In the third part of this series on event apps, we’ll discuss what your attendees most want and need from your app. Boiled down to the very basics, your attendees want NAVIGATION—they need help finding their way through the masses of possibilities and volumes of information available regarding your event. Let’s look at the different ways that navigation applies across multiple aspects of the event experience.
Maps and Local Info– in its simplest form, navigation applies to where your attendees are going. Where are they trying to end up, and how do they get there? If your app does nothing more, it should help attendees find their way through your venue to the sessions and amenities that they need.
Organization – your event provides a tremendous number of opportunities, but it also adds to an attendee’s work and stress load. Your event app must help attendees filter through the possibilities; it needs to make planning easier for your guests. Ideally, guests can search through sessions or exhibitors by keywords—then immediately plan them into their calendar and locate them within the venue.
Social Networking – attendees take the time to come to events for two reasons – gathering information and making contacts. Your app needs to help attendees navigate through the crowds of people and find the contacts that are most useful and valuable for them. These days, everyone has a social media network that they prefer for business and professional use. Attendees will expect advanced networking possibilities from your event app. Your app needs to provide a convenient, concentrated platform where digital contacts can be formed within the framework of your event and where the conversations are focused on the experiences of the event itself.
Personalization – beginning with the event agenda, attendees want to create their own path and forge their own experience, one that is tailored to their unique business needs. The ideal event app makes it easy for guests to carve their own personalized itinerary from the overall offerings—letting them get in and out with exactly the information they needed and with their goals achieved.
Real-time Notification – with instant messaging a standard now, your event app needs to instantaneously deliver changes and reminders directly to guests. It should also facilitate messaging between event participants, creating another opportunity for networking.
Ratings and Feedback – your guests have strong ideas about what they like and don’t like, and it’s best to allow comments as the experience is occurring. Allowing ratings during an event helps everyone—attendees can see which sessions, speakers, and exhibitors are most worth their time, exhibitors have a chance to receive constructive criticism, and you, as an event manager, can see what’s working and what’s not, making a better experience overall.
Stay tuned to this series, as we delve into specific details on how to achieve each of these! Next week—“How to Succeed with Event Apps—Part Four: Maps and More!”
In the second part of this series on event apps, we’ll discuss two technological breakthroughs that are revolutionizing the event attendee experience. An event app is a unique tool, custom-designed to provide your attendees with all of the relevant meeting, conference, convention, trade show and information that they could ever want—as well as useful knowledge about the area surrounding the venue. It’s an excellent opportunity to provide services for your event visitors, exhibitors, and sponsors—vital services such as information and networking potential. The success of your event app can GREATLY enhance the overall success of your event!
As you begin development of your app, consider these amazing technological breakthroughs that can open a WORLD of opportunities for engaging attendees.
iBeacons – Apple’s offering in the world of device-based location services, iBeacons are a way to create truly customized content delivery. Unlike GPS, which provides geographic location, beacons are a low-energy indoor proximity system able to detect when a device is within its precise vicinity. Their ability to connect and communicate with devices within range makes them a fantastic tool for interactive experiences! For example, imagine walking up to any piece of artwork in a museum and to have your headset immediately provide information on the piece you’re viewing—without pushing buttons, selecting downloads, finding and opening pamphlets, or matching up exhibit numbers. iBeacons give your visitors a tour guide in their pocket—without the hassle of searching, selecting, and scrolling. Imagine beacons that can personally welcome your visitors and direct them to where they need to go.
Augmented Reality – taking iBeacons one step further is the concept of augmented reality. With augmented reality, sensory input such as sound, video and graphics are connected in real-time with environmental elements. In the case of trade shows, for example, this could mean that iBeacons in the app trigger a presentation of video and directional speakers focused on the exact spot where a visitor is standing! For conventions and trade shows, each exhibitor can custom craft an interactive display of directional speakers, customized lights, and 3D graphics—set to amaze and absorb visitors at their booths.
With these options, you have the opportunity to take your event app off the screen and to integrate it into your visitors’ experience. Business events strive to educate, engage, and incorporate people—with products, services, and with professional networking. An event app strengthened with these interactive technologies is primed to SUCCEED!
In this series, we’ll lead you through the complicated event app decision-making process. Apps are changing the face of event management. Yet, while 60% of Meeting and Event Planners intend to use an event app in the future, a full 40% have not used a meeting app in the past and do not plan to use one anytime soon. Whether you’re a total beginner or just beginning anew, here are some tips to get started with app development.
What do Event Planners want from an event app?
The event app industry is quickly becoming saturated with companies offering everything from customized, full-service development options, down to easy drag-and-click do-it-yourself choices. When you’re navigating through the potential providers, ask yourself how well the app developer is able to handle these top five issues.
1. Control of development—Event Planners are highly organized people and they know the needs and wants of their clients and attendees. On average, Event Planners feel more comfortable when they know that they are a part of the event app creation process, every step of the way. Playing a large role in the development process provides two main benefits. First, it helps Event Planners do what they do best—look for potential issues and solve problems. Second, it ensures that the Event Planners themselves are thoroughly knowledgeable about how the app is designed and the features that it offers—since they were fully participating in development.
2. Customized look—Event Planners know that logos and branding are extremely important to their clients. If an event app is customized in its function but it fails to incorporate the unique branding of the event or the corporate sponsor, then it has only completed half of its purpose. Corporate events exist to extend the reach and increase the visibility of a business. An event app must clearly reflect the contribution of the business responsible for its development.
3. Easily updated content—Event Planners are not software engineers. They need assistance setting the framework and foundation of an expert app, but they must be able to take control of the content. One of the main benefits of an event app is the possibility of effortless adjustments to schedules, agendas and more. This benefit is lost if the content management portion of the app is not intuitive.
4. Templates—Event Planners love to have their events continue annually and to grow, year after year. For this ideal situation, the ideal event app offers templates, so that the look and feel of the app remains consistent for subsequent events. Once a customized app is created to suit the particular needs of an event, it is an enormous benefit to have that information available for reuse later on.
5. Adaptability—Event Planners know . . . things change. More than just editing and content updating, how easy is it to add or remove the app’s tools and features, if necessary? Can a fresh, new social media content stream be added? Can a gaming or geolocation feature be included? Ensure that the foundation is in place, but also be certain that there is room for adaptation. Each year that the event continues, it’s vital that new tools and technologies can be included
Stay tuned for our next post, “How to Succeed with Event Apps—Part Two: Tech options to Consider.”
Finishing our six-part series on Evernote, we discuss some of the fascinating tools that have been developed specifically for this amazing organizational program. Although Evernote is designed to keep digital and electronic versions of our notes, its designers understood that some people naturally gravitate towards handwritten note-taking—they may even learn, process, and remember items better when they write in their own script. For these “hands-on” individuals, Evernote has the following magical options.
Evernote Business Notebook by Moleskine – THE traditional notebook, now digitally supported for technological convenience. For creative types and those who LOVE handwritten notes, this notebook allows you to JOT, sketch, or create whatever you like, your way, and then use Evernote’s Document Camera to save the images—even easily share your notes with your team. Your handwritten notes are still searchable—Evernote’s powerful search will recognize the text within your handwriting.
7notes – this app for iPad or iPhone allows you to quickly and accurately take notes in your own handwriting and to have those notes recognized, the text captured and synced into your Evernote account using the app’s state-of-the-art handwriting recognition engine. Anyone who, for business or personal reasons, prefers their own handwriting over fonts, texting or typing, will enjoy having the ability to merge the unique personality of their own script with the convenience of Evernote. This is a particularly useful app for classroom note-taking and business meetings, or for times when a keyboard simply isn’t practical.
Jot Script Evernote Edition – if indeed handwritten notes are your tried-and-true method, then certainly the stylus at hand (so to speak) is an important part of the experience. Jot Script is a company that understands what you’re looking for. If you’ve used previous styluses and found them flimsy, clunky, or imprecise, then give this implement a try. It’s designed to allow your handwriting to flow freely, as well as to let your notes flow directly into Evernote.
WritePad – this iPad/iPhone app allows you to write directly on the screen of your device, and it instantly converts your handwritten notes into computer text. Your notes can be synced to Evernote, and also Tweeted, posted to Facebook, emailed, integrated into maps, contacts, printed, exported as PDFs, translated into other languages, and MORE!
Pebble Smartwatch – as our final suggestion, we include a wearable designed to work with Evernote. If hands-on is your style, this offering may be for you. May your thoughts never be further from you . . . than your own wrist.
In conclusion, Apps will continue to develop and be developed—making each step in our lives, each glitch that we experience, easier to overcome. As we move into the future, we hope that technology will continue to streamline our effectiveness, allowing us to have more time for the things that really matter.
In this six-part series on Evernote, we’ve discussed the broad uses of this organizational tool, and how—now—there’s no excuse for wasting precious work time hunting down lost files or wading through disorganized materials. Let Evernote act as your personal assistant—making you look like you’re two steps ahead of the game as you instantly pull up memos, documents, email threads, web clippings, or business contact info—even personal anecdotes regarding sales leads or team members! Never scramble or stall for time again.
In a meeting, have you ever been called upon to provide unexpected information? Did you feel the pressure of all eyes on you as you desperately sifted through papers, scrolled through emails, and searched through documents or files? The following business apps will make your work flow . . . actually FLOW!
UberConference – a better, more connected form of free conference calls, UberConference is a visual phone conferencing service that lets you not only see the participants, but also share Evernote notes during the calls.
Smartsheet – an app that seamlessly joins spreadsheets to Evernote, offering all the convenience and informational power of both, plus task lists, file sharing, work automation, and an archive for thoughts and ideas.
Evernote Business for Salesforce – designed specifically for sales teams and working in conjunction with Salesforce software packages, Evernote Business for Salesforce brings Evernote’s information capture and sharing, and allows those notes to be entered directly into the Salesforce program.
Hello – this app keeps track of relevant information and anecdotes regarding business contacts. The app uploads business cards, connects with social media profiles, and keeps track of any information that will help you make conversations and meetings run more smoothly, socially!
Smart Stickers – if you need to scan and sort large amounts of documents, pages, or images, Smart Stickers can help. Select a color for a particular notebook, temporarily stick the colored “Smart Sticker” onto any page that you scan, and Evernote will automatically add the scanned image into the correct notebook, saving you the trouble of filing!
Mynd Calendar – an iPhone app that turns your smartphone calendar into a Mastermind, combining date and time, GPS location, and your Evernote notes to ensure that you’re always where you need to be.
Refresh – this iPhone app will send you the notes that you’ve saved regarding business contacts—helping you feel more prepared for business gatherings.
ScanSnap – the Evernote Edition of this app recognizes the differences between documents, receipts, photos, and business cards. It then automatically files these items into the appropriate notebook!
Atlas – this app keeps track of location data when uploading scans to Evernote, allowing you to search your information and notes by location.
FileThis – at last, take control of your online statements and invoices, automatically and securely. This app will send all of your bills, whether business-related or personal, to Evernote each month, placing them in the appropriate file and keeping records of previous statements.
Stay tuned for the final post in the series: “Evernote Illuminated—Part Six: Special Tools”, as we explore some of the apps and specially-designed hardware that can help adapt your individual preferences into the Evernote system!
Continuing our six-part series, we attack the clutter of our data using the brilliant simplicity of Evernote! In our first post, we discussed easy methods for getting started. Hopefully, at this point you have at least a few notes entered into the system. Pull up your notebooks, because we’re about to start organizing!
If you took our advice to heart, at this point you have at least two notebooks—one “Personal” and one “Work.” While you still have relatively few notes entered . . . let’s begin tagging. Simply put, tags work like hashtags—helping to fine-tune categorization and allowing you to cross-reference your notes based on multiple categories. In exactly the same way that hashtags pull content from any source into a single stream unified by topic, Evernote tags make virtual folders based on any content you need. For example, if you’re an Event Planner, tag notes with the client’s name—that way you can immediately pull up all of the information relating to their projects. How do you tag? Simply click on the phrase “Click to add tag…”—it’s found at the top of every new note.
Here are some useful shortcuts:
New Note: Ctrl + N
New Notebook: Ctrl + Shift + N
New Tag: Ctrl + Shift + T
Jump to Tag: Shift + Alt + T
Jump to Notebooks: Shift + Alt + N
Find in Evernote: Win + Shift + F
Tip: in the “View” section of your navigation bar, check on the box beside “Show Related Notes.” Evernote will naturally bring up similar and relevant notes—making it easier for you to coordinate ALL the pieces of your project. This feature offers another excellent way to cross-reference your data without any extra work or forethought. It’s also a great way to keep track of overlapping notes and make it easy to remove redundant information!
Synchronization is one of the main reasons that Evernote succeeds in organization where other systems fail. If you’ve previously used multiple systems for keeping track of business contacts, calendars and schedules, folders for work information, personal information, and documents, then you’ve already experienced the difficulty of coordinating separate programs. Evernote’s synchronization connects your email to Evernote, to your tablet, to your computer, to your laptop, to your phone and back—you can even let other people into your loop! All of the information that you store is available on the device at hand—whichever device that happens to be. Better still, you can access all notes offline once they’re synced. How do you sync? When you download Evernote, the setup will guide you through the steps that magically connect your device . . . to your data!
Stay tuned for the next post in the series: “Evernote Illuminated—Part Three: Importing and Collaborating”, as we dive into the amazing and innovative ways you can collect and share your data!
In this six-part series, we delve deeper into detail with a master app that is the ideal marriage of simplicity and genius—Evernote. Just as a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so does a project of a thousand stages, a novel of a thousand words, or plans for an event of a thousand guests begin with a single note! Evernote is like a MAGNET that gathers ideas, and those collected ideas have the power to develop into ANYTHING.
The beauty of Evernote is that it provides a unique opportunity to (FINALLY!) keep track of all aspects of your life—both your personal and professional lives—in a SINGLE program. Project schedules, emails, documents, business contacts, social engagements, reminders, anecdotes, ideas, journals, lists, vacation info . . . Evernote’s structure adapts perfectly to anyone’s needs.
What separates Evernote from most, if not all, other organizational tools or systems is that you don’t need any planning in order to have all of your information at your fingertips—WITHOUT searching or indexing. Most people find themselves with multiple organizing and filing systems—a program for email, files for documents, a system for business contacts, a binder for paperwork, a folder for reminders—all of them take planning, follow-ups and follow through to make sense of your data. How many of us have spent HOURS sorting and labeling and filing, only to run out of energy and start “piling” instead of filing? Evernote effortlessly handles all the data in our rapidly evolving lives.
Starting with the basics, individual notes are collected into notebooks, naturally. Notebooks can be dedicated to ANY topic under the sun.
How to begin converting to Evernote:
Look around your desk. Do you currently keep physical, hardcopy notes using sticky notes, notepads, or even scraps of paper? Begin with these. Take the relevant information off of these and put them into your first notes. (Recycle the paper notes, and notice how good you feel about watching them go.)
You have the option to add a Notebook category to your first notes. Feel free to start simple; make yourself a “Personal” notebook and a “Work” notebook. Again, Evernote is one of the few programs that will easily adapt as your needs change—there’s ALWAYS time later to fine-tune the labeling of your information. Even with a system categorized as basically as “work” and “personal,” you’ll notice that you feel more organized.
Next—if you have piles of incoming papers or memos, start with the pile nearest to you. Oftentimes, we’re holding onto a physical sheet of paper because of a tiny amount of relevant information that we might need later, and when we DO need that information it’s nowhere to be found. Rest assured that after a few keystrokes, your desk is cleaner and necessary information is available instantly when you need it.
Let go of outdated filing systems and begin to see Evernote as your own personal secretary. Start sending your data its way and watch as organizational magic develops!
Stay tuned for next week’s post: Evernote Illuminated—Part Two: Tagging and Syncing!
Interestingly, using social media AFTER an event helps to create a sense of community. Since the event is already concluded, attendees are more relaxed. No one has pre-event jitters. The travel, scheduling, and networking stresses are over. At this point, the pressure is OFF and attendees can truly reflect on what they took away from the experience. Often, in the heat of the moment, names are forgotten and opportunities are missed, but a healthy post-event social media campaign is a second chance to bring people together for fun, friends, feedback, and the future!
Continuing to ride the tide of your event’s success, the days and weeks following the conclusion of your corporate gathering are an excellent time to put some spin into promoting the next event. Now is the time to gather your new contacts, generate a social media strategy, and send a healthy stream of promotions out to your followers. Ideally, you’ll create “year-round engagement” with an active community that keeps in touch with one another as they’re waiting for the next meeting opportunity that you create. Hopefully, you’ve already explored or implemented some of the following Apps after reading previous posts in this series. The following selections are perfect for post-event promotions, and for helping you roll knowledge and connections into a powerful future!
EventMobi – their specialized Event Apps and Association Apps help you achieve year-round engagement. The EventMobi multi-event app gallery also allows attendees and members to easily find any Event App—no matter what stage of past, present or future—making it easier to keep a community connected.
LinkedIn – let LinkedIn be the social media hub that feeds your Apps and helps you throw an ever-widening net for gathering business contacts. Unlike many other social media sites, LinkedIn is most often used with a specific focus on businesses, career connections, business contacts and, most importantly, GROUPS. Check LinkedIn for networks and communities that would benefit most from the type of events that you’re producing. Let it help you find new attendees based on the industries and associations of the people you already know.
Pathable – browse and search Pathable’s attendee directory. Use its Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn integration. Pathable allows for direct contact between participants, and it also offers public discussion forums that you can put to work for you, building your brand and keeping your events at the forefront.
Bizzabo – returning to Bizzabo again, this time use it to keep your attendees or members connected with news about your upcoming events. Let it help you extend an event’s “lifetime” by keeping the contacts and experiences fresh in the minds of your attendees.
For your next event, let CRE Rentals provide you with all the technology you require. From iPad rentals that deliver the customized content of your Event App, to digital signage that informs and impresses, CRE Rentals has the equipment and expertise to make your event SHINE! Give us a call today! 877-266-7725
You’ve been processing the polling results, social media comments, feedback, and analytics from your recent event. Now that you’ve had a chance to analyze your data, it’s time to use insight, intuition, and technology to begin crafting a more perfect App for the next time around! Today’s events rely on well-organized, streamlined, customized Apps. The information you’ve gathered from your event is exactly what you need to help you make well-supported decisions regarding the digital directory for your future events.
Does your Event App need tweaking? Check the feedback regarding your App’s success in the following key areas:
Social Media Integration
File and Document Integration and Synchronization
Usability and Security
Maps and Geo-Locating
Polling and Surveys
Networking and Gamification
Branding and Sponsorship options
Exhibitors and Speakers
Analytics and Reporting
Your attendees rely heavily on your Event App for so many aspects of their event experience. From schedules and speaker bios, to networking, local maps and photo sharing, your App needs to be a customized guide for the agenda and setting of your meeting. The following services allow you to create your OWN Event App, exactly to the specifications you want. They range from point-and-click, do-it-yourself to full-service possibilities.
QuickMobile – quickly manage your own Event App with easily configured modules that let your attendees learn, share, interact, and personalize while you sit back and measure the ROI. QuickMobile provides the design components and makes it simple for you to load content. This D.I.Y. option is even scalable, allowing you to plan an App for a single event or keep a template you can use a thousand times over.
EventMobi – gives you drag-and-drop capabilities to create and customize your own Event App with everything you need, as well as providing the backup tech support to assist you with more sophisticated requests.
Avodigy – with a heavy focus on the technological aspects, and specializing in seamless data transfer and mobile Apps, Avodigy works with several partnering tech brands to provide you with customized and scalable mobile platforms that can become a solid foundation for a corporation’s Event Apps.
CrowdCompass – allows you to easily develop a customized Mobile App for your event. Best of all, CrowdCompass puts individuality and SOCIAL first with features like Social Notes, SocialWall, and Social Game—letting your attendees share connections, activities, and ideas. From schedules and maps, to gamification and speaker profiles, CrowdCompass offers the ability to have your Event App customized for each individual attendee, based on their interests, activities and preferences!
Although the last attendee has checked-out, all the technology rentals are returned, and the signage is taken down, your event still has momentum, and there’s a tremendous amount of potential that needs to be utilized! The weeks immediately following your event are the ideal time to roll energy into planning the NEXT corporate gathering, as well as the perfect opportunity to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of what just occurred.
The following Apps provide polling and analytics that are necessary for answering questions like:
Which speakers were considered the most informative?
What adjectives did attendees use most often regarding the event?
What sessions generated the highest levels of engagement?
Which elements of the event caused the most tweets?
Bizzabo – saving time by reusing an App that you’ve already applied, Bizzabo returns to center stage as it helps you identify the relevant information that will fine-tune future corporate gatherings! The Bizzabo event App provides direct methods of gathering feedback from your attendees. The App also helps you use the analytics from social media to get a true picture of your event’s successes and failures in the minds of your guests.
Pathable – this App can help Event Planners from start to finish. In the finishing stages, it facilitates and simplifies post-event polling and surveys—allowing attendees to respond from a desktop web or a mobile App. Better still, Pathable provides customized data reporting that is easy to understand, letting you quickly analyze the ROI of a corporate event—essential information for your clients’ reporting, planning, and budget meetings.
Hootsuite – Hootsuite can be used to get information out, but it can also keep an “ear” out for tweets, posts, and mentions about your brand or your event. Simply set up a stream that searches for mentions and you’ll have insider knowledge of what people are saying, giving you a chance to utilize this valuable, candid feedback as a way to improve future conferences.
Zerista – with its customized event specific social media platform, this App gives you access to a concentrated stream of comments regarding your meetings. Zerista aims to make networking and discussion between attendees simple and convenient, making it easier for you to gather the information you need.
DoubleDutch – this App is designed to increase networking and interactions. After the event, it converts all the data of the digital connections into precise reports that will help improve your conferences and corporate events. DoubleDutch can even provide a post-event App engagement infographic!