Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

February 2014

A Tale of 10,000 Tablets

By Michelle Russell, Editor in Chief

and would be unfamiliar with an Android product. “We knew we would have a number of people that would need training on how to use [the tablet], as there are some differences between iOS and Android,” White said. “We ended up hiring an army of temporary staff that had some technical skills and trained them pretty much all day prior to us opening on the tablet and our app. We set up tech bars throughout the convention center and placed the temps there to help attendees set up their tablet — when you first start an Android device, you have to set up a Gmail account — provide tips about the app, and answer any questions. We also set up screens looping through a demonstration video on how to set up the tablet and navigate the app. That was pretty successful, as we had a number of people sitting down in front of the screens watching the video in addition to asking our temps questions.”


Now that TCT has wrapped up and attendees have their tablets, CRF is making sure to give them reasons to keep firing them up. They receive push notifications about new content on the TCTMD website. And since the TCT app is actually a multi-meeting app, it will enable users to access content from a number of meetings that CRF organizes throughout the year, including the smaller CTO (Chronic Total Occlusion and Left Main Summit 2014, Feb. 27-March 1, at the New York Marriott Marquis). Once multimedia content is available for CTO, tablet owners with the TCT app will receive a push notification. Content for two additional meetings this year will follow.

TCT 2013 attendees who have the tablet and app won't have to pay a registration fee to access the app. “In order to access the content for the TCT app, you had to have a user account with us — your TCTMD user account,” White said. “So going back to the website, there are different tiers of subscription for our website. There's the free subscription, which [allows access to] editorial stories. You get access to some content — PDFs of different presentations and then some videos.

“But if you pay a fee for the next grade — TCTMD Gold — you get access to all of the PowerPoint slides and the audio-synchronized slides and so forth. So, this account that you set up with TCTMD allows you to log into the TCT conference, and depending on which level you are, provides you access to different versions of content.”

There are about 35,000 subscribers to the free TCTMD account, and more than 3,000 subscribers to TCTMD Gold. White said about 300 people — renewals and brand-new subscribers — signed up on site at TCT for TCTMD Gold.

As for the several hundred tablets left over from TCT, White and his team will use them throughout the year at other CRF programs. “We're not going to give them out to individuals,” he said. “It will be more of a priority registration fee, increasing the registration fee to cover the cost so they can get the tablet, or it would be one of those loaner situations where they can use it during the conference, but give it back to us at the end.”

Feedback from attendees has been extremely positive. Overall, White said, this “has been a very successful endeavor. We did what we wanted to do, and that is to provide this platform for education — and the tablets that we chose were perfect for that.” Not that the process was painless. “There were definitely some lessons,” he said, “that we learned along the way.”

Innovative Meetings is sponsored by the Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau, lrvlngtexas.com.


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