This is the second in a series of 12 weekly blog postings covering the major technology trends affecting conferences, events and trade shows.
2. Mobile technology crosses the chasm from the early adopter to the early majority for events
Recent data from MPI”s FutureWatch 2011 Survey and others indicate that more than 80% of meeting professionals use smartphones and other mobile devices in their jobs. Yet, relatively few planners (9%) have used mobile applications yet for their own meetings. This is about to change. There will be a very significant adoption of mobile apps for events in 2012 and 2013. If a meeting does not have a mobile app, the attendees will soon wonder why the meeting organizers are behind the times.
There are hundreds of mobile companies and mobile apps targeting meeting professionals (I have more than 200 linked at my regularly updated online web links file: http://www.corbinball.com/bookmarks/#MobileApps). Although there will likely be a shakeout similar to the dot.com deflation in the late 1990s, the companies that survive will change how we do business.
There is a very strong business case for adopting mobile apps for your events including better real-time distribution of conference information, better location-aware/way-finding capabilities, event greening through paper reduction, better onsite networking, lower cost survey/polling options, enhanced branding, better attendee analytics, better CRM, advertising revenue generation and enhanced attendee experiences. More details on building the business case for mobile apps can be found at: http://ow.ly/6i35J
Another driver increasing the use of mobile apps at events is be the growth of applications targeted at the meeting venues rather than the meeting planner. Meeting facilities managers will either resell (at low cost) or give the app customized to the event to meeting planners and attendees. Examples of this model are SwiftMobile.com and eMarketing360.com.