you will be left behind. In the next few years, as smartphones become more pervasive, attendees will expect mobile functionality to be part of the event.It is a natural progression for registration companies to evolve into providing value for visitors rather than exhibitors and organisers. As they are, current 'check-in' and 'badge print' services provided by registration companies will become redundant as smartphones and apps take over this role. This is the same fate facing audience response system vendors that provide dedicated and proprietary hardware gadgets to perform the same services mobile phones can now deliver. My company, SpotiD, entered this space with the launch of our LoudCrowd service in September. To overcome the current lack of smartphone app take-up at events, SpotiD provides a patent-pending platform that allows attendees to use any mobile phones they own. By supporting SMS, email, Twitter, mobile web, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Near Field Communication, QR codes, iPhone/iPad, Android and BlackBerry, we believe we have it covered and can ensure every attendee participates in and engages with the event. It's also not just about looking at a fl oor plan, exhibitor or speaker list. To truly engage, visitors need to be able to cast votes, complete challenges, send comments, questions and feedback to speakers, share photos, send messages to other delegates, book meetings, create personalised agendas, ask for session reminders and fi ll virtual show bags.It is the 'fi ll your personalised virtual show bag' that is generating a lot of interest with event organisers. Attendees simply use their mobiles to 'tag' an exhibitor or speaker they like and their brochures and business cards are virtually inserted into their own online show bag. After the event, delegates can access their show bag online (not on their mobile phone) to review all content requested. This is the next generation show bag. Not only is this service convenient for attendees, it also provides two-way lead capture so exhibitors and organisers can analyse show bag activity. This is far more effective than just providing a list of exhibitors on a website without being able to track which exhibitors visitors are interested in.Organisers are now seeing a host of new technologies that assist with making events more effective for exhibitors and visitors. These will ensure live events and face time still play a very important part of the sales and marketing process for organisations. - Luke Glen is MD of SpotiD UK.Exhibition News recently ran an article on how the role of registration companies is changing to be more focused on helping visitors get information about the exhibitors. Historically, it's just been about providing a one-way lead capture service (August 2011 edition, p33).In February I responded to an article about the exit of FISH's RFID-based technology from the industry along the theme of the lack of enthusiasm of event organisers to adopt innovative technologies. In that article I suggested organisers need to be more focused on the visitors/delegates rather than exhibitors. More value for attending will result in better value for exhibitors. In the fi rst half of 2011, there have been a number of mobile phone-based apps focused on attendees. Organisations like SO Visit, EventGenie, EventMobi and ShowGizmo have all announced partnerships or launched new apps. Despite the lack of take-up of these apps at events (only 37 per cent of mobile phone owners have smartphones, according to trends research in March 2011), event organisers should not be discouraged. Now is the time to embrace mobile technologies because these are the keys to more effective visitor engagement. Use this time to learn and evolve the use of mobile technologies, otherwise READER RESPONSEwww.exhibitionnews.co.uk 41YOUR SAYEN readers share their thoughts on registration companies and the issue of inadequate wireless connectivity on the show fl oorVISITOR REGISTRATION REVOLUTIONONLINE SAY-SOTwitter postsToday's top tip for a prize-grabbing presence at live events: Smile! It always gets results. FaceTimeGot an email marketing campaign? Send it on a Thursday, Responsys survey says. MarcioSaito52% of trade show exhibitors exhibit to see many buyers at one time.Skyline Exhibits Do what you love, mercilessly delegate everything else.Liz King EventsClarify what business you're in: Core purpose is the fundamental reason your company exists beyond making money.TradeShowAmigo.comWhy is it that emails that begin 'Hello Dear' always turn out to be from someone I don't know, who isn't dear to me at all?Alan Stevens, media coachHeard about the @ABPCO Petition for free Wi-Fi in conference venues? Exhibitions next hopefully?ASPEventsJust fi nalising the design for our new uniforms at SO Group, we will have the best dressed guys in the events industry.SO GroupLinkedIn forumsIt sounds like Julie Benson has got a fi rst class venue to stage the event, and I wish her every success, The format looks exciting and I'm sure it will attract the sponsors and exhibitors it needs to make it a 'Great Exhibition'.- Peter Gibson, MD of Exmedia commenting on The Great Exhibition fi nding a home in Warwickshire. I saw a guy working on the road wearing a hi-vis vest combined with camouflage trousers. What sort of message is he sending out? Seriously though, we advocate hi-vis where trucks or forklifts are in operation.- Rob Cave's response to the question of whether hi-vis gear is useful and necessary.Competing against complexityThe recent article in Exhibition News, 'Making the Connection' referencing Wi-Fi services within venues, is one that I am fi nally glad gets some coverage in the exhibition industry (September 2011 edition, p31). Wi-Fi service within an exhibition hall is paramount if we, as organisers, are going to ensure that the customer experience is taken to a new and different level. We need that infrastructure to allow us to develop mobile apps and interactive features which ensure visitors/exhibitors get the most out of their attendance. We are competing in a complex world where it's very diffi cult to tempt people away from their daily lives. This would certainly help pave the way. In fact this is something I have been debating with AEO members for the last six months and was a hot topic for discussion in a recent "Marketing Directors at Event Organisers" forum I organised recently. Emap, Easyfairs, Brand Events and Clarion among others were represented and from a marketing point of view this lack of development is holding us back.From a customer perspective, this is seen as a straightforward service to be offering and no matter what the complexities we will look outdated if we can't provide this service. - Nolan O'Connor is marketing director of Centaur Exhibitions.
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