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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 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 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!

 

 

 

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