New technology arrives at lightning speed and with it comes the feeling of unfamiliarity and risk. Understandably, adopting new technology can be a bit scary.
As an event app partner for various types of events from meetings to conferences to trade shows, it’s important for us to engage in conversations with our clients to ensure they’re comfortable with the technology. Many non-technical event planners come to us because they have a friend in the industry who recommended using an event app. These inquisitive planners know the technology has great benefits to improving the event experience but getting started and venturing into the great unknown is a difficult step. Speaking with thousands of meeting and conference planners over the past year, we’ve put together a few notes on common concerns with technology and how best to overcome those fears. In regards to mobile event apps, these are the most commonly diagnosed.
Expensivetechophobia – the fear of paying for an expensive technology you have little-to-no knowledge about.
It’s natural to be hesitant about investing in a new technology. If you don’t know about it, how can you assess its ROI, right? Do you really want to drop tens of thousands of dollars on a technology you’re not comfortable with?
Engage event app suppliers about their mobile app and ask lots of questions. There are tons of different options out there, both in regards to capability and price. Apps are just like events, no two are alike! App providers should offer you examples of past event apps and some will even offer a free trial account so you can build your own mobile conference app and get comfortable well before you open your wallet.
Compatibilitiophobia – the fear of providing technology attendees can’t access
There are so many different devices that attendees use, how can you reach all of them without leaving anyone out?
While native apps are built separately for each platform (iPhone, Android, iPad etc), a web app is built once and works on all devices (and works offline). Not just phones, but tablets, laptops, and desktops as well. No matter what your attendees use, they’ll be able to access your app. If a native app is important to you, research the most commonly used devices at previous events to see which platforms to build on. This depends on the demographics. A corporate crowd may still rock the BlackBerry while an event with European attendees may demand Android development. With a native app, you’ll want to come up with a plan for those attendees who don’t carry supported devices.
Adoptionratophobia – the fear that no one will use or understand your app
Many planners are hesitant about apps at events because they don’t think attendees will use it. After getting over expensivetechobphobia, the last thing you’ll want to see is a low adoption rate. Fear not, there is a cure.
To increase adoption rates, create a promotion strategy for your event app. Make sure to educate and inform your attendees about the availability and functionality of your swanky new digital event guide. Promotion can make a huge impact on adoption rates so remember to hammer out a plan early on! We did a blog post on this subject a little while back.
Nointernetophobia – the fear of not having access to the internet. This also includes having an intermittent connection that goes down at all the wrong times.
Planners tend to be hesitant about WiFi – and rightly so. Internet in homes and offices tend to be pretty reliable but when it comes to big conferences and busy events, capacity planning is required. Use your site inspection as a chance to test if a property’s internet setup is up to par and can handle the deluge of data downloaded on attendees’ devices. This is also a great opportunity to ask situational questions like who will be the expert staff on hand to answer internet-related questions. Meet that person, make a connection, and get them personally involved in the process – day of the event, they’ll be as personally invested as you are.
When it comes to apps, most have the ability to work without an internet connection. Native apps which download from the app store will keep all the event information on attendees’ devices. Web apps which are accessed through the internet browser also work without an internet connection thanks to a new technology called HTML5. Michael Shapiro of Meetings & Conventions Magazine wrote a blog post on HTML5 web apps offering a great overview of the new technology.
Event apps greatly improve the event experience. Whether the objective of your event is to improve networking or enhance the educational experience, a dynamic event app can do wonders! Conquer your fears by meeting them head on. Ask your technology partners “Is it possible to…” and “How can I…” questions. Dream big, get creative, and be ready to learn. The time you invest researching your options will pay off with a great event and smiling attendees.
New technology like event apps may be a little intimidating at first but once you see just how easy it is to make an app, you’ll laugh away your fears and wonder why you didn’t get started earlier!