Mobile paves the future for events

EVENT organisers who leverage mobile will reap rewards in an industry that has traditionally been a slow adopter of such technology, pointed out participants at The Americans Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition (AIBTM).

Hailing mobile as an “extremely important” trend in the meetings and events industry, Steve MacKenzie, vice president of global channels at etouches, urged event organisers to increase attendee engagement through smartphone apps.

“Events have a lifespan of several months, not just a few days,” he said. “Let attendees start talking before the event starts.”

MacKenzie also singled out hybrid event solutions – simultaneous offering of face-to-face and virtual experiences – as especially beneficial amid current challenging times of budget cuts and travel restrictions.

“Hybrid options are becoming popular to offer onsite and a virtual piece of the event,” he said, citing streaming videos and Twitter live-feed walls as examples.

Adam Laufman, sales executive at CrowdCompass by Cvent, also encouraged event planners to adopt native apps over web apps to enhance the user experience.

“Major players prefer native apps – think Apple, Google and Facebook. Native platforms are more secure, deliver a better performance on all devices and allow full access to back-end systems.”

Sallie Coventry, portfolio director – IBTM global events portfolio, Reed Travel Exhibitions, shared that the company has “invested in technology as a portfolio over the last 12 months”, including a multi-event app for all its shows and a new hosted buyer technology platform that enables greater flexibility and enhanced meet-and-match experience for show attendees.

Likewise, Seo-Ha Lee, CEO of Busan-based I-Convention, revealed that the convention company uses apps to provide attendees with information on the exhibition and destination, offering different languages of English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese.

Looking ahead, wearable technology like Google Glass or devices such as iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy Gear are expected to become more commonplace and shape tradeshow technology, Laufman posited. “We have no idea what we will see in 2015 or 2016.”

AIBTM is running from June 10-12 in Orlando, Florida.

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