February 2011Conference+Meetings World www.c-mw.net23The smartphone has changed the way we function as human beings. Sarah O'Donnellfinds out whateffect it has had on the meetings industry and makes a few recommendations. The meeting planner'sSwiss army knife 2.0Apps are mobile applications thatcan be downloaded and run onsmartphones such as the iPhone,Blackberry or Google Android. At thetime of writing some sources reckonedthere were over 300,000 apps availableon the iTunes directory alone. This doesnot take into account apps created forother devices. The following apps can either be foundat the iTunes store, the Blackberry andAndroid alternatives, or are custom-made for your events. All areavailable for under US$10 or for free. Planning an eventSupper Planner provides toolsfor meeting and eventplanners such as calculationsfor venue capacity, staffing,catering, staging, projections as well asrelated useful tips. The sections aredivided into Food and Beverage,Audiovisual and Venue Capacity. Grupiomakes attending anevent a richer experience byallowing access to the eventdetails, social networks andincludes live updates from organisers. Itdoes, however, need the organiser to setup the initial group to work. EventGenie is a customisedapp for organisers, whichprovides a secure programmefor messaging and apersonalised agenda by highlightingcertain sessions for delegates. From anorganiser's perspective, it also allowsvisitor behaviour analysis enabling themto maximise event revenue. The My EventTECHNOLOGY UPDATEtool allows delegates to record notes, voicememos, photos and videos and downloadexhibitor brochures and speaker slides.Tickets or passes for events can beissued electronically through this app,which also offers delegates the option toscan in business cards. It also has multi-lingual support.ExpensesTired of losing receipts, forgetting whatthey were for and holding them in yourwallet until you return to the office? WellCMWhas found two apps that couldsolve this dilemma:Gorilla Expenseis a combination of theonline Gorilla Expense system and amobile application. When you pay for anexpensable item while travelling, take aphoto of the receipt, edit a few detailsabout the expense and it will be addedto your account for later use. The servicecan also be customised to automate thereporting process, restrict expenses thatinfringe company policy and handleMeetingApps.comCredited as the world's first portal formeeting apps, MeetingApps.com, hasreached its 999th app in its directory.Since the launch of the free-to-usewebsite in August 2010 the portal is nowused by meeting professionals in 83countries. "We are all driven to prove the value ofmeetings and to work more efficiently,"says its co-founder, Kirsten Strand. The site enables planners and tourismindustry professionals to locate iPhone,iPad and BlackBerry apps related to themeetings and events industry in certaincategories such as travel, cool tools andconferences. Vancouver-based event managementcompany, Invenia Incentives, joinedforces with the meetings tradeshoworganiser IMEX Group to launch the site.IMEX will be promoting it at IMEXAmerica 2011 in Las Vegas in October. ????MeetingApps.com co-founder Kirsten Strand
24www.c-mw.net Conference+Meetings WorldFebruary 2011TECHNOLOGY UPDATEforeign currencies. More expensive than others, it costs from$10-50 per person, depending on howmany employees from the same companybuy the software. The Android app Expensifyallows users toimport receipts directly from their creditcard, converting it into a submittable PDFreport. A business traveller can also logmileage, upload photos of receipts and addcash expenses. It allows a user to link a cardor bank account so they can track spending.LanguagesTalk to Meis a simple application thattranslates what you're saying into anotherlanguage in real time. If you need to ask fordirections in French, need to dictatecomplicated commands in Italian or justwant to impress your friends with Spanishtranslations, this is the app to have. Thisapp is especially handy for the regularinternational business traveller.Word Lensis one of the latest apps to hitthe market and is making quite an impact.The $5 option uses an iPhone's camera totranslate foreign words into the user's ownlanguage immediately on the screen.Currently it's equipped for Spanish toEnglish, English to Spanish but its creatorplans for Chinese, Japanese, Arabic andCyrillic to be added. It does not needMeeting Professionals International (MPI)has over 23,000 members worldwide. ItsMeetDifferent conference in February2010 in Cancun, Mexico, drew severalthousand attendees, and the largerWorld Education Congress (WEC) in thesummer is usually double that size.MPI goals for the apps and sites:.Generate pre-show excitement andincreased attendance.Connect attendees with their peers toencourage learning.Connect buyers and suppliers.Build a lasting sense of communityamong attendees.Educate attendees in the use of socialmedia tools.Build the MPI brand as a forwardthinking, member-centric organisationSolutionMPI enlisted the help of social networkwebsite creator Pathable and app creatorQuickMobile to create an online (websiteand app) community before, during andafter the event. Each community website includedattendees profiles, discussion forums,and an integrated conference calendar. Beginning with the WEC 2010 event,attendees were able to schedule privatemeetings on a calendar integrated withtheir session agenda. Also they couldaccess a virtual tradeshow component,where exhibitors could customise onlinetradeshow booths with downloadablematerials.QuickMobile's app features included areal-time, on-the-go, searchableprogramme; speaker information andprofiles; access to MPI Twitter feed andMPI Facebook page; quick access to thePathable site, as well as the ability tosend a message to any attendee throughthe mobile app.ResultsOver half the attendees to MeetDifferentcompleted their profile, used thepersonalised schedule, added contactsand participated in the community. TheWEC 2010 numbers exceeded this byaround 20 per cent."Introducing Pathable to both eventswas a great experience," said MPIDirector of Community Development,Alan Baptista. "We were able to engageattendees well before the events startedand have continued the conversationswell after they were done."Case Study: MPI's MeetDifferent and World Education Congress 2010internet access, so no data roaming fees arecharged. TradeshowsIf you are heading to one of themeetings industry tradeshowsaround the globe you mightwant to check out Follow Me.Designed specifically for the tradeshowindustry, it features real-time show alertsand interactive floor maps. A user canschedule tradeshow information whiletravelling to the show or download it to thephone for later reference. Exhibitorinformation can also be downloaded toprevent a user from having to carrymarketing materials and brochures. Showguideallows users to gopaperless, allowing aconference or tradeshoworganiser to increase its'green' credentials. This allows anorganiser to upload venue maps, coursework, session papers and exhibitorpamplets, which can all be downloaded. TravellingUsers of LinkedIn might befamiliar with TripIt, a masterdashboard for travel plans. Itallows someone to track theuser and itineraries, which can help acompany or team needing to knowwhere their staff are on any given trip. Ifa user upgrades to the professional app,they can receive flight alerts, alternativeflight options as well as the basics whichinclude maps and directions.If a business traveller is alone or in a cityfor the first time, Aloqa might be useful.Finding the best hotspots that mightinterest the user who has set up their'interests', the app automatically notifiesa user about restaurants, events orplaces nearby that might be of interest. FlightTrackhelps users whomight have their flightcancelled or delayed bynotifying them via a mobileas soon as the airline notifies. The app tracks flight times, gates,delays and the professional version iscomplete with TripIt integration andmore international airport information. Worldmatebuilds a user's business travelitinerary and allows it to be accessed viathe user's smartphone. The itineraryincludes all travel bookings, flights,hotels, car rentals, plus all of the user'smeetings. All items are presented in thedestination time-zone, and haveadditional information like confirmationnumbers, phone numbers, terminals andgate numbers.