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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

 

 

October 2nd, 2014

colored paperYour attendees have stepped through the door with your event app guiding them along their route. Now that they’ve arrived, they’re ready to begin information sharing and networking—the reasons they came to the event. However, a trade show, exposition, conference, or meeting is a whirlwind of activity and information. A well-designed event app helps event attendees organize all of the information and potential of a business event.

After maps and wayfinding, the next stage of organization for your event app should revolve around the agenda and scheduling. Your attendees may be asking themselves the following questions that your event app can answer:

  • Which speakers are most exciting?
  • Which breakout sessions would I find most helpful?
  • Which exhibitors are most relevant to me?

You event app should have a searchable agenda with detailed information on the meetings, speakers, presentations, demonstrations, sessions, and exhibitors. Attendees should be able to:

  1. easily search through opportunities
  2. select the options that interest them the most
  3. quickly access exhibitor and speaker pages that help them decide which sessions to attend
  4. move information on that session into their personal schedule
  5. receive reminders and wayfinding information specific to their selections
  6. access session presentation slides, speaker notes, and documents related to the sessions

For additional organizational support, your app can provide:

  • Documents and abstracts – if the goal of any business event is to facilitate networking and information-sharing, then your app should allow attendees to easily gather the materials they need on the sessions they’ve attended. Activate document viewing and sharing.
  • Virtual literature – promotional pamphlets and light informational reading can be presented and distributed through connections on the app for speakers, sessions, services and exhibitors.
  • Notes and note taking – present note taking and voice recording options that allow attendees to capture important ideas or comments on sessions they attend.
  • To-Do lists – allow list-making to help attendees accomplish their goals.
  • Personal online briefcase – this service allows attendees quick and easy access to the relevant information that they would like to distribute about themselves and their business.
  • Registration, check-ins and ticketing – from event registration to session check-ins, your event app needs to gather attendee information and collect data on floor tracking. Use your app to facilitate this detail for attendees so that you can provide detailed data for your clients.
  • Reservations – room booking and sponsored suite reservations are an excellent additional service.
  • Table arrangements – make this step easier on yourself, your staff, and your guests. Let everyone know where they “stand” with seating.
  • Translation services – a quick translation service or multiple language app may be useful depending on your industry and event location.
  • Multiple events – if you’re lucky enough to have regular events and repeat visitors, your app should immediately connect them with information about your events—past, present, and future.
  • Lead retrieval – for both attendees and exhibitors, gathering information on potential business leads is critical!

Stay tuned to this series! Next week—How to Succeed with Event Apps—Part Six: Social Networking.”

CRE has Event Production Technology and the latest hardware to support your business event. Whether you need iPads rentals, Charging Stations or Interactive Kiosks, give us a call today! 877-266-7725

September 25th, 2014

In the fourth part of this series on event apps, we’ll discuss the foundation of wayfinding. Your event attendees are guests, many of whom are new to your conference, meeting, or trade show venue. From the moment your attendees leave their home or office, your event app should be in place—showing them the path directly to your registration desk.

Pre-Event Wayfinding

Hopefully, your event app has been live and active FAR before your event occurs. If so, you’re in the position to help guide your attendees as they make their own travel and accommodation plans. Consider building the following local and map w glassregional information into your app, providing extra convenience and allowing your guests to build a better overall experience:

  • Detailed hotel options with easy reservations
  • Local restaurant choices
  • Supplemental services such as dry cleaning, printing, and office supplies
  • Shopping for recreation or last minute personal items
  • Local attractions for after hours, sight-seeing, or places of interest
  • Weather
  • Local airports, travel, and flight information
  • Parking
  • Public transportation

On-Site Wayfinding

As soon as your guests reach the venue, they should receive detailed on-sight navigation information, such as highly interactive venue or trade show floor maps. These maps should have searching and zooming capabilities, links for speaker profiles and exhibitor pages—helping your attendees navigate the venue itself and obtain the services and sessions that they need. Your interactive maps can contain any or all of the following options:

  • Interactive floor plans
  • Interactive check-ins
  • Venue maps
  • Registration location and information
  • Sponsors
  • Location and scheduling for sessions
  • Exhibitor pages
  • Booth types
  • Speaker profiles
  • Searching, zooming, and printing

Explore the full potential of interactive show mapping with these two services:

  • MapYourShow – The interactive floor plan and integrated directory are the meat and potatoes of this event mapping service—assisting you with management, sponsorships, floor plan creation, exhibition, and attendance.
  • ExpoRep – Beginning with your map, this service rebuilds it using their software—creating an interactive map from nearly any file type. They add your branding, provide training, and offer tools to manage inventory. Their maps provide access to full exhibitor profiles, searching, booth types, availability, registration, and sponsors. They can also include documents or additional relevant links, such as exhibitor contracts and important show information.

Stay tuned to this series! Next week—How to Succeed with Event Apps—Part Five: Organization.”

CRE has Event Production Technology and the latest hardware to support your event app. Whether you need iPads, laptops, digital signage, or Interactive Kiosks, give us a call today! 877-266-7725

 

 

 

September 11th, 2014

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 contentiBeacon  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 Augment Realityinput 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!

 

 

 

September 4th, 2014

Event Apps

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.”

August 28th, 2014

evernote1Finishing 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.

  1. Evernote Business Notebook by Moleskine – THE traditional notebook, now digitally supported for technological convenience. mobile-and-moleskineFor 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.

August 21st, 2014

evernote 100In 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 7th, 2014

Continuing our six-part series, we begin to discuss all of the ways that you can import your information into Evernote. Since Evernote isevernote1 brilliantly simple and ingeniously adaptable, it makes sense that this exceptional organizational tool would allow you to import information into it from virtually any source, allowing the program to be a true catch-all for your data.

The whole purpose of Evernote is to effectively gather information that is coming to you from all areas of your life. Rather than skimming through an email, online publication, or business memo and thinking, “Okay, I’ll get to this later”—just forward it immediately into Evernote, and tag it with a helpful word or two. When you’re ready for that information, it will be waiting!

Consider these amazing options for importing data—each of them with the possibility to direct information into your Evernote account like high-speed trains into central station!

  • Importing from Email – Evernote’s setup will automatically offer you the chance to put an “Add to Evernote” button in the tool bar of your email reader. The button allows you to automatically import any email message into Evernote, in its entirety. If you like, delete out irrelevant information—keeping only the most valuable kernels. Feel free to immediately tag the noted email with any keywords that describe it. You’ll never need to hunt for a lost email again!
  • Scanner Pro – This extremely economical Evernote upgrade allows you to turn your iPhone or iPad into a scanner. Scanner Pro scans documents of any kind, converting them into PDFs and sending them to Evernote automatically via WiFi.
  • Evernote Web Clipper – After a quick download, this feature allows you to immediately save anything you see online—whether links, text, or images—into your Evernote account with a single click.
  • Instapaper – This Evernote app saves articles directly to your Evernote account, allowing you to access or read them later. Whether you plan to use the articles for business or pleasure is up to you.
  • Drag and drop files – Well, of course Evernote would let you do this! Still, the ability to attach files, spreadsheets, images, and documents into any note or notebook shouldn’t be taken for granted!
  • Photos – Take and attach pictures to a note from within the app.
  • Audio – Take and attach a voice memo or audio file to a note from within the app.
  • Import folders – In the “Tools” section, select “Import Folders.” This feature will put Evernote on watch for any particular files and folders you choose—monitoring them and automatically importing new information and updates. You can also set it to delete the source files once they are imported, saving you clutter and redundancy.
  • Sync – Automatically imports information from any of your devices into your account.
  • Shared notebooks from friends, family, and colleagues – arguably the most important source of information that you may want imported into Evernote . . . the information that people need or want to share with you—collaboration!

Stay tuned for the next post in the series: “Evernote Illuminated—Part Four: Taking Care of Business”, as we discuss the many business applications of Evernote!

July 24th, 2014

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 logoevernoteas 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.

Evernote_Iphone.jpgWhat 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:

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

July 10th, 2014

AFTER THE EVENT – YEAR-ROUND ENGAGEMENT

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

 

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