Reviewing event technology options can be both invigorating and exhausting. The good news is that there are many different online and mobile productivity tools available for social networking, bookmarking, scheduling, mapping, messaging, lead retrieval and polling. The bad news is there are so many different tools available. If social networking is hot, mobile apps are hotter. What could be better than a marriage that brings many of the stand-alone apps and a social networking platform together under one roof with mobile access?
Conference and tradeshow organizers are challenged with having to choose among separate platforms and technology that offer consistent branding, user utility, added value and a potential revenue stream. Training users on separate platforms can be arduous. Budgeting for separate applications can be cost prohibitive. Keeping the applications online only can reduce participation and usage.
One way that technology providers are addressing these challenges is by bundling applications into one end-to-end solution and going mobile with it. The Social Collective is one example of a social networking and community platform that has partnered with mobile application developer DubMeNow to offer community access, networking, messaging, mapping, geo-synching, scheduling and lead retrieval from a Smartphone. Their latest version will be rolled out at SXSW this month in Austin, TX.
The Social Collective’s Clinton Bonner is a blogger, tweeter and observer of event industry technology. “2010 is the year to nudge and become more hyper-focused about social media infusion. We are going well beyond ‘you need to be doing this’ [social media] and evolving to ‘here is a platform solution that allows you to do the following, all under one roof, all branded in your imagery, all metrics and data owned by you, on less spend than building a singular custom iPhone app,’” he says.
The Social Collective’s new bundled mobile app offers the following:
- Customized branding that “wears” the look and feel of the event and offers options for sponsorship revenue
- Scheduling and mapping capabilities allow users to build schedules from the conference agenda, share schedules with other users and map the tradeshow floor
- Functionality across multiple Smartphone platforms including iPhone, Blackberry, Symbian and Android
- One touch mobile-to-mobile exchange of e-business card information, social web contact info, links to marketing material, video and notes
- Messaging synched with the customized event social networking platform and Twitter
Allowing access to event-centric social networking platforms from mobile devices helps event organizers grow their communities. With the appropriate community management, most networks function well before and after the event, but unless users are willing to carry their laptops around, the interaction during the event is diminished. With more opportunities to interact, community members will “feed” off of the experience and become more loyal to the community and the event.
The Takeaway: The new bundled mobile solutions are user-driven—users get what they want when they want it. The synchronization of the event social networking platform with mobile helps event organizers grow their communities (more opportunities to engage others using mobile). Apps that function on a broader range of Smartphone platforms will drive adoption. All event apps MUST be easy to learn and use. And, now that bundled apps and event-centric social networking platforms have married mobile, event organizers may be able to reduce the number of technology offerings while increasing the value and usability for participants. Where’s the Kleenex?