Tips for selecting the best app for your event 2016

Franklin Galarraga

Franklin Galarraga, CEO of Orquidea Technology Group

The use of mobile Event Apps is already a global reality, but how to use them to their full potential is often misunderstood. Franklin Galarraga, CEO of Orquidea Technology Group, the Spanish Partner of Event Mobi, explains the advantages of using these apps to gather information at an event and how these insights benefit future endeavors.

Orquidea Technology Group has been developing technology solutions for Events and the Gamification of them since 2012. Furthermore, the group is global partners with EventMobi, the number one app development platform for events worldwide.

1. What are the advantages of using mobile apps at an event?

There are many advantages but I would highlight the following:

  • They allow the consolidation of all the information from an event in one, easily accessible application.
  • They make the event more attractive for the attendees; as well as being observers and on the receiving end of information, they can also interact and participate, adding to the experience. Together, these create crowdsourcing content, posing questions to the speaker and getting answers in real-time, participating in gamification activities, responding to satisfaction surveys, allowing the host to send live updates, and facilitate networking with other attendees.
  • They can reduce printing costs dramatically, and consequently less paper waste to be disposed of afterwards. Therefore, these apps contribute to and promote environmental awareness and sustainability.
  • They provide greater value and visibility to sponsors and exhibitors, putting them into the hands of each attendee.
  • Their use is profitable because sponsorships can be sold through the app.
  • Apps can easily be integrated with social networking sites, giving greater visibility to the event.

2. What is the added value an app can bring to an event terms of networking possibilities, and for strengthening relationships between the attendees and organizers, before, during and after an event?

  • Prior to an event, the attendee can plan their activities, organize their schedule, discover and select preferred exhibitors, and begin networking with other attendees based on similar interests.
  • During the event, apps foster different ways of networking. For example; one-to-one chat, forums regarding specific topics, location creation, and even connecting through interests you list on your app profile.  
  • Another manner of networking is through the use of Gamification. These game elements (levels, rewards and earning points) are used to engage attendees in entertaining, playful ways.
  • After an event, the organizers can share various files, updates and materials with the attendees; things like presentations, videos, links to galleries and content created during the event, etc. This will then encourage prolonged interaction from attendees, giving hosts, the sponsors and exhibitors continued exposure.
  • Apps can also share contact details between the attendees, sponsors and exhibitors, allowing ongoing communication via simple methods, including the use of QR codes.

3. How do event planners handle data management of mobile applications? Do you believe we are tapping into the potential of the information gathered?

It depends. Just like any other group of professionals, event planners have varying experience and knowledge of data management. During an event, a huge amount of information is produced by statistical analysis modules. For some it’s too much information to sift through and analyze, and they miss out on key learnings. For others, it’s an excellent source of information, revealing insightful data that indicates the most visited presentations, the most viewed areas of the app, most active attendees and their professional profiles etc. Other planners who have strong analytical skills express that this huge amount of information is still not enough to perform their jobs properly. In all cases, the information gathered is analyzed to some degree and the findings applied to future events.

4. What advice do you have for an event planner that is researching Event Apps for the first time? What criteria needs to be considered?

  • First you have to establish the objectives that need to be achieved by the use of the app, and how these tie into the objectives of the event itself.
  • Next, set certain performance indicators; Being clear about your goals and how to measure them enables you to choose the correct App for your needs.
  • Analyze the ability to customize the app; the more flexibility, the stronger the visibility of company or sponsor branding. The visual aspect is very important, meaning an App’s interface is critical.
  • Data Security is fundamental yet complex: what’s stored, how it’s handled, what’s shared. Always choose Apps where the data remains encrypted, shared across secure servers, and is stored on platforms that provide almost 100% reliability. Think along the lines of Amazon Web Services, Azure of Microsoft, Google Compute Engine or similar. Always ask for a security dossier where all this information is prescribed.
  • Read The Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Nobody reads these sections but this is where problems can arise. There are apps that actually access and store all of data for continued commercial use by any existing and future methods. Never use an app if it’s not clear regarding the ownership of stored data and how it will be used in the future.

5. What trends do you see on the horizon of the event industry in the near future?  Where are EventMobi and Orquidea Technology Group headed?

We’re working on integrating smart pay systems into our apps like Apple Pay, and utilizing augmented reality to present certain types of information within an app. We’re focusing on gathering more data, not only through the way an attendee interacts with an app, but also by using technologies such as E - beacons, NFC and RFID during an event. Then, employing Big Data techniques, we’ll turn this increased flow of information into intelligent data. It can then be analyzed using dashboards that allow deeper understanding of what’s happening at events, allowing deeper analysis and forging stronger observations. Determining the ROI of an event is difficult, but with an increased level of business intelligence, we’re trying to get as close as possible to a functional model.