How Healthy are Your Event Technology Vendors?

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of the best(1)Just like any other check-up, understanding the health of your vendors matters because you rely on them to support and execute important aspects of your business. Your event technology vendors are no exception, since the health of their company or platform does impact your entire event ecosystem.

The event technology space has been rife with layoffs, mergers and acquisitions and
sun-setting of products that are currently in use by event organizers. These business decisions are not unusual, but do have an impact on your team’s strategy and goals.

So how can you protect yourself from getting involved with a vendor or product that has an uncertain future?

Check out our Top 5 Tips to consider before signing that next contract, to ensure you’re not scrambling to find a new solution when the news breaks that your vendor is failing.

  1. 1. Product Innovation is Stagnant
    A constant in any healthy event technology business is product innovation. If your event technology partner isn’t promoting new products and has the same stale offerings they did two years ago, that can be a sign that there’s trouble. They may have frozen product development because they’re in the process of getting acquired or worse, they just don’t have the budget to invest in the future of their platform. A good way to get an idea is to ask your sales rep what’s on their product road map. If they don’t have a good answer, that’s most likely a red flag. Core-apps has invested in three powerful new features this year, as an example of how often your event technology partner should be rolling out updates and new products.

2. Follow the News
Has there been buzz recently about massive layoffs by your event technology vendor? Or was it announced that your event technology vendor got acquired recently and core products that you use are going away? If you find yourself in this position, you probably realize now that tracking these types of news stories gives you the knowledge you need to make decisions for the future. And if you think you’re not impacted by layoffs and acquisitions, think again. These can be tell tale signs that over-leveraged companies are facing deeper problems and you can assume that your next event using their technology is not top of mind for teams facing layoffs or an uncertain future for their products. Consider setting up a Google Alert for your vendors so you can stay in the know, especially before signing your next contract.

3. Create Your Own Vendor Scorecard
Consider putting together a quick list of performance criteria that can help you and your team evaluate your event technology vendors. It doesn’t have to be crazy in-depth. Things to consider include age of the company, expertise of the founders, size of the team, quality assurance systems and customer reviews.

And remember, when it comes to venture capital investors, they come first, not customers. If your event technology vendors are beholden to investors, their company leadership will do everything possible to make them happy, not you. The impact is inconsistent pricing and poor tech support when they make cuts in the work force to keep investors happy.

4. Word-of-Mouth Matters
Want to know if you should move forward with that event technology vendor with the cool booth at that last show? Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Ask your colleagues about their experience with event technology vendors you’re considering before you sign a contract. And don’t be afraid to ask your sales person for references too.

“While it may be true that the best advertising is word-of-mouth, never lose sight of the fact it also can be the worst advertising.”

5. Send Your Top Picks a Survey
Want some quick answers about which event app company to use? Send your top picks the same survey and evaluate the responses. Be bold with your questions. Get to the point by asking things like, “do you plan to shut down the product I’m currently using”, or “how will your staff layoffs impact my event”, for example. A survey to your top choices can be a barometer on which company is the best fit for your long-term goals.

Ultimately you’re responsible to your leadership about the event technology vendors you and your team select. Ensure you’re doing your homework, by properly vetting the health of your event technology vendors, before you sign your next contract.

Core-apps would welcome the opportunity to tell you more about our event technology ecosystem and how we compare to other vendors in the marketplace.

Core-apps is the largest independently owned and operated event technology
company in the trade show and events space. We’re known for our technical
expertise, heroic customer care and have been in business since 2009.

As an organizer, you have probably attended many shows that utilize Core-Apps for their events. With over 800 clients and counting, we have helped organizers drive adoption, increase engagement and deliver the ROI that meets their objectives. And with over 300 features, we provide you with all the functionality you need to deliver world class events.

We hope you consider us your trusted partner as you consider your next event technology vendor. For more information on our products, services and how we compare to the competition, please contact us.

Trade Show Executive’s Fastest 50 Awards

We’re pleased to support the Trade Show Executive Fastest 50 Awards & Summit on April 19-21 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Winners are selected based on the highest percentage of growth in each of the following categories: net square feet of paid exhibit space, number of exhibiting companies and number of attendees. Core-apps is a Bronze Sponsor for this year’s event. See you in Chicago!

The RootsTech App Takes the Cake!

Copy of Copy of Copy of the bestWe often celebrate apps we’ve built that create a unique level of engagement for our client’s attendees. RootsTech 2017, held this past February in Salt Lake City, is one of those events that gave us the opportunity to try unique features, flex our creative muscles and technical prowess.

RootsTech is a global family history event where people of all ages learn to discover, share and celebrate their family connections across generations through technology. At RootsTech, there is something for everyone, no matter your family history or your skill level in technology.

The RootsTech team is always interested in trying something new and innovative at their events. This year’s show had a “food and family” theme and the icing on the cake was keynote Buddy Valastro from the hit TLC Show Cake Boss!

unspecified-13We partnered with the organizers to create a great mobile app experience, but within the last few days before the show, the Core-apps team and the organizers conceived the idea of featuring a cake decorating contest through the app.

The RootsTech event app was created on top of our comprehensive Follow Me platform, that offers organizers a suite of cutting-edge features.

But getting the cake decorating contest’s voting application up and running, and with short notice, involved a team of people from both Core-apps and the organizer’s side.

Tara Bergeson is on the RootsTech team and says she’s grateful that Core-apps brought her vision to life!

“We faced two challenges with this contest that Core-apps solved”, she said. “It was important that we could offer people that weren’t at the event, the opportunity to vote too. But after Untitled-1looking for a free option, our Core-apps sales person recommended that we just use their Treasure Hunt gamification feature to enable the voting. This worked out great, but the second challenge was the fact that we couldn’t see the cakes until right before the event. Once they were delivered, we had a professional
photographer shoot them, and sent them on to Core-apps to implement into the app.”

Upon receiving the photos, over the weekend, our team sprung into action configuring the contest, the voting details and an optimized experience for both attendees and at-home participants.

“I worked with members of your team until 4am to get everything ready for the contest, your team was on top of everything! People wanted to go back to the app even after the show was finished just to see the photos of the cakes”, she said.

Our app analytics show over 2,000+ votes and post-event downloads and activity. Tara says they also plan to use the app for year-round engagement, a feature that can be extended through our Access 365 feature.

“The winner of the contest was the haunted house, not made by a professional. She won cash, some kitchen appliances and an autographed apron from the Cake Boss.” And of course the glory of being the first RootsTech event app enabled contest winner!

For more information on how to add Gamification to your event app, please contact us.

PCMA Event App Empowers Attendees at Convening Leaders

Alright, alright alright­ – PCMA Convening Leaders 2017 was a powerful way to kick off 2017!

This year’s event was a success from start to finish. From Matthew McConaughey’s inspirational opening keynote, through four days of education and networking in the heart of Austin, Texas.

Austin was a tremendous host, and the Austin Convention Center seemed to pull out all the stops, but the vastness of Texas reigns true; the ACC is no exception.

networkingAs a proud PCMA event technology partner, we got the chance to see first hand how the mobile event app helped both attendees and organizers make the most of their Convening Leaders experience.

Suppliers, vendors – meeting planners and CEO’s alike – all spent their time collaborating, exchanging ideas, and certainly enjoying more than a good time or two on Sixth Street. And the mobile app was there to help connect people, keep them up to date on all of the events and activities and get them where they needed to be.

Thankfully, most of the attendees took advantage of the official PCMA Convening Leaders mobile app, an all-encompassing resource for participants and show organizers alike. During an event like Convening Leaders, it’s important for our team to get feedback on the mobile app, even during the show. We spoke with several attendees that took advantage of what was out there, and were thankful to have the mobile app as a navigator.

“Austin did an amazing job hosting Convening Leaders 2017,” said attendee Natalie Hinman from the Orthopedic Research Society. “With such a large convention center, navigating the center and the meeting program would have been a challenge without the floor plans and schedule in the app.”

She notes that with keynote sessions, breakout sessions, brain dates and TechCentral spread throughout, it was important to know where you’re heading and what is happening next.

“I loved creating my own schedule and adding in my own appointments. Connecting with fellow attendees through the message center was great for not having to fish out business cards in hallways or at receptions, and taking notes in the app was super helpful.”

As a PCMA partner, Core-apps loves being a part of successful events. From the top down, PCMA knows how to throw an engaging and impactful experience, and the Core-apps event technology ecosystem is the backbone for empowering attedes to get the most out of any event! Be on the lookout for the PCMA EduCon event app coming soon to your favorite app store.

Need your own mobile event app or just want to nerd out on event tech?  Please contact us here.

Connect with Core-apps at PCMA Convening Leaders

Untitled-1Core-apps is kicking off 2017 in Austin, Texas at PCMA’s Convening Leaders!

We’re honored to have been selected as a PCMA 2017 partner! Our event technology will power their annual event apps, starting with the Convening Leaders conference. We are also pleased to be a part of the event, and will have a presence at the Tech Pods and Help Desk areas and our CEO Jay Tokosch will also contribute to an important panel discussion on event tech trends.

We welcome the opportunity to connect with event organizers at Convening Leaders, here is a helpful list of where to find us and how to reach us.

Join us at the Tech Pods + App Alley

Visit us at this year’s tech focused area to learn more about our event technology ecosystem, and to preview some of our new products like Conference Notes and Access 365. Our team will be on hand to tell you more about how the Core-apps total solution can save you time and money. Check out the preview video below for more information on our game-changing technology Conference Notes. We make it easy to add a new layer of digital experience to your event. For more information contact us.

Rapid Fire Chat: Tech Trend Watch, No EventProf Left Behind 

Core-apps_-_ClusterCore-apps CEO, Jay Tokosch will join this important discussion, hosted by Dahlia El Gazzar, on Monday at 2pm.

Come join this energetic panel of event technology thought leaders as they discuss tech trends that will impact your events, your organization and your teams.




keep-calm-and-use-the-helpdesk-2-257x300Core-apps at the Convening Leaders Help Desk

We’re here to help attendees with technical support, questions and ideas big and small. Swing by the Help Desk during these times and the Core-apps team will be happy to help!

Monday 7am-4pm



Don’t forget to pack the 2017 Convening Leaders event app! 

Untitled-1We have freshly baked updates and new features for the 2017 PCMA event app! Visit the app stores now to get the latest and greatest version, designed for the best possible attendee

Apple App Store
Google Play



For more information contact us anytime,
we look forward to seeing all #PCMACL participants in Austin!

Is it a Fad or is it the Future?

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Lessons from 80s and 90s! Fads can Help Predict the Future of the Best Event Technology

Thanks to #TBT, we don’t have to go far for a glimpse at the days gone by. If you’re old enough to remember the 1980s and 1990s you’ll remember fads like: Members Only jackets, acid-washed jeans, leg warmers, neon everything and especially big – big hair, big shoulder pads and big boom boxes.

Looking back now, we laugh about all these horrible fashion don’ts. But we often forget that just as many fads during these two decades were technology related. Thankfully, the 1980s and 1990s gave us major technologies like the personal computer, CDs, mobile phones and game consoles that we still use today. But just like the bad fashion disasters disappeared, many technology fads like Walkmans, DIVX, the Apple Newton MessagePad PDA and DATs, quickly faded too.

Besides giving us a reason to refrain from making notoriously bad fashion choices, what can we learn from the technology fads of these decades about the future of event technology? Here are six lessons from the 1980s and 1990s fads that can help predict the future of event technology.

  1. 1. The EventTech Fad: DIVX

Not to be confused with today’s DivX—the ability to compress lengthy video segments into small sizes –the DIVX of the 1990s was a way to rent movies digitally. Electronics retailer Circuit City piloted this technology: you rented a disc, watched your movie for two days, and then you’d toss the discs or pay a fee to keep watching the movie.

But the problem was customers had to buy a whole separate player to watch DIVX movies. And even worse, the video rental industry championed against the technology. DIVX quickly faded from the
market after a few short years.

The Event Tech Trend: An Integrated Approach to Event Technology

So what can we learn from the DIVX flop?

Event organizers and attendees don’t want separate systems, disjointed user experiences and multiple logins. So don’t piece your event technology together from multiple event tech vendors. Work with one best-of-breed provider who supplies event management software, mobile apps, kiosks, beacons and wayfinding in a single comprehensive platform.

Jay Tokosch, CEO of Core-apps, says, “You’ll save time, money and resources with an integrated platform, and your attendees will have a streamlined user experience. And no worries about one of your event technologies going the way of the DIVX.”

2. The EventTech Fad: Apple Newton MessagePad PDA (aka Newton)

Long before the days of iPhones and iPads, Apple attempted to introduce its own personal device assistant in the 1990s. The Apple Newton MessagePad was extremely innovative and essentially was the father of future PDAs.

newton-penBut the highly inaccurate handwriting recognition software and exorbitant price tag prevented it from truly catching on. It ultimately was discontinued in 1998 and many don’t even recall Apple’s early foray into mobile technology.

The Event Tech Trend: Go Mobile

Flash forward less than 10 years later and Apple redeemed itself with the launch of the first generation iPhone. Since then, storing, accessing and creating information on a portable, mobile device has
become ubiquitous in every aspect of our lives. And there truly is an app for everything.

steve-jobs-original-2007-iphone-625x1000The rise of mobile and event apps aren’t a fad and won’t be going anywhere. In particular, event apps have transformed every aspect of the event experience, from becoming an easy way to access and update the latest event information to a robust tool for matchmaking, networking and in-the-moment messaging.

In fact, watch mobile event apps become more as a critical hub for every interaction between attendees, sponsors, exhibitors and planners. And organizers who embrace mobile apps, will keep their event relevant and meaningful for attendees – something the MessagePad couldn’t do.

3. The Event Tech Fad: Instant Camera

A 1980s staple, instant cameras used self-developing film to create a developed printed picture shortly after you took a picture. Remember the unique sound of the picture being printed, and how you’d fan the picture and watch slowly as the image appearance before your very eyes?

While there has been a nostalgic resurgence recently, the transformation to everything digital was a prime driver in the decline for instant cameras.

The Event Tech Trend: Embrace Digitally Powered Experiences

Just as every aspect of photography has gone digital, so has the event experience. No more printed materials, schedules and collateral. Static wayfinding and navigation have gone by the wayside. And manually planning, tracking and managing sessions or meetings to attend has disappeared.

People Taking Picture With GoPro Selfie Stick Camera

People Taking Picture With GoPro Selfie Stick Camera

Event technologies like mobile event apps make it possible to plan and navigate an event from the palm of your hand. Build a personalized agenda right inside your app? Done. Meet-up with other like-minded attendees? Check. Deliver real-time alerts and messages? Finished. Drive attendees to participate and engage through gamification challenges? Mission

Forward-thinking organizers will find ways to embrace and create digitally powered experiences in every aspect of their events. Tokosch explains, “Going digital is a surefire way to give attendees, exhibitors and attendees an experience that useful and innovative.”

4. The Event Tech Fad: Digital Audio Tapes (DATs)

Though you probably made mix tapes, few recall digital audio tapes (DATs) were introduced in the late 20130214mixtape1-promo11980s. These cassettes recorded at CD quality or better, and were designed to replace analog cassette tapes. But DATs ultimately failed because the music and recording industry were concerned about piracy and protecting recording artists’ rights.



The Event Tech Trend: Provide Data Security and Privacy

Just as protecting recording artists’ right was in the 1980s, the need for data security and privacy in event technologies remains a top-of-mind concern for organizers and attendees alike.

There’s more data than ever – much of highly sensitive – including registration and housing information, social media insights, survey data, attendee information and much more.

Unlike the days of DATs, it’s not an “us” versus “them” mentality. Work with your event technology provider to protect and secure event data. Review data security policies and ask what data
safeguarding procedures are in place, including where data is stored and how often it’s backed up. Protecting and securing data is always in favor.

5. The Event Tech Fad: Betamax

Many don’t recall that Betamax was the first home videocassette format to market – appearing in homes nearly a year earlier than VHS. But VHS ultimately won the format war. Why?

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAU0AAAAJDg1NjBkYTdhLTM5MzMtNDYzNi1hMTk2LTZiNGFhMzZhZDlmMQBeta machines could only initially record for 60 minutes, compared to three hours on VHS. This limited recording time ignored a pretty basic idea – movies are longer than one hour. So anyone wanting to watch or record a two hour movie needed multiple Betamax cassettes. No wonder why VHS prevailed in the short-term.

The Event Tech Trend: Deliver Value for Stakeholders

If Sony and Betamax would have thought about the need for movie producers to have more than an hour of recording time, they might have had more success in the home video market.

Same with event organizers. Use event technology to deliver value and meet the needs and wants of stakeholders. For example, many sponsors and exhibitors are concerned about visibility and traffic they receive. And that’s where event technologies like beacons and heat mapping can be used to deliver value. When real-time floor traffic measurements and heat maps deliver tangible proof of attendee traffic, the needs of sponsors and exhibitors are met. And when you’re showing value, it’s a way to secure future participation – something that Sony didn’t understand with Betamax until it was too late.

6. The Event Tech Fad: Teddy Ruxpin

No lookback at the 1980s and 1990s would be complete without mention of Teddy Ruxpin—the lifelike teddy bear that featured moving eyes and a mouth that moved to the tune of audio books played via a cassette deck in the bear’s back. The toy became a multi-billion dollar product in a few short years, but many found the robotic bear a bit cold and creepy. The company who made the animatronic toy ultimately filed for bankruptcy, though other companies have continued creating different versions.

The Event Tech Trend: Enhance Face-to-Face Networking/Matchmaking

What can organizers learn about the future of event technology from the likes of Teddy Ruxpin? The toy enhanced an already powerful bonding experience between parents and their kids – reading
bedtime stories. And just as this nightly ritual won’t change for families, networking at events remains a top priority for event attendees, exhibitors and sponsors.

networkingEmbrace event technology as a way to enhance the networking opportunities made available by face-to-face events. Give attendees opportunities to mix and mingle through in-app social networking. Just as Teddy Ruxpin brought a new approach to storytelling, event technology will do the same for networking.

Tokosch adds, “Given the importance of networking, it makes sense to use event technology to make it easier for attendees to connect and communicate more easily.”

Take a lesson from these 1980s and 1990s fads about the future of the best event technology:

-Take an integrated approach to event technology that embraces mobile
-Use technology to deliver value to stakeholders and enhance the event experience
-Provide data security and privacy

Schedule a demo with Core-apps to see the future of event technology.

*All product names, logos, and brands are property of their respective owners. All company, product and service names used in this website are for identification purposes only. Use of these names, logos, and brands does not imply endorsement.

Core-apps’ latest innovation revolutionizes trade show booth product experiences

The Patent pending technology allows exhibitors to present dynamic content, track the user experience, nurture prospects and data mine the analytics

Arnold, Maryland, December 14, 2016 – Core-apps, the leading technology platform for the events industry, today announced that the company will release second-screen engagement tool Showcase XD™ in early 2017, a new product that was previewed at last week’s IAEE Expo! Expo! Event.

The new technology powers interactive product content through a tablet, tracks the attendee’s user experience, provides automated follow up and allows exhibitors to data mine the analytics for sales opportunities.

“We created Showcase XD to bridge the gap between the booth and a data-rich digital experience and to solve the problem of following up with attendees who have expressed interest in products and services at the booth,” explains Core-apps CEO Jay Tokosch. “It provides a new level of engagement, nurturing and results to booths of any size. This product helps support the future of the booth experience.”

The new feature reflects Core-apps’ dedication to creating innovative products for event organizers to sell through to their customers.

“Showcase XD gives event organizers an innovative new product to market to exhibitors,” says Tokosch. “Currently exhibitors would need to spend time and money creating a custom digital catalog for their booth, and worry about connectivity keeping it live. Showcase XD solves this problem by providing an out-of-the-box solution to power these types of content experiences without the need for WiFi.”

He adds, “We heard from a lot of organizers at last week’s IAEE Expo!Expo!, that the product is a natural fit for exhibitors interested in adding a digital layer to their booth. They also felt the experience tracking and data mining capabilities were powerful, unique and can help their exhibitors save money on costly printed materials. We are confident that Showcase XD will be a game-changing revenue channel for organizers and a cost-effective tool for exhibitors that closes the loop on the booth sales process.”

Early adopters of the new technology include Informa, Convexx’s SHOT Show, Texas Restaurant Association and the Association of Legal Administrators.

Core-apps plans to provide organizers with a suite of marketing materials to complement their sales process. The new feature will be available for iPad in early 2017 with an Android version coming Q2 2017. For more information on Showcase XD, contact Core-apps at

About Core-apps:
Core-apps is the leading provider of event technology for the Trade Show and Events Industry. The company supports more than 50% of the Top 250 Trade Shows and is the only event technology platform offering Event Management, Mobile Apps, Beacons and Kiosks as 4 tier-one solutions. Founded in 2009, the company is headquartered in Arnold, Maryland and serves customers around the globe. For more information visit

PCMA Convening Leaders Jan. 8-11 2017

We’re pleased to not only be a part of this year’s Convening Leaders, but we’re also honored to have partnered with PCMA for their 2017 event technology. See you in Austin, TX Jan. 8-11 2017.

Core-apps to preview new mobile app features at IAEE Expo! Expo!

Includes a suite of interactive new tools for Organizers and Exhibitors

Arnold, Maryland, November 29, 2016 – Core-apps, the leading technology platform for the events industry, announced today that the company will preview three new mobile app features at next week’s IAEE Expo! Expo! Annual Meeting & Exposition.

The new features are a reflection of the company’s dedication to innovation and to building products for the future of events.

“We are always looking to innovate and solve problems with new ideas,” said Jay Tokosch, Core-apps CEO. “We build features that Organizers, Exhibitors and Attendees find useful and innovative. That is how we’ve grown in the past and that is how we will continue to grow our business and our platform.”

Core-apps recently acquired Patented technology through their agreement with AstraZeneca’s Conference Notes. The company has also recently filed their first Patent application for Showcase XD, a new tool that enables Exhibitors to build interactive digital product catalogs for in-booth engagement.

“We are excited to bring Showcase XD to the trade show industry. This disruptive technology is a new revenue opportunity for Event Organizers and a dynamic new tool for Exhibitors.” Tokosch continues, “Showcase XD is a cost effective app, built for the booth of the future, it cuts down on print collateral and offers in-depth analytics for Exhibitors to continue the engagement funnel.”

Additionally Access 365 will be previewed at Expo! Expo! ­– a new feature that enables an event app to power year-round content and engagement for core constituencies.

The new features include the following, and will be available in 2017:

Conference Notes:Conference Notes
o   Helps Attendees seamlessly engage with conference presentations through their devices
o   Allows attendees to take notes on a presentation in various colors and highlights
o   Enables attendees to share their notes and key information with peers
o   Attendees can easily replay presentations and notes that are recorded
o   Extensive data available for each presenter, for example “most popular slide” and “slide with the most notes”

Showcase XD: Patent Pending DPC_VID_STILL_005_update
o   For Event Organizers:

It’s an opportunity to offer a new product that bridges the gap between the booth and a data-rich digital experience
o   For Exhibitors:
Showcase XD is an exciting new tool to help demonstrate products, tracks user experience, and automatically sends follow up emails
o   For Attendees:
It’s an interactive display designed for engagement, inspiration and detailed product information

Access 365:
o   Turns an event app into an on-going engagement tool man-coffee-cup-pen 1
o   Give the audience access to regular information and updates about your organization
o   Engage with your audience year-round with mobile app Alerts
o   Review your analytics to see what is trending and how your users are engaging with your content
o   Keeps an organization’s mission and value top-of-mind with members and followers

These new features will be available for preview at the Core-apps booth at IAEE Expo! Expo!, taking place in Anaheim, CA the week of Dec 5th 2016.

About Core-apps:
Core-apps is the leading provider of event technology for the Trade Show and Events Industry. The company supports more than 50% of the Top 250 Trade Shows and is the only event technology platform offering Event Management, Mobile Apps, Beacons and Kiosks as 4 tier-one solutions. Founded in 2009, the company is headquartered in Arnold, Maryland and serves customers around the globe. For more information email us at info [at]

The 7 Event App Trends for 2017

Copy of Copy of the bestEverything You Need to Know About Event Apps for 2017

A mere eight years ago, Apple officially introduced “there’s an app for that” into our vocabulary with the launch of the App Store. Flash forward to today, and there’s now 2.2 million apps in the Google Play store and 2 million apps available in Apple’s App Store. According to App Annie, by 2020 the app economy could double in size to $101 billion. There truly is an app for
everything—can you say Pocket Fishpond?

The event industry isn’t immune to the rise of apps. Eighty-six percent of event planners
expected to have an app at their event in 2016.

So during this time of when many break out their crystal balls and make predictions for the year ahead, we’re here to do the same. Continuing our “The Insider’s Look at Event Analytics” series, here’s everything you need to know about seven big trends in event apps for the coming year.

Trend #1: Weave Apps into the Event Fabric

While the line, “If you build it, they will come,” might have worked for Kevin Costner’s character in the movie “Field of Dreams”, the same doesn’t hold true for event apps. Just having a mobile app doesn’t mean your attendees will use it.

A shift has been happening recently, which we expect to continue in the future. Instead of thinking of an event app as a way to save money and paper on printing schedules and session materials, event organizers are planning upfront how the app will be integrated throughout the overall event to enhance the experience. And when we say integrated, we don’t just mean at-event. Event organizers are beginning to market their app pre-event to build engagement with attendees before even arriving on-site.

For example, an international not-for-profit corporation with over 14,000 women members started a pre-show photo contest within the app for one of their largest events. The contest encouraged attendees to snap a pic of the shoes they were bringing to the show for a chance to win special prizes. Hundreds of pictures were posted pre-event. And, even better, attendees arrived at the show with a significantly higher app adoption and usage rate.

Get ahead of the trend: don’t make your event app an afterthought in your event planning. Think carefully how to use the event app pre-, at- and post-event to authentically improve and enhance attendees’ experiences. It’s a win-win for both organizers and attendees!

Trend #2: It’s All about the UX (User Experience)

Because they were seen as a cost-savings tool for organizers, early event apps didn’t focus much on the user experience. As a result, adoption suffered for both users and admins.

As apps become more integral to the overall event experience, we’re seeing event organizers realize they can no longer afford to skimp on user interface and design. Attendees have too many other intuitive and easy apps at their fingertips and will quickly delete any hard-to-use app. Design, look and feel are critical to a superior user experience – and strong adoption.

In the coming months, watch for UX to become a bigger buzzword, with more organizers focused on a seamless user experience that includes:

·             Native compatibility across multiple device formats, including iOS and Android.

·             Fast and simple download. No one has time for a complicated install process.

·             No more multi-step verification or remembering registration passwords.

·             Beautiful and clean design that makes it easy for users to find what they’re looking for (and reflects the event brand and identity).

·             Intuitive layouts, menus and navigation. Remember: your attendees range from tech geeks to technophobes who need encouragement so the user experience needs to accommodate everyone.

Trend #3: Seamless Social Sharing pexels-photo-154147

I don’t have to tell you how critical social media is to extending a live event’s reach. But right now most attendees use third-party social media apps and other tools to share event content.

If we want social sharing to become seamless, event apps need to directly integrate with social media channels. No more attendees manually posting social content in both the event app, and Twitter or Facebook. Embrace this trend and attendees will be able to post once in the app feed, and choose where to simultaneously post content in other channels.

The streamlined experience will drive more attendees to share more content—expanding your event presence to a larger audience of remote participants and even non-attendees. There’s nothing like a little #FOMO (fear of missing out) to drive virtual attendees to use the app and experience the event as if they were attending in person.

Trend #4: Personalized and Customized Mobile_Ad

Thanks to Amazon’s “Recommended for You”, personalized websites and other forms of targeted marketing, the concept of personalization and customization are hot topics—including for events. Since you can personalize and customize just about everything, the newest thinking is event attendees should be able to personalize and co-create their event experience to reflect their personal affinities or interests.

Beyond event apps that allow attendees to create their own personalized session schedule, look for this kind of personalization and customization to continue to expand and grow. Some event apps already allow attendees to build a list of who they want to specifically visit in the expo hall or exhibit floor – and then provide personalized navigation and wayfinding to get there based on their current location.

We’re also just starting to scratch the surface of using event apps to deliver personalized second screen content experiences. Beyond serving up written or video content to supplement sessions, in the future, apps will deliver additional interactivity. Think teaser videos from speakers, polling questions and quizzes that help the speaker understand the audience’s topic familiarity, and much more to create a rich personalized and customized content experience.

Trend #5: Using Apps to Create Active Participants unnamed(4)

For hundreds of years, learning and education has remained relatively the same— passive and one-way. Just as other industries have shifted to experiential learning, organizers realize the same-old static approach at events isn’t very effective or engaging. Event attendees aren’t content to sit back and watch. They want to be active participants.

Luckily, event app technology is making this shift to active participation possible.

Expect more event apps bringing gamification principles—competition, achievements and rewards to guide attendees toward desired behaviors—to conference-based learning. Users will be rewarded for participation, like accumulating points for consuming and sharing content.

Another way attendees can become more active participants is by promoting them to share user-generated content—pictures, videos, testimonials, tweets, blog posts, and everything in between—with fellow attendees and non-attendees through the event app.

Using gamification elements and encouraging the sharing of user-generated content not only promote app usage, but also add fun, interactivity and boost active participation—enhancing the experience for attendees, other event participants and even those who aren’t there.

Trend #6: Smarter Matchmaking and Networking networking

One of the biggest reasons attendees go to events is to network. For the last several years, in-app event networking and matchmaking has improved the process. One future trend on the horizon for smarter networking and matchmaking? Artificial intelligence (AI).

For many, it’s too futuristic to think computers and machines can become “smart” enough to perform tasks that normally require a human. But companies are betting big on AI. During his keynote at the recent Microsoft Ignite event, CEO Satya Nadella shared an example of Volvo using AI to make cars less dangerous by analyzing motorists’ faces to ensure that they’re alert, undistracted, and in a mood conducive to safe driving.

In the future, AI may serve as the backbone for smarter in-app matchmaking and networking in event apps. As attendees start meeting and networking each other, the app learns and gets smarter about the kinds of interactions happening. (Think an IRL application of the movie “Her.”) At the end of the event, attendees will have a whole new group of valuable connections thanks to the app’s networking intelligence. Sure sounds like a match made in heaven!

Trend #7: In the Moment Messaging EA16yDoR2veKrc-nNDodNgFpIZh5LVLDnY9AyyStKrm5fcPqybcCof4HlTXk74rUHCJj-qCXbyhio_Xqv0FOXUQCOeb8b_IpYGj72ZA=w640

App messaging techniques are key to reaching the right user at the right time with the right content. Many event organizers currently use app push notifications–messages sent to users when they aren’t using the app with the hopes of convincing them to return to the app. Push notifications are a great way to keep attendees in the know about new, relevant or timely information, such as upcoming session reminders, special event messages, schedule updates and more.

But there’s much more in the moment messaging to come. For push notifications, we’re seeing an uptick in using beacons to push specific location-based notifications. For instance, beacons are placed throughout exhibit halls, general sessions and other event spaces. Event organizers use the event app to deliver specifically targeted and relevant notifications to attendees in certain locations instead of a broad message to all.

Another area experiencing growth is the use of in-app messaging. In-app messages are notifications displayed while someone is actively using the app. This contextual messaging take a user’s actions into account and is highly targeted. Research shows apps utilizing in-app messaging drive higher engagement and higher retention. I predict in-app message usage will soon rival push notification adoption.

But one of the most exciting and anticipated app messaging possibilities revolves around chat bots. Facebook has beefed up its bot platform for Messenger, including a new bot that makes it easy to send a message to the President. Chat bots very well may fundamentally change how event apps are used for customer service. For example, with a bot built into the event app messaging capabilities, an attendee might send a chat asking for “keynote session room location” and the bot would reply with the answer.

Need help making sense which of these trends make sense for your audience and event?
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