Tech Fest 2013 was held on 18-19 July in London, bringing together event organisers and the best event technology. Day two was dedicated to how technology can keep your attendees engaged, informed and working to promote your events. And this is familiar territory for Lemberg as we have been working on mobile solutions for event industry since 2010.
Julius Solaris (Editor, Event Manager Blog) compared past and present - how technology is changing events. In the past we had printed event guides, while at present they are largely replaced by mobile apps. According to statistics, 21% of event planners consider mobile app a priority. In the past badges were dumb, at present badges become smarter e.g. RFID-powered badge can be swiped and post to Twitter automatically. In the past feedback was collected on printed paper forms, at present reading Twitter gives you immediate idea how users judge the event. Using social media monitoring tools can help a lot. In the past participants asked presenter for slides, at present slides are shared.
Thorben Grosser (Business Development Manager, EventMobi Europe) discussed how technology can enhance the face-to-face networking at events and establish long-term relationships. His product, EventMobi, allows event organisers to generate HTML5 Web app for their event accessible via browser.
Other event-related apps/products that were represented at the event: Conferize, Twoppy, Eventsforce, Noodle Live.
Gianfranco Chicco (Marketer and Digital Strategist), analyzed behavioural effect of design. In his conversation he made reference to Fogg behaviour model which can be summarised as Behaviour = Motivation Ability Trigger and logically arrived at a conclusion that interaction at events should be: Simple - Social - Fun, only then it will be successful. He expressed opinion that paper and other physical interaction (e.g. business cards) will never disappear because we are all physical creatures, like to hold physical objects.
Robert Daverschot (Side Kick, Sendsteps) flew in from Amsterdam to lecture how to ensure voting (and event as a whole) really engages attendees, how to make attendees participants, not passive listeners. This highly interactive (Robert really does what he preaches) and funny session looked at case studies and examples of best practice.
To conclude, the future of events may be mobile, and use of technology will improve user engagement and interactivity. However, during the discussions and brainstorming sessions, many participants suggested technology should be relevant, and not “technology for the sake of technology” or “technology because everyone else is doing it” because the events world is already full of poorly thought-out and buggy apps that confuse more than help. Therefore it is important to do serious research, come up with a relevant concept and select a reliable technology partner for implementation.