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December 18th, 2014

brainIf you had a chance to read April Moore’s interviews with IntoMotion President, Jack Cardinal, then you’ve already read a lot of excellent advice on gamification for training sessions. While all business events strive for audience engagement, training sessions have an even more pressing need to keep an audience’s attention. Training sessions take money and work hours, and a company certainly wants to make the most out of those expenditures. More importantly, training sessions MUST bring valuable information to the work team; it is essential that the information is passed on, understood, processed, and remembered. Training sessions directly impact a company’s success rate—but only if the learning process is a success.

Delightfully, games are an excellent way to distribute new information and to ensure that the audience understands it. Whether your training session focuses on learning a new skill, mastering a specific task, or improving a broader function, you can guarantee that a gamified training app can simulate and stimulate—simulating the conditions to which workers will need to adapt, while stimulating their creativity, their competitive nature, and their willingness to learn!

Simulations – taking note of the popularity of games like “The Sims” and “Farmville,” people find addictive challenges in games that put them in virtual management roles. Supporters and researchers suggest that simulations help put the user into a completely new environment—one that is seen, heard, and manipulated rather than simply “listened to.”

Consider this quote from “Why Use Role Playing?”

Information, alone, rarely makes people change their minds, but personal experience often does. Role-playing, like any good inquiry approach, transforms the content of education from information into experience.

Tests and Quizzes – tests and quizzes have been a part of education since education began. The only way to truly know if an individual understands a new concept is to ask them to explain it fully to you or to demonstrate its use. What’s changing is the idea that tests and quizzes need to continue to be boring pencil and paper ordeals. Gamification infuses testing with all the sights and sounds of games—it drives test-takers further and rewards them for their efforts.

Competitions- deep inside us all, we have the instinct to survive through competition. Gamified training sessions help tap into this competitive nature. Whether you use individual competition, team competition, or timed competition, nothing pushes people harder than the secret (or not so secret) desire to win.

Scoreboards and Leaderboards – be sure to encourage trainees through scoreboards and leaderboards. Not only are they an excellent way to promote engagement and a healthy spirit of competition, but trainees also view them as a reward for their hard work and accomplishments. Everyone likes to be recognized for their efforts!

December 11th, 2014

file3021254774496By now, Event Planners (and everyone else) have realized that social media affects everything we do. In events, we have two choices: either ignore social media and hope for the best, or use social media platforms to enhance our event culture. The same principle applies to events and gaming! In our series on event gamification, this post will address the connection between social media and games. We’ll discuss some ideas to use when incorporating the two, as well as discussing some of the particular ways that social media gaming can make events more fun, while also helping to achieve business goals.

What defines a “Social Media Game”?

Social media gaming can seem similar to online gaming, and there are certainly overlapping qualities; however, a social media game is defined by three main characteristics:

  1. A Social Network – it makes sense, social games are distributed through social networks, and many elements of the game depend upon making connections rather than simply playing alone. Furthermore, social media games offer the chance to incorporate a participant’s profile of revealed preferences—such as friends, demographics, outside interests and lifestyle information.
  2. Shorter Playing Times – rather than more advanced interactive entertainment—such as role-playing games—social media games have a shorter playing time, but they have a focus that encourages repeated visits.
  3. No Cost – social media gaming is usually free to play.

It’s easy to see how these three elements work well for business events. Obviously, event gaming would be free for participants—event planners would provide it through the social networking in an event app as a way to encourage a livelier event culture. Also, a shorter playing time injects energy and fun into an event, while not taking away too much valuable time—still allowing attendees to focus on the conference, trade show, or meeting at hand. Best of all, with social media gaming naturally pulling gamers together through a social channel or platform, it is a great way to broaden networking connections—encouraging people to work together for common goals.

Social media games fall into four basic categories:

  1. Resource Management and Simulation
  2. Gambling
  3. Care-Taking
  4. Arcade Games

Of these four, the resource management and simulation games category is the most fertile ground for business events. While care-taking, gambling, and arcade games can still offer networking and team building potential by offering light-hearted fun and even (in some cases) relevant content for some industries, resource management and simulation games provide the most advanced opportunities for teamwork, goal-setting, and work-related challenges.

Social media gaming enhances business events by maximizing social networking and tapping existing relationships with other users, through invite systems, news feed postings, and user-to-user notifications—creating unique content and characters by tapping into a player’s existing social network.

Resources:

  1. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/why-social-media-gaming-is-big-business-for-your-business/
  2. http://www.onlinesocialmedia.net/20141107/how-social-media-gaming-can-benefit-your-business/

December 4th, 2014

file3101282942088Employee relationships and team productivity are critical factors in the success of nearly every business, so it should come as no surprise that many business events strive to encourage team building. Whether team building is the sole, primary goal of an event or a hopeful secondary outcome, most corporate events seek to encourage employees to know each other better and to work together in a positive and productive way. Employees may work side-by-side on a daily basis, or they may manage teams from opposite sides of the globe—either way, employees need healthy working relationships.

Team building games can be applied across the work spectrum—from newly hired trainees, through to management and leadership teams. Team building is an excellent way to recharge long-term employees—improving the engagement, work satisfaction and success rates of seasoned company veterans. Best of all, with digital team building games, apps, and gamification, companies can get all of the benefits of team building games, without necessarily bringing employees together physically!

The Benefits 

  • Increased Productivity
  • Heightened Employee Collaboration
  • Improved Learning
  • Enriched Corporate Culture
  • Augmented Support and Encouragement
  • Better Sharing and Corrective Feedback
  • Greater Social and Emotional Rewards
  • Increased Recognition

In team building, the first step is always to identify the desired goal. Most exercises focus on communication, problem-solving, or trust-building, but they can also be striving to simply give employees a shared, fun experience that revitalizes their workforce and improves the culture on the job (the workplace equivalent of a “Field Day!”).

The second step for team building is to determine whether the activity will be in-person, remotely accessed, or a hybrid combination of the two. Obviously, for remote access teaming, all activities need to be Virtual; however, for in-person or hybrid events, use your event app, iPad rentals, or ARS keypads to host the games, and feel free to mix virtual games with physical games. Keep long-distance participants present with digital leaderboards and video chat feeds.

The Games

From team competitions and scavenger hunts, to casino games and giant board games, there’s no end to the potential examples of challenges that can help bring a team together. The following two resources provide roughly 120 unique examples of virtual, digital gaming that can take your team building across the planet and into the 21st Century!

  1. 50 Digital Team-Building Games: Fast, Fun Meeting Openers, Group Activities and Adventures using Social Media, Smart Phones, GPS, Tablets, and More (John Chen)
  2. Big Book of Virtual Teambuilding Games: Quick, Effective Activities to Build Communication, Trust and Collaboration from Anywhere! (Mary Scannell, Michael Abrams, and Mike Mulvihill)

November 27th, 2014

file9961243010662Corporate events have a purpose. Events may be facilitating business relationships between companies or within companies, they may be promoting products, easing the exchange of ideas, breaking new ground, or celebrating past accomplishments. Whatever the purpose of your business event, it’s extremely likely that you can . . .

Make it Better by Making It a Game

Events can be overwhelming for attendees. Gamification can help your guests cut through the noise and get to the task at hand. Networking games accomplish goals, help attendees relax, and break the ice—all in one! Consider these networking game families as the beginning (or beginning, middle, and end) of your next meeting, trade show exhibit, or corporate event:

  1. Arcade Games—although arcade games may not have an academic reputation, there are many good reasons why they’re so popular. They’re engaging and accessible since the rules are easy to understand and follow, yet they’re compelling and challenging in their own right. They’re also relaxing and exciting—somehow at the same time. Use this to your advantage by offering an arcade game in your event app—you’ll set the mood for fun and help put guests at ease. Be certain to tie game players into a live leaderboard, show player names and profiles, offer prizes relevant to your event, or possibly provide a gamer-tech lounge as ways to pull attendees together into a common experience.
  2. Trivia and Quizzes—trivia night has been popular at restaurants and pubs for years, and for good reasons. This style of gaming takes absolutely NO explanation, so anyone who can read is competition ready. As an extra bonus, quizzes and trivia can cover any topic, so it’s easy to make this gaming educational and relevant. For networking and event purposes, consider personal trivia regarding speakers, company or industry leaders, or team members—such as “Which team member served in the Peace Corps in Mongolia?”—giving interesting topics to start conversations.
  3. Puzzles—although more solitary and less active than other game forms, puzzles appeal strongly to many types of people. Puzzles such as picture scrambles, word games, and code-breaking can still be event-themed. Live leaderboards can display winners by profiles and fastest times, and consider offering prizes at a common gathering area where like-minded people can meet.
  4. Getting-to-Know-You Games—your event comes with a new and fascinating group of people. Traditional icebreaker and introduction games can be run through your app, established as forums, or even hosted the traditional way—in person–with your app sending out the message, “Icebreaker Games in the Green Room at 5pm.”
  5. Quests and Scavenger Hunts—always an excellent and easy way to get people moving, exploring new territory and meeting new people, quests and scavenger hunts can easily get people into the spirit of adventure. For event relevant content, have participants search for facts, clues, or for location-specific iBeacons that offer great networking potential as participants, inevitably, meet other people on “the quest.”

Next week we’ll discuss gamification for team building!

 

November 20th, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASponsorships are a major part of events! As if your event app wasn’t doing enough already—your app provides a number of new and unique sponsorship opportunities that can bring in advertisers and their campaign budgets! Consider these options as you look to increase your sponsorship revenue.

App Sponsor – your event app will arguably be the most universally utilized feature of your event. Whether for a conference, a meeting, a corporate event, a trade show or a conference, every attendee, facilitator, speaker, vendor, educator, executive, and exhibitor will use your app for one purpose or another. Therefore, your app sponsorship is prime-time advertising—holding the potential to repeatedly reach the eyes, ears, and minds of every single participant in your event! An app sponsorship comes with high-visibility.

App Page Sponsors – if a single sponsor is willing to adopt the entire app sponsorship—that’s excellent news; however, it may be more profitable to break  the app sponsorship into smaller segments, allowing for more opportunities and a larger profit overall.  App page sponsorships also allow businesses to obtain advertising space and sponsorships that are targeted to their location, their service, or their ideal audience. Furthermore, your mobile event app has opportunities for embedded videos—giving your page sponsors the chance to run promotion and demonstration materials through video.

Game Sponsors – as one of the hottest new trends for improving networking, interaction, engagement and learning, gamification is taking the Event Industry by storm. Delightfully, there are hundreds of ideas for games that can enhance your event—and each game can have its own sponsor!

Branded Kiosk Sponsors – attendees should be able to access your app from their own mobile devices, but it’s an excellent idea to offer registration kiosks and information kiosks as well, and iPad rentals are a popular choice for universally accessing event apps at meetings and conferences. Kiosks and iPads (also cell phone charging stations) have external sponsorship potential in the form of wraps and other branding.

Digital Signage Sponsors – if you’re using interactive touch screens as a way to help distribute valuable information from your event app, this digital signage is another excellent chance to provide sponsorship opportunities. For example, envision a sponsorship for the video wall that is displaying social media activity gathered by your app.

Tech Lounge Sponsors – merge the virtual information and connections provided within your app, with a physical gathering place for accessing the app and having face-to-face networking, and you’ve got a Tech Lounge! Imagine the gratitude attendees will feel for the business that sponsors the comfy chairs, fast WiFi, and cell phone charging stations provided by this ideal app-accessing environment.

This concludes our series on event apps! Hopefully, we’ve helped you navigate through the staggering amount of potential that the technology can provide for your events!

CRE Rentals can provide the iPads, digital signage, interactive kiosks, WiFi arrays, and video wall rentals that can optimize your sponsorship potential! Give us a call today! 877-266-7725

November 13th, 2014

8-03-2We’ve been discussing some of the many ways that event apps can enhance your business event, meeting, trade show and more. This week, we look into the amazing reporting features and capabilities that your app can offer—helping you and your clients determine the overall success and the ROI of your event’s efforts!

Due to the miracle of digital technology, your event app will be able to capture virtually (sorry about the pun) any information that you need. Owing to the vast potential of data collection and the enormous quantity of information that you can receive, it’s best to really ask yourself what information you want. Use data from your event app to guarantee that your events improve year after year.

Your event app can gather nearly any data, but popular options include:

  • Tracking  details—by location, volume, and attendees

  • Attendee profiles—who is attending and why

  • Attendee activity—by time, location, sessions, features

  • Social networking activity—the amount, platform, popular times for posting, hashtags used, and content shared

  • Poll and survey results—you’ve asked; they’ve answered

  • Registration details—overall number of guests, attendee demographics, registration preferences, attendance by day for multiple-day events

  • Lead scanning—detailed information on exhibit visitors and sales leads

  • Document requests—popularity of documents, attendee demographics for downloads

  • Customized analytics—reporting based on the precise data that you want to obtain

  • Engagement reports—popularity of speakers, sessions, meetings, and exhibits

  • Information retention—testing and quizzes measuring attendee learning

  • iBeacon and indoor positioning data—analyzing the overall success of your floor plan and more

  • Attendee satisfaction—the likely rate of return, perception of value for attendees

As a leader in the Event App Industry, QuickMobile released a whitepaper entitled, “Top 10 Insights Revealed by Event App Analytics.” Their own insight into event app usage identified the following categories:

  1. Marketing Effectiveness

  2. Attendee Interests

  3. Participation Levels

  4. Preferred Mobile Platforms

  5. Sponsorship and Advertising ROI

  6. What’s Happening in Real-time

  7. Audience Participation Rates

  8. Amount of Networking

  9. Guidance Needed

  10. Impact of your Incentives

It’s easy to be both amazed and overwhelmed by what event app reporting and analytics can capture and illuminate. Once you recover from the massive amount of possibilities, start browsing through the options and select the data that is most relevant to your goals. Your event will be better for it!

Next week we’ll delve into Sponsorships—some of the ways that you can use your event app to bring in advertising and sponsorship revenue!

CRE Rentals can provide the Audience Response Systems, iPad rentals, and Interactive Kiosks that can help you track attendees and use valuable information to your advantage! Give us a call today! 877-266-7725

November 6th, 2014

file0001755351339We’ve been discussing the remarkable power of event apps. One of the greatest benefits of app technology is the immediate feedback that you’re able to gather from your audience, guests, speakers, and exhibitors! Through the use of questionnaires, surveys, question and answer sessions, forums, ratings systems, and comment requests, you can gather the data that you need to make educated assessments on the successes and shortcomings of your event!

We break the ratings and feedback discussion into two parts, during and after the event.

During the Event

Last week, we discussed how instant messaging can help you tailor the content of your sessions based on real-time comments from your audience. Be certain to allow interactive real-time feedback and questions during any lecture, presentation, training or educational session. Consider using an Audience Response System; the ARS keypads can be used for quizzes, ratings, and other interactive, information-gathering activities. Asking for audience feedback offers several advantages:

1. First, it keeps attendees actively engaged and listening, because they know that they’ll be called upon to participate.

2. Second, it’s an excellent, easy way to gauge how well your audience understands your material—the feedback helps ensure that the material is clear.

3. Third, most audiences contain a significant portion of introverts—these guests are unlikely to stop a presentation in its tracks with questions, or to go out of their way to offer knowledge and opinions that might enhance the session. Create an easy, streamlined way for attendees to contribute and collaborate by allowing real-time feedback, comments, and questions during sessions! Consider using the following techniques to promote open discussions regarding your event:

  • Live session comments
  • Voting
  • Q&A
  • Live commitment
  • Open space
  • Interactive forecasting

After the Event

Once your event is concluded, it’s the perfect time to ask your attendees for their thoughts, concerns, compliments, and advice on the event as a whole—as well as their ideas on what they’d like to see in future events.  As you construct your surveys, consider the following five suggestions:

  1. Keep your questions short and to the point. Even the most enthusiastic attendee has a limited amount of time to donate. Craft a survey that gets the information you need—quickly.
  2. Ask yourself what you need to know. Since the general patience for surveys is limited, focus on the information that is most vital and design a survey that gets data on those points.
  3. Avoid neutral options. If the majority of your attendees “neither agree nor disagree”—what have you actually learned? Offer answers that give YOU answers.
  4. Encourage real thoughts. Why does a participant “strongly disagree”? Provide an area for open comments and encourage attendees to voice the reasons behind strong feelings.
  5. Use incentives. If you need more advanced feedback, be prepared to offer something tangible in exchange for the time attendees donate to your questionnaire.

Next week we’ll delve into Reporting and ROI—some of the ways that you can use data from your event app to guarantee that your events improve year after year!

CRE Rentals can provide the audience response systems, iPad rentals, and touch screen rentals that can help you gather and display the interactive material gathered from your attendees! Give us a call today! 877-266-7725

 

 

October 28th, 2014

file000282826464We’ve been discussing the vast potential of event apps. Moving forward, we examine another remarkable benefit of this modern day event innovation—real time communication for attendees. In this day and age, we’re used to instant messaging; however, an event app can use instant contact to take your networking, event planning, scheduling, feedback, sessions, and social media to a higher level. Let’s look at all the ways that your event app can instantly connect and facilitate!

  • Individual notifications – one of the simplest ways that your event app can make life easier for your attendees is through individual notifications. These messages can help keep attendees on top of their personalized agenda, meetings, sessions, conversations and more. The world is a happier, less-stressful place when we know that we have an electronic assistant backing us up with gentle reminders about our commitments!
  • Virtual help desk – allow attendees to instantly get assistance from the event organizing staff! Rather than letting guests flounder in uncertainty or hunt through online resources—set up a clear, instant channel that allows your attendees to quickly ask questions from those in-the-know, and then get back to the business at hand.
  • Instant messaging – event networking and scheduling is infinitely easier with direct and instant messaging between attendees. If your event is about connecting people and businesses, allowing them to instantly contact other event participants is a clear winner. Your event app should offer attendees a chance to connect through their event specific profiles, eliminating the need for individuals’ emails and phone numbers to be exchanged prematurely.
  • Group messaging – one step sideways from instant messaging is group messaging—facilitating communication and conversation, while also promoting team-building and communities. This is also a great way to encourage (our next point) brainstorming.
  • Brainstorming and crowdsourcing – if your conference or meeting is looking to solve problems and move projects forward, brainstorming and crowdsourcing are excellent methods for gathering information and insight across a broad collection of experts and innovators. These can be the tools that let your event app help develop the next great idea!
  • Presentation customization – if your business goals revolve around decision-making, if you’re interested in gathering ideas from session attendees, or maybe you’d like to increase interest in your trade show booth or product line, using real-time communication for gathering ideas and content can give you instant material on which to base customized presentations. Instant messaging can be used to help tailor your presentation, AS YOU GIVE IT, to suit your audience precisely.
  • Question and answer sessions – at the end of a lecture or presentation, let your event app facilitate a truly helpful question and answer session—one that allows information and ideas to be exchanged freely.

Next week we’ll delve into ratings and feedback—some of the ways that you can use data from your event app to guarantee that your events improve year after year!

CRE Rentals can provide the iPad rentals, WiFi booster, digital signage, and laptops that can engage attendees and boost ROI! Give us a call today! 877-266-7725

October 23rd, 2014

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Moving into the eighth part of this series on event apps, we’ll look at ways to truly impress your guests with suggestions that utilize apps to personalize an experience just for them! Although your event app has thoroughly covered organization, personalization takes it to a new level; these options and suggestions are about MORE than just keeping tabs on the schedule.  Consider the following possibilities for creating an event app that feels (and IS) uniquely tailored for each attendee.

  • Create your own custom schedule – each attendee is participating in the same event; however, each attendee will have a different experience. That experience begins with the unique goals they bring to the conference, meeting, or trade show. Whether they’re exhibiting, speaking, networking, researching, reporting, or problem-solving, every attendee sees your event through the lens of their individual perspective. They need ways to boil potential activities down to a concentrated form which filters out the most relevant opportunities for them—a custom schedule that provides them with an individualized view of event info!
  • Personalized agendas – for meetings, sessions, and conferences, integrating personalized agendas into your event app is an excellent way to help increase productivity, providing attendees with precisely the information they need to ensure that they’re prepared, before and during sessions.
  • Customized landing pages – customized landing pages help set the tone for your event. Use landing pages to kick off each day of an event or to put the focus on different facets of your event’s mission. Customized landed pages are also an excellent opportunity for sponsorships!
  • Personalized bookmarks – we’re all familiar with bookmarks. Within the context of your event app, personalized bookmarks are an invaluable tool for allowing attendees to keep tabs on the ideas, sessions, documents, forums, speakers, and fellow attendees that are most useful to them.
  • Customized private meeting scheduling – even without an event app, it’s not difficult to arrange a private meeting with someone; however, a good event app should make it possible to arrange private meeting scheduling with the touch of a button. Ideally, attendees will receive a customized list of potential networking contacts, select a fellow attendee with whom they’d like to meet, set a time and receive confirmation, and—most importantly—be given a private meeting room onsite. All of these things can happen through the convenience of your event app—customized for them.

Continuing with this series, we’ll discuss the miraculous ways that your event app can keep every guest, visitor, exhibitor, and attendee instantly updated. Next week—How to Succeed with Event Apps—Part Nine: The Power of Real-Time.”

CRE has digital signage, touch screen kiosks, iPad rentals, laptops, and other event technology that can help you produce a truly stunning event! Give us a call today! 877-266-7725

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 17th, 2014

file0001325346094In the seventh part of this series on event apps, we’ll continue examining the social networking options that can enhance your app. Studies show that many event attendees choose to return to business events year after year because of the chance to renew social connections they’ve formed with colleagues. Clearly, social networking benefits an event on multiple levels by helping businesses, helping attendees, and self-promoting the event itself—increasing attendance for the future.

In our previous post, we discussed LinkedIn, personalized lists, social sharing, Twitter conversations, and meeting scheduling. Moving forward with more options, consider the following possibilities:

  • Forums – forums are a wonderful opportunity for allowing easy communication. Whether your forums are digital meet-and-greets, problem-solving, or brainstorming sessions, they’re an excellent way to start conversations and gauge the feel of the crowd—or the industry!
  • Facilitated Follow-through – your exhibitors and attendees need to take their contacts to the next level. Check to see if your app allows easy integration with Customer Relationship Management tools.
  • Community Wall – social sharing is very valuable when you present it on a community wall. If your attendees and exhibitors extend their social media mentions outside the realm of your event, this certainly helps spread the scope of your event marketing to new and potentially valuable territory; however, there’s a lot to be said for ensuring that you have a great running feed of ideas, comments, experiences, and memories populating a community wall dedicated to the event itself. What better way to present the lively culture that you’ve created?
  • Team Building – depending on the type of event, team building may be part of your mission. If this is the case, the social networking in your event app can be tailored to bring groups together for meetings, content, games, and sessions that are specifically for them.
  • Networking Games – in the future, we’ll run an entire series devoted to the vast and rapidly expanding world of networking games! For the purposes of this series, remember that games have always been a way of bringing people together for fun. In fact, games have been a part of human social networking and interaction . . . most likely since the time of cave paintings. Feel free to read our article, Gamification for Events, giving more detail on the amazing benefits that gamification is having on corporate culture and events!
  • Year-round Engagement – catching up with friends and colleagues is one of the benefits of attending events and conferences. If your event app allows attendees to forge strong new business contacts, you’re much more likely to see increased attendance time after time!

Next week we’ll discuss how to really impress your attendees, in the post, How to Succeed with Event Apps—Part Eight: Personalization.”

CRE has all the technology that you need to make your business event successful! Our Digital Signage, Touch Screen rentals, Interactive Kiosks , iPads and iPad minis can enhance your event and increase your app adoption rate. Give us a call today! 877-266-7725

 

 

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