Archive for June, 2014

June 4, 2014

21st century Innovations: Mobile App at Center

A quick web search reveals top ten lists and discussions about 21st century innovations. It is still early in this century, so it is hard to tell what is going to remain a top influence let alone see any consensus.  We are in the same boat with conventions and meetings innovations but we do have front runners.  One of these that has the legs to become a part of every meeting and influence our onsite interactions is the mobile app.

Pros:
•    Can replace directories and quick guides
•    Green
•    Extremely convenient
•    Info at your fingertips
•    Updated automatically

Cons:
•    Needs good wifi signal and bandwidth
•    Need charging stations to keep mobile devices up and running
•    Not always available on all platforms
•    Some are lacking key info and hard to use
•    Often specialized staff is helpful to orient attendees

McDonalds Digital Concierge

Mobile apps are definitely new with the largest providers being established in 2008-2009. Over the past 5 years the mobile app has become more common at larger shows and meetings.

Are mobile apps living up to their full potential? Not yet. Many convention centers are still working on expanding their cell and wifi coverage. Others that have done so, still may not have enough bandwidth for larger events that are the early adopters of mobile apps. And another factor is that some apps are easier to use than others.

Even if we are not experiencing the best the conventions and meetings mobile app has to offer, it has a strong future. Many of the early adopters have done away with or drastically reduced the number of directories and quick guides they provide onsite. There is a very real sustainability benefit as well as a possible cost reduction. Let’s say that the mobile app being a new technology cost more than the publications. Is it still better? Yes! Because as soon as the publications are printed things change in our dynamic event world and we need to get addendums distributed. The mobile app updates itself regularly.

While the conventions and meetings mobile app will have more refinements to come; it is a convenient tool with show info at your fingertips. We can all look forward to more 21st century innovations.