The president and CEO of event- and conference-app company QuickMobile tells how he went from working on early video games to becoming a true believer in the power of mobile event apps - and how innovations such as the iPhone can actually make face-to-face more important and engaging.
I have been in the software business for over 30 years. I started by writing music for video games way back when. I wrote the music for “Test Drive,” which was the bestselling game in the world in 1987, for a little company called Distinctive Software, which eventually became Electronic Arts (EA).
I went into several different startups(BOL), and eventually I found myself at Ericsson, where I worked for five years, and I was in charge of their mobile Internet division in Brussels for two years. It was interesting because back then, in the 2000–2001 time frame, we were talking about a lot of the things that have just recently become available - mobile commerce and gaming - and about how people will communicate and network with each other in real time. And we really had no idea how those platforms would work.
We started QuickMobile in late 2006, and we were initially all about SMS and contextual mobile marketing. We made a shift in late 2007–2008 into the world of applications, and it was primarily around the iPhone. We saw a huge opportunity there. And the first thing we did was three applications for film festivals.
Then we did the PhoCusWright Conference in 2009. And when the light went on for me was when we were at the conference and they had a full printed program, and in the very first keynote speech someone pulled the fire alarm. Everyone had to leave the hotel. Like 800 people stood outside for an hour-and-a-half, and then they came back in and we resumed. Well, basically what the conference organizers did in the background while everybody was out of the building was they re-edited the entire schedule for the day. The printed program was completely useless, but the app had all the information updated.
People were running around saying, “Have you got the iPhone app? I need to know where the next meeting is and what is happening next.” And for me that was really quite a revelation. I thought, “Oh, my God, this could really change the way people interact and the way people can use these devices at a meeting.”
In fact, what we have found is that when people participate with some of the newer features of an app like gamification and photo galleries and video galleries and all the social-media aspects, that face-to-face is actually becoming more important in some respects, and that people actually want to be there.
What meeting planners(BOL) are really trying to do is have a great experience. And that great experience includes everything from the venue to the speakers, the program, the education, meeting people and getting new business opportunities - and the app has to be a part of that overall great experience.
The Rise of Mobile Event 2.0
QuickMobile recently published a white paper called “The Rise of Mobile Event 2.0.” The following excerpt discusses the evolution of the mobile event application from 1.0 solutions to Mobile Event 2.0, which fully embraces mobile’s capabilities to create interactive and engaging experiences that change the way attendees participate in events. To download a free copy of the entire white paper, visit www.quickmobile.com/white-paper.(LIN)
It has been less than three years since meeting planners started to use mobile devices as a replacement for paper-based program guides. The rapid innovation and user adoption of sophisticated smartphone technology has certainly played a hand in this transition. Despite the emergence of mobile technology, however, the majority of events still use paper-based event guides and programs - that is all about to change.
The concept of Mobile Event 2.0 is associated with smartphone applications that facilitate greater overall participation, increased information sharing, branded human-centered design, and foster collaboration at conferences, trade shows, and events.
Today’s mobile users are much more social and use their smartphones for much more than making phone calls. Mobile Event 2.0 embraces this trend by allowing meeting planners and organizers to distribute conference information through a tool that most attendees already have. This next-generation solution encourages event attendees to capture thoughts, images, and videos and then share them with other attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors.
The focus of Mobile Event 2.0 is about creating a more memorable experience and increasing engagement in the meeting or conference. Critical to this is a human-centered interface that is branded, easy to use, and customizable.
One of the core benefits of Mobile Event 2.0 is the ability to increase attendee interaction throughout the event. Unlike paper-based solutions or those developed with 1.0 capabilities, 2.0 applications are designed and developed to increase interaction and collaboration.
Seven Pillars: Seven Benefits of Next- Generation Mobile Event Apps for Meeting Planners and Organizers
1. Events become year-round conversations.
2. Attendees generate content and continuously interact.
3. The mobile event app is a profit center.
4. The user experience is branded to the hosting organization.
5. Attendees create a personalized, tailored experience.
6. Meeting planners have a single event-management platform to modify content and view reports.
7. Mobile event applications are multi-event ready.
Like the web, the mobile event app has evolved from a simple information resource to a social platform for accessing and exchanging goods and services. It started as a replacement for paper, delivering information in a simple, uninspired way. But as mobile technology improved, users have come to demand more from their devices and expect more from the apps that they download.
Leveraging the full capabilities of mobile technology allows event planners and organizers to create apps that focus on addressing their core challenge: producing events that deliver memorable and engaging experiences. This is the foundation of Mobile Event 2.0.