The future of events white paper


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The mobile revolution is here and is set to grow and evolve rapidly over the coming years, but what does this mean for the events industry, and how will it change and shape the
industry as we know it? This whitepaper will discuss the evolution of mobile technology, look at what it is, where it
came from, the part it plays in the event industry today and how it will reshape the event industry of tomorrow.

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The future of events white paper

  2. 2. The Future of Events is WHAT IS MOBILE TECHNOLOGY AND HOW HAS IT EVOLVED? 1 MOBILE TECHNOLOGY IN THE MEETING AND EVENTS INDUSTRY TODAY 2 HOW MOBILE IS RE-SHAPING EVENTS 3 WHAT DOES MOBILE MEAN FOR THE EVENT ATTENDEE? 4 THE FUTURE OF MOBILE EVENT TECHNOLOGY 5 CONCLUSION 6 INTRODUCTION The days of switching off your mobile phone during meetings, events and conferences are over as organisations, businesses and brands are asking people to switch on and get connected. In 2011, the number of smartphones sold exceeded the number of PCs sold1 and according to Cisco, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population by the end of 2013!2 The mobile revolution is here and is set to grow and evolve rapidly over the coming years, but what does this mean for the events industry, and how will it change and shape the industry as we know it? This whitepaper will discuss the evolution of mobile technology, look at what it is, where it came from, the part it plays in the event industry today and how it will reshape the event industry of tomorrow. 1. Pew Research Center, The Future of Apps and Web, March 2012. [] 2. Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2012–2017. [ collateral/ns341/ns525/ ns537/ns705/ns827/ white_paper_c11-520862.pdf
  3. 3. The Future of Events is WHAT IS MOBILE TECHNOLOGY AND HOW HAS IT EVOLVED? Mobile technology is exactly what the name implies; it is technology that is portable. We live in an age of connectivity. People are constantly looking for newer, quicker and easier ways to connect to the world so it is not surprising that mobile technology has taken off the way it has. The mobile phone has evolved from a personal, private communication tool used for calls and texts to the smartphone, a powerful multi-media device that is almost always on, connected, and location-aware. Mobile tablets are also making a huge splash in the mobile technology market and are set to overtake smartphones in the near future. The smartphone and most recently, the tablet, has become an essential tool in the hands of the event attendee, as nearly 3 in 4 business travelers now own and use one.4 According to Michelle Bruno, president at Bruno Group Signature events & professional writer, exhibitors at tradeshows are the first event participants to begin to leverage the capabilities and the functionality of the tablet. In 2012, the number of mobile- connected tablets increased 2.5-fold to 36 million, and each tablet generated 2.4 times more traffic than the average smartphone.3 3. Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2012–2017. [ ns537/ns705/ns827/white_paper_c11-520862.pdf 4. PhoCusWright Market Research, Mobile Hits the Mainstream: Leisure and Business Traveler Trends, January 2012.
  4. 4. The Future of Events is Smartphones and tablets are now more affordable and easier to use than ever before so the market is opening up every year and it is predicted that 10 billion mobile internet devices will be in use worldwide by 2016.5 It makes perfect sense then, that organisations are investing heavily to develop the most effective ways to connect with mobile technology users on their chosen devices. This has resulted in the explosion of mobile technology that we see today. For conference and event organisers that are looking for more attendees, increased return on investment as well as return on engagement, mobile offers the maximum in terms of audience reach, targeting, engagement, customisation, and viral awareness. They are doing everything on a tablet from controlling other devices to lead generation and tracking. They’re using it as a sales tool to show videos and demonstrate various pieces of technology or services that they aren’t able to put in the tradeshow booth. Today, an attendee that is seeking out information for an event will first turn to mobile devices to look for information, this is a huge shift that has happened in the event space, and no event organiser can afford to overlook this trend that is happening with mobile devices. PCMA used mobile for the first time at the Convening Leaders Conference in 2012, and I can tell you we’ll never go back to holding a major face-to-face event without a mobile app. Jason Paganessi, VP of business innovation for Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). 5. Pew Research Center, The Future of Apps and Web, March 2012. []
  5. 5. The Future of Events is The events industry has traditionally been a slow adopter of new technology, but based on the rapid growth of mobile, it is becoming evident that those organisations that embrace it early on will reap the rewards. According to Mary Meeker, internet investment expert with Kleiner Caulfield & Byers, mobile is a whole new animal in terms of the rapid pace at which it is growing: MOBILE TECHNOLOGY IN THE MEETING AND EVENTS INDUSTRY TODAY The growth of mobile technology has been unprecedented, and despite a slower uptake of mobile technology in the meeting and events industry, it seems event organisers are beginning to embrace the mobile revolution more and more. According to Expo Magazine’s 2012 technology survey, 21% of event organisers listed investment in smartphone apps as a top priority in 2013, compared to only 5% investment in this area in 20126 . Mobile technology offers a wealth of opportunity to event organisers from extending the lifecycle of events to increasing attendee engagement and improving the overall event experience. The people who don’t jump on the mobile wave to take advantage of the growth and be early are not even in the game. So if there’s a call to action, it’s that the pace here is happening faster than anything we’ve seen before, and I don’t use those words lightly; there’s a lot of opportunity and momentum to gain within your business if you play your cards right.7 6. Expo Technology Survey 2012. [ 7. Google talks about the explosion of mobile media, April 2011. [
  6. 6. The Future of Events is HOW MOBILE IS RE-SHAPING EVENTS Today, the impact of mobile technology on meetings and events has been primarily limited to onsite functionality and content distribution, but as mobile applications become more sophisticated, event applications are evolving into more robust, interactive and persistent platforms for engagement. Adoption of mobile technologies for corporate and association events will increase in coming years, driven by the competing needs to reduce costs while improving attendee engagement. IMPROVED ONSITE EFFICIENCY AND ACCURACY Onsite mobile tools now provide real-time access to attendee check-in, reports, lead retrieval data and customer feedback. By linking directly to event management platforms, these applications are freeing event organisers from clunky clipboards and three-ring binders and eliminating frustrations caused by out-of-date information and data. Event organisers can now use mobile devices to access attendee records on the fly, deal with payment issues, monitor exhibitor or session traffic and quickly compile and evaluate attendee feedback. The result is smoother, more efficient events with fewer errors and happier attendees. In the past we’ve had lots of data capability before the event and after the event to analyse and manage registrations and the contact management. But during the event we simply did not have the tools to manage data effectively because we were away from our main computers. Now we have our main computers in our pocket or on our tablet, and so this transition is happening; it’s going to be very profound and it’s going to provide much better attendee service at a much lower cost. Corbin Ball, meeting industry consultant, writer and speaker
  7. 7. The Future of Events is Flexible, environmentally friendly content delivery Content distribution at events is traditionally limited to live content, printed materials and virtual offerings. Mobile event technology is quickly changing that by allowing organisers to deliver and update content through applications. These applications make content delivery less expensive, more flexible and “greener” than traditional channels. Organisers can easily update content, such as agendas or speaker bios, and send alerts. Attendees can update schedules dynamically and access area information, hotel details and venue maps to reduce frustration at events. Expanded networking for attendees Networking at events is notoriously difficult, requiring attendees to research possible connections and search them out in a busy sea of people. Mobile event technology improves the process by providing intelligent matching tools that pair attendees based on shared attributes. Once matched, attendees can use these applications to schedule one-on-one meetings, share contact information and connect through existing social networks. Persistent audience engagement platform Mobile technology’s biggest contribution may be its capacity to extend the reach of events by creating a persistent community platform. Social media groups on Facebook and LinkedIn are pulled together to create discussion. Twitter conversations are marshaled to aggregate relevant tweet subjects. Invitations to new events are delivered through push notifications, and registration becomes a one-click process, ensuring organisers maximise repeat attendance. Additionally, continuing education credits can be tracked and organisers are able to create progressive profiles based on attendee behaviour, delivering meaningful data about their audience to their organisation.
  8. 8. The Future of Events is Event audiences are already downloading and using a host of independent mobile applications (apps) to streamline their event experience. From schedule planners, mapping tools to note-taking and networking apps, the list is endless. However, while all of these apps are great, one single app dedicated to a particular event offers a wealth of information and tools for the event attendee. Many mobile event apps offer a host of standard features such as an exhibitor search with an interactive floor map. Real- time event alerts ensure attendees have the most up to date information from the event organisers at all times. Mobile access to detailed information of speakers, break- out sessions, and networking appointments ensure attendees get the most from the overall event experience. Many mobile event apps are now integrated with useful websites and tools such as Twitter, Yelp and Google maps so attendees can map their way to the event, and once there, have easy access to local business information and reviews. Most event apps are made available to event attendees year-round after the meeting, event or show has concluded so attendees can download show materials such as speaker sessions, powerpoints, podcasts and videos at their leisure. Mobile event technology offers attendees the convenience and the freedom to connect with events and the brand behind the event wherever and whenever it suits them. By making it easier to connect with an event, attendees are more likely to engage with it, simply because they can. By using mobile technology the whole event experience is streamlined and enhanced for the event audience. Attendees can access all of the event information wherever and whenever they need to, saving them precious time and reducing the hassle traditionally associated with large meetings and events. On my flight here [Cisco Live Event] I was waiting in the airport. I went to the App Store, downloaded the CiscoLive App , and it made it easy to figure out where I’m going with a quick link to maps and so on. Way to go Cisco, nice job on that one!. Jeremy Duvall, Director of IT Architecture and Engineering, St. Joseph Health Systems – CiscoLive attendee WHAT DOES MOBILE MEAN FOR THE EVENT ATTENDEE?
  9. 9. The Future of Events is We will see a very significant increase in mobile apps for events in these next two years. Two years from now, if you don’t have a mobile app for an event, people will question why your event is behind the times. Corbin Ball Meeting industry consultant, writer and speaker 8. Markets and Markets, Mobile Phone & Smartphone Market Global Forecast, February 2011; Gartner Forecast: Mobile Application Stores, Worldwide, 2008-2014 THE FUTURE OF MOBILE EVENT TECHNOLOGY AND KEY TAKE AWAYS FOR EVENT ORGANISERS Studies from Cisco indicate that mobile technology will continue to grow at an enormous rate and by 2016, one-quarter of mobile users will have more than one mobile-connected device, and 9% will have three or more mobile-connected devices. Mobile technology is undoubtedly here to stay and set to grow and evolve. But on the back of that mobile growth there are some additional trends that are beginning to emerge: Apps are where it’s at Mobile apps reached a £6 billion market by 2011 and are expected to reach over £35 billion by end of 2015!8 There are many useful independent mobile event apps available to download, but the growing expectation is that each event will have a mobile app of its own. Event organisers who are already offering apps have a distinct advantage as riding the mobile wave early demonstrates forward-thinking and innovation to clients, brands and attendees.
  10. 10. The Future of Events is Mobile Video is on the Rise Mobile video is one channel that is predicted to soar as network access and speeds increase. Mobile video will generate much of the mobile traffic growth through 2016, with a predicted growth rate of 90% between 2011 and 2016.9 Event organisers can harness this video trend ahead of the curve by beginning to incorporate a video strategy and video content into their event planning now. Mobile Payments are about to explode Mobile payments are set to dominate in the future. Paypal, the online payment company racked up $4 billion worth of mobile payments in 2011, a huge jump from $750 million in 2010, and exceeding their predicted $1.5billion in mobile payments. Paypal’s VP David Marcus attributes the massive growth to an overall increase in mobile commerce and more useful mobile payments apps that blend online and offline capabilities.10 Event Organisers should ensure events are mobile-payment ready and incorporate this into programs and events as soon as possible. If event organisers can offer mobile payments as part of their services, they’re already riding the mobile wave and setting themselves ahead of the competition right off the bat. The ease-of-use, accessibility and affordability of mobile event technology will be influenced by other new technologies as the market opens up. In addition to the development of personal mobile devices, mobile service providers are developing ways to increase connectivity levels and speeds which will make mobile more accessible to a wider audience. Top event venues are also beginning to incorporate complete Wi-Fi access as part of their standard event packages, lending to the continued integration of mobile event technology. There are many good products out there, and your options are going to increase as well. The prices are going to become much less expensive and there are some really interesting developments with HTML 5 which is going to potentially simplify a lot of the processes. Corbin Ball Meeting industry consultant, writer and speaker 9. Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2011–2016. [ solutions/collateral/ns341/ns525/ns537/ns705/ns827/white_paper_c11-520862.html 10. VentureBeat, ‘Paypal’s mobile payments growing exponentially, reached $4b in 2011’, January 2012. [
  11. 11. The Future of Events is CONCLUSION Creating a truly memorable event experience for attendees, sponsors and exhibitors is a key objective for event organisers, but more and more it is becoming clear that attendee engagement is the key ingredient for experiential event success. For years, event organisers have been looking for ways to harness audience engagement and extend the event lifecycle and mobile event technology is the tool that finally promises to deliver. There have been many studies that reveal that people would rather misplace all their credit cards than lose their mobile phone. Who, as an organisation that’s creating an event, doesn’t want to ride around in the pocket or purse of the delegate? If you understand that psychology, then you’ll understand how absolutely critical it is that we harness the connection and power of these devices and create applications that our delegates will want to keep using year-round, not just during the event – so that we can be with them always and build a community around these mobile devices. Michelle Bruno, President at Bruno Group Signature Events and professional writer In an industry built on the art of connecting people, it is little wonder that mobile technology is about to make a huge splash in meetings, events, conferences and tradeshows. Leading technology companies are vying for first place in the mobile software offering, mobile app developers are scarpering for first place in a £6billion market, and top event organisers are now itching to be the first movers in the mobile space for meetings and events. Whether you’re organising a meeting for 10 people, a corporate event for 100, or a conference and tradeshow for 10,000, there is a mobile event solution available to meet the needs of your audience. To harness the mobile trend early on is to reap the rewards of a technology trend that is by no means a fad, but the future of events as we know it.
  12. 12. The Future of Events is LEADER IN ACTIVITY AND PARTICIPANT MANAGEMENT Sometimes when we’re talking to event directors they say ‘You guys provide online registration software, don’t you?’ That’s true, but we really are so much more than that. We are your marketing magicians, your pricing advisers, your best practices buddies, and more. We are your partner and we are as dedicated as you are to growing your event and the industry. And we are also participants, which gives us a special insight into your world. WANT TO LEARN MORE? UNITED KINGDOM & IRELAND +44 (0) 207 554 0949 SINGAPORE +65 6692 6072 AUSTRALIA 1800 229 019 NEW ZEALAND 0800 452 608