Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

August 2013

Best Technology Tools

By the Editors of Convene

STREAMPOINT SOLUTIONS

Streampoint Solutions’ event-management software offers a full range of features, from online and on-site registration services to email marketing, surveys, and lead retrieval. And while Brian Allain, business development manager for Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA), enthused about Streampoint’s customer service and on-site performance, he gave his highest marks for the company’s drive to innovate. After watching Allain wrestle with outside booth-mapping software, Streampoint developed its own solution, incorporating Allain’s feedback. The resulting interface, launched as the Exhibitor Booth Mapping & Management tool, looks and works like a Google Maps product. Allain was able to use it not only to sell booth space and sponsorships, but as a digital directory for meeting attendees. The company is developing a mobile app, Allain said, and he has no doubt that he will use that, too.

EVENTSCRIBE

We’ve all seen them, or maybe have even been them: meeting attendees who hold up their iPads during sessions to take photos that capture key information on a slide. The eventScribe app makes that unnecessary, allowing attendees to download presentation slides in advance onto mobile devices and to annotate them by drawing on the slides with their fingers or taking notes that can be saved with the slide. It’s been a home run with attendees at American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) meetings, said Martie Spath, ACG’s vice president for marketing. Doctors appreciate that they can share slides and their own notes with others later, she said. The attendees are “real science geeks” who are very engaged with the research, and the app, created by CadmiumCD, can accommodate the large amounts of information that commonly are found in scientific abstracts. Another plus: CadmiumCD staff come to ACG meetings and connect with speakers to make any needed updates, Spath said, so the app’s slides are the latest versions of the presentations.

ALL OUR IDEAS

All Our Ideas is an open-source platform that began as a project at Prince-ton’s Department of Sociology as a way to record and prioritize the ideas of Princeton students. “Think of it as crowdsourcing made easy,” suggested Erin Stewart, director of conferences for the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA), which is currently using All Our Ideas to create the agenda for a 2014 meeting.


A conference committee began the process by presenting a list of topics that ASPPA members could vote on; the platform also allows members to submit their own ideas. As the voting period drew to an end, nearly 10,000 votes had been cast, and not only were 15 of the top 20 ideas from members, Stewart said, but 13 of the bottom ideas, out of a list of 76, were those presented by the committee. Said Stewart: “That’s pretty astonishing.” As far as she knows, ASPPA is the first association to use the software, although it has had some high-profile commercial and governmental uses, including by the mayor’s office in New York City (and by the website Kitten Wars).

CVENT

Cvent is the world’s largest event-management software company — it has 10,000 clients in 90 countries — and got lots of love from our nominators, who praised its RFP capabilities as well as its event-management tools. Cvent offers online event registration, meeting-site selection, event management, mobile apps, email marketing, and Web surveys. Headquartered outside Washington, D.C., it gets bonus points for being named to the Washington Business Journal’s 2013 list of the “Best Places to Work in Greater Washington.”

THE 15-SECOND VIDEO

Every minute, 100 hours of video are loaded onto YouTube, and new tools are popping up to make it easier to record and share yours. Some, like Tout, allow users to send 15-second videos to platforms including Facebook and Twitter, and to organize them in online channels. A more recent comer, Instagram Video, also sticks with a 15-second format — five million Instagram videos were posted in the first 24 hours of the app’s release.


It’s too soon to tell whether super-short videos will become a communications mainstay or quickly fade away. But given the price of entry — the apps are free and easy to use — why wouldn’t you try sharing some pithy clip from one of your top speakers or high-energy highlights of your opening reception?

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