The other is through scanning a parametric code (similar to a QR code) that opens Facebook messenger upon scan completion.

Interact with TEDxMileHigh Through AI
Interact with TEDxMileHigh Through AI

Step 3: Instead of taking a photo, hold the center of the screen and point the phone at the code.

The first thing anyone wants to do with a camera, is, well… take a photo! Instead, we wanted to teach people how to scan the new code. The trick here was showing people how to do this. Volunteers were placed at each board, assisting attendees with the new process.

The big question though was, would it work?

We were confident it would. Being a marketing nerd, this relates back to Rumsfeld’s theory of knowledge about unknown knows. “Things we don’t know that we know, all the unconscious beliefs and prejudices that determine how we perceive reality and intervene in it.”

To communicate with our chatbot, it simply took one step. Similar to the familiar process of scanning a QR code and opening a website, attendees scanned our Facebook code, which then sent our attendees their first message.

 

The message presented the critical information for the event: Learning About Speakers, Map of the Venue, and the Schedule.

In addition to having a flow setup to assist with generation information, we also set keywords up to respond to common questions, such as:

“How does seating work?”

“Where is the after party?”

“What is for lunch?”

An additional series of messages were also scheduled out to help people know when we were ready for our next session.

Interact with A.I. at TEDxMileHigh
Interact with A.I. at TEDxMileHigh
Interact with A.I. at TEDxMileHigh

Cool! Now What?

We had a lot of fun with the new technology! But our next step was to figure out what to do with it after the event. We wanted to provide ongoing value to the attendees. But how?

We looked at what benefits and value information we had to offer this exclusive audience.

One of the most frequently asked questions our organization is asked on an almost daily-basis is, “Who is speaking?”

We’ve offered a first look inside our speaker lineup to this new, exclusive audience. They are the first to know not only about our speakers, but to be in line for adventures, event upgrades, extra contest entries, and are offered first chance at locking in our early bird tickets.

For the questions that we can’t plan responses for on the platform, we also have a couple awesome humans, following up online manually. The new technology is a growing tool and a constant learning process. We’ll get smarter with the more use that comes from our audience and the questions that they ask.

Try it out now!

Since you’re most likely reading this from your mobile phone, laptop, desktop, or tablet, we want to invite you to say "Hi" 👋 to our chatbot and try it out for yourself!

Get a TEDxMileHigh talk delivered to you via Messenger. Simply message the word INSPIRE to https://m.me/TEDxMileHigh to test it out!