New Tech for Events Chat Log
Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
Did you miss last week’s #engage365 Twitter chat? Here’s a transcript to catch up with. Read on for a great discussion on introducing new technologies to events. Many thanks to @AssociCom, @kkish, and @RandyChoco for their thoughts and tips!
Join us Friday, March 30 at 1 p.m. for an all new #engage365 Twitter chat on bad traffic — inside and out of your event!
Chris Aylott @ChrisAylott: Welcome to our “Old Events, New Tricks” #engage365 chat! We’re talking about introducing new technology to events. I’ll be your host for the this hour-long chat, but you’re the stars. Mostly because you’ll avoid cheesy lines like that.
Terry Coatta @AssociCom: Morning Chris!
What’s New In Event Technology?
Chris: The world is in a technological revolution. Is the same thing true for events? What’s different from five years ago?
Terry: I think we’re at the leading edge of technology adoption for events. e.g. things like the UnSocial app.
Chris: The Unsocial app? And why the leading edge?
Terry: UnSocial – unsocial.mobi. It’s location-based personal networking for conferences/events.
The killer app for events would include schedule, map, location-based networking, discussion, session rating
Chris: Does it make sense to put everything into one app driving an entire event? Or are there useful small innovations?
Kim Kishbaugh @kkish: Are “small innovations” & all-in app an either-or? Small innovations are good, but I want the whole event in 1 app.
Terry: As a user, I want everything in one place. I may be unusual in that regard. But a lot of stuff is connected: for example, the session I’m in is logically connected to ratings for it, discussions about it, etc.
Chris: A good point on it all being connected. But that brings us to a good Q2…
Introducing New Technology
Chris: If you do have a new tech — say an app to link the event functions together, how do you get attendees to use it? What percentage of attendees are likely to adopt a new tech on the first go, and what do you do with the people who don’t?
Terry: I’m not really an events guy, so I don’t have a lot of experience re: adoption at conferences/meetings. Adoption is going to depend on value provided – does the app match user needs?
Kim: New tech at your event? To gain adoption: Promote in advance & during. Explain during check-in. Offer tech-support stations.
Terry: If you drop a physical program guide and go with a mobile app only, I suspect your adoption rate will be high. … at the risk of annoying non-tech savvy folks
Kim: But it’s dangerous to assume people will download/use app just because they have a smartphone. Support and education would help.
Chris: Not time to throw those physical programs away just yet, then?
Kim: LOL – Print fewer physical programs; don’t throw them all away … yet.
Terry: Yes, definitely provide very up front support! “Mobile Help Kiosk” or the like. Charge for program guide but not app?
Randy Choco @RandyChoco: Adoption also depends, in part, on the audience. Our techie audiences are eager to try new event tech.
Chris: How techie do you think the typical business person is these days? The SXSW people are probably coding their own apps while standing in line, but I’m wondering what the average person is like these days…
Randy: Business people are getting more tech savvy. 40+% own a smartphone, that’s a step in the right direction. Smartphone (and tablet) adoption is growing. Event marketers should work hard to get ahead of the curve here.
Kim: But if those smartphones are Blackberry, they’re not app-friendly, so app adoption likely to be low, no?
Terry: Apparently 15% is Blackberry.
Chris: And falling, if some of the stories I’ve been writing elsewhere are any indication.
Kim: I think more & more people buying non-Blackberry smartphones for themselves, even if work provides a Blackberry.
Chris: It does sound like people motivated enough to attend an event are likely to have useful devices. Which brings up…
What Price are We Paying?
Chris: Are we losing anything from the new tech? Are attendees staring at their phones instead of talking to each other?
Terry: Can’t make’em drink. Doesn’t matter whether you provide the tech or not. It’s there.
Randy: Possibly. But I think tech will ultimately enable more engagement than it hinders.
Kim: Event attendees will stare at their phones if they are (1) bored (2) uncomfortable. That’s not the technology’s fault. …
Chris: Though Angry Birds may have to take the rap as an accomplice.
Chris: So where might we be in 5 more years? Paperless events? Check-in via RFID at the door? Smart clothes that glow with badges?
Terry: NFC check-in and payment seems likely. Location based peer networking. More interactive elements at sessions?
Chris: You just reminded me of a game convention I go to. They put a PC in the lobby where you vote on the hot games are. The hot games list is then displayed on the wall. Very simple, very interactive, very effective.
Our hour is up: thanks for a great discussion! Join us next week, same Bat Time, same #engage365 channel!