Archive for June, 2011

7 Ways to Assist Attendees with Trade Show and Conference Technology

With so much new technology—mobile apps, matchmaking solutions, RFID, social networking platforms, and lead retrieval, for example—it’s becoming more difficult for trade show and conference organizers to keep attendees up-to-date on how to use the tools. Add in augmented reality and hybrid events and the solutions designed to streamline and enhance the event experience suddenly add an unintended layer of complexity to the equation.

Since the solutions come from different vendors, there is (often) no single source for how-to information for event participants. Some event organizers have developed various ways to offer pre-event and on-site technical help to users:

Genius Bar.  An on-site tech support desk with representatives from the various technology suppliers or a tech savvy team that can point visitors to support resources is another way to assist show participants.

Video tutorials. Asking technology suppliers to provide a video tutorial of their applications—which are then prominently displayed on the event Website—as part of their contracts for service is one way for organizers to collect the content without the production costs.

TwitterTech411. Creating a hashtag exclusively for technology questions is a great way for the tech support team to communicate (by sending tweets, links, and telephone numbers) with show participants who have quick questions about technology.

Online Q & A.  Developing an extensive list of questions and answers (with a search box) for the show Website or mobile app is a good way to help exhibitors and attendees help themselves.

Roving Tech Support. Some organizers have considered engaging a tech support team (mobile concierges) to roam the trade show or conference floor with iPads, offering assistance and pointing visitors to additional resources.

On-site Signage. From high-tech kiosks to fiberboard signs, sometimes the simplest way to provide instruction about technology tools is with free-standing signage that participants can read, touch, or scan (as in the case of QR codes).

The 800 Number Help Desk.  Even with all of the advanced ways to get information to attendees, the low-tech methods are still popular. With nearly everyone carrying a mobile phone, what could be easier than calling one number to get all the answers? Even if the person at the other end of the line doesn’t have all of the answers, they can point or transfer callers to other resources for help.

June 23, 2011 at 2:15 pm Leave a comment

Five Ways that iPads will Revolutionize Mobile Apps for Trade Shows and Conferences

Although the iPad was meant to occupy the device category between the mobile phone and the laptop computer, its mobility and utility has enamored users so much that analysts predict tablets will replace laptops in the next 3 years. They are already responsible for significantly reducing the sales of netbooks. Because of their widespread adoption, iPads and similar devices will also influence the design and adoption rates of mobile apps for trade shows and conferences. Here’s how:

  1. Detailed floor plans—with a larger screen, developers can enlarge the detail of trade show floor plans making them more readable and effectively creating more and better digital sponsorship opportunities.
  2. Videos—the ability to view archived and live streaming content comfortably on tablets will prompt developers to build more spaces for viewing video into the apps including, session and speaker videos, video abstracts, product overviews and even virtual booths.
  3. Lead retrieval and survey collection—Because of the iPad’s ability to move quickly and seamlessly from one screen to the next, it has become the perfect tool for data collection and lead qualification. This functionality will induce developers to enhance the data collection capabilities of mobile apps for exhibitors.
  4. Sales automation— Because exhibitors are using iPads to demonstrate products in the booth, showcase product videos and send electronic literature to customers, mobile app developers will enhance the ability for attendees to self-select information from exhibitors before and after their visit to the booth.
  5. Social media—Smartphones and laptops make it easy to share show content, however, the photo and video capture capabilities of the iPad make it easier to collect show content. App developers will capitalize on this functionality by embedding “social media tools” in the apps to make it easier to collect, edit, and share images.

iPads will inevitability increase the adoption rates of mobile apps at trade shows and conferences. Users will download the apps more often to justify the purchase of the device and the simple utility of being able to access content on a larger screen will boost usage. Mobile app developers will continue to create applications with the tablet in mind giving users more reasons to choose iPads over laptops.

June 1, 2011 at 10:06 am 1 comment

About Roger

As a 15 year veteran event analyst, Roger Lewis is a leader and visionary in the area of event measurement. He is an expert on utilizing technology, such as radio frequency identification (RFID), to measure and understand marketing performance metrics. As executive vice president of Alliance Tech, Roger has been instrumental in positioning the organization as the number one provider of event business intelligence metrics for Fortune 500 companies. More about Roger

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