Understanding the cost of mobile event apps

Whether you’re selecting an entry-level template app or a customized enterprise event app, it’s important to consider not only the upfront costs, but also the total cost of ownership and the long-term return on investment that your app will provide to your event strategy. Is it more cost effective for your brand to purchase an entry-level app, or invest in an Enterprise Event App?

5G is coming: How will it change your events?

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Analysts predict that 5G networks will be in use by 2020, set to connect over one billion users by 2025. 5G network technology has been the subject of great excitement and debate within tech spheres and has been one of the major highlights at this year’s CES 2018 event. But as connectivity grows closer, the event industry needs to focus on how new use cases will change the way they connect with attendees.

Representing more than just a new generation of connectivity, 5G will issue in a new era in which our relationship with technology will be increasingly fluid and customized. With 4G came a more connected society with the Internet of Things (IoT), but 5G will introduce a fully mobile society. Improved connectivity provides a wide variety of opportunities for event professionals to offer attendees with a wholly immersive event experience.

What features will 5G bring?

One of the core features of 5G is speed, with some suggesting speeds up to 1,000 times faster than 4G LTE. Higher bandwidth means that mobile networks will be able to deliver live virtual reality streams from events, while enabling detailed digital information to be superimposed on live images of the physical world captured on a smartphone or head-mounted display (augmented reality). In addition to human-centric applications like AR and VR, more reliable machine-to-machine connections will make our lives safer and smarter.

Lower latency means that 5G can introduce lower battery consumption and support more devices, enhancing our use of the IoT. For event planners, the opportunity to capitalize on wearables and beacons has higher potential than ever before.

Expect more from wearables & apps

Imagine supporting your attendees through a wide range of premium event opportunities, such as pre-ordering refreshments or instantly sharing their experiences on social media. Expect your event app to get smarter at recognizing attendee locations, making proactive customized attendee experiences via highly personal recommendations a reality. Perhaps after guiding your attendee to a session based on their interests and seating them next to someone they’ve expressed interest in meeting, your event app can offer them a nearby lunch recommendation.

All 5G devices will have their own data plans with greater connectivity, meaning event planners will be generating meaningful data uninterrupted. With better wearable connectivity, event planners will leverage deeper attendee insights that allow them to continuously improve events. 

Create safer event experiences

The tragedies of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting and Manchester arena bombing shook the event planning world, and security is top-of-mind for 2018 event planners. As 5G improves connectivity between event management and emergency personnel, reaction times to emergency situations will become almost instant. Planners will know the location, hazards and number of people affected in an incident, giving increased security and control. Communication possibilities with attendees will mean visitors can be instantly updated with security notifications.

Meet the first global network

As 5G improves connectivity, will individual data and roaming charges increase dramatically? Well, yes and no. Many 5G promoters are touting the new network as the end of WiFi, as 5G meets the need for connectivity that previous generations of mobile services have been unable to fill. While this is unlikely, the average network user will have access to improved global connectivity that will make roaming a thing of the past.

Set to become the first truly global network, 5G will introduce federated network slicing that enables a seamless platform sharing amongst operators at a global scale, guaranteeing seamless user experience. 5G connectivity will finally make it possible for operators to provide a global network service experience, without needing individual agreements with different operators.

Optimize event revenue potential

Current event organizers are still currently dedicating a significant portion of their budget to WiFi, or to serving attendees who are not using connected devices. With 5G all attendees will have full connectivity, meaning marketers will be able to focus on customizing meaningful content, rather than customizing content delivery systems. Because 5G networks will empower virtual reality in a way that 4G can’t, remote attendees will be able to experience conferences and events through VR content in real-time, allowing event planners to create “virtual” ticket options that maximize revenue.

Will 5G remove the need for WiFi altogether? Probably not. But with improved connectivity, event organizers will be able to focus on customizing meaningful content, rather than customizing content delivery systems. “Every new technology predicts the death of the older technology, whether it’s wireless predicting the death of ever needing wires again, or 5G predicting the death of WiFi,” says Cliff Skolnick of RightRound, providers of high-density WiFi solutions for events. “Essentially they all end up working together: as 5G gets faster, so does WiFi. We expect 5G to allow more engaging event applications, video delivery, larger coverage areas, and more. Things you can do today only with a large budget will become more accessible to all events.”

Why event professionals should plan for 5G early

While 5G networks aren’t expected to roll out until 2020, the network architecture required to support this new network is not insignificant. As we better understand how to use this technology, event technologists will roll out a fuller list of use cases for 5G and event management.

7 steps for managing smaller events with your Enterprise Event App

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Your Eventbase Enterprise Event App offers your attendees a customized, on-brand premium mobile event experience trusted at some of the largest conferences and events in the world. But did you know that your event app platform of choice can also provide smaller event packages, which we call Essential Events? This package is perfectly tailored for corporate meetings and smaller-scale conferences and events.

Using Eventbase Manager (included in your Enterprise Event Platform), you’ll be able to create, manage and publish Essential Events hosted within your Enterprise Event App. Here are 7 tips for how to best utilize your enterprise event app to manage a successful Essential Event.

Plan ahead

Give yourself three weeks to plan and input all your event and session details. Eventbase Manager makes it easy to enter your event schedule and input pages yourself using plain text or HTML, and upload images and links. Just like our Premium Events, your Essential Event’s app menu is entirely customizable, allowing you to offer your attendees everything they need without cluttering the menu with options they don’t.

Define your roles internally and select a subject matter expert that will be setting up your event. All Essential Events come with access to the Eventbase Help Center, making app management easy. If it’s your first time managing an Essential Event, consider booking a training call with one of our Customer Success Managers. They’ll walk you through everything you need to know, ensuring you’re an expert on the Eventbase platform.

So, what should you include in your Essential Event? Read on.

Content is king

In order to be truly useful, your event app should offer attendees more than just a digital schedule and floor map. Providing unique app-exclusive content helps encourage attendees to download and engage with your app. Include need-to-know information like your event’s wifi connection details, and wayfinding information to and from the local airport, your conference hotel and your event venue.

Offer a customized, VIP experience

Your Essential Event offers the option of segmenting users and creating custom content for each segment. Utilize this feature to offer additional content to VIP attendees, or segmenting content offerings based on role, company or interests.

Enhance on-site networking with gamification

It’s no secret that many people find networking to be a challenge, and yet it remains a key component of any successful event. Your event app can help encourage attendees to connect by using gamification to break the ice. Games within the app can be used to encourage social sharing, or feature a “treasure hunt” that lets attendees collect badges at sponsor booths or certain sessions. Encourage participation by offering a prize, or simply let the leaderboard inspire friendly competition.

Engage your attendees once they leave the event

Your attendees’ event experience doesn’t end when they head to their hotels for the evening. Many attendees are visiting from out of town and may have limited experience with your conference city. Including taxi services and walkable dining options from their hotel are small gestures that can take your attendees’ experience from great to fantastic. Consider adding pages of content that enhance their stay with off-site dining and entertainment suggestions, or ideas for how to extend their stay with popular tourism options.

Looking for more suggestions? Check out these 5 tips for encouraging your attendees to explore your host city.

Make your event live

Once all of your content is uploaded and you’re feeling confident, it’s time to go live. To make your event appear within your enterprise event app, simply toggle your event to “live” on the Eventbase Manager home screen.

Made a mistake or have new changes that came up on the fly? Don’t worry - you’ll still be able to edit app content on your live event.

Invite attendees to download your app

Send out the invitation for your attendees to download your event app at least three to five days in advance of your event. This gives them time to peruse your session offerings and build out their customized event schedule. Best of all, attendees are able to source out who will be attending each session, allowing them to begin networking before they even arrive. Remind your attendees once they’re on site by displaying screens or slides with download information. Your host speaker can further encourage your attendees by noting the key benefits in their intro session.

Your brand’s Enterprise Event App can scale from massive conferences to small corporate events. Make the most of your attendee experience with Essential Event features that offer attendees a premium experience, without the premium price.

5 ways event apps can help attendees explore your host city

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In a recent study conducted by the Experience Institute, over 75% of attendees stated that the destination city factored into their decision of attending an event or conference. Events bring people to new cities and provide a great opportunity for them to explore.

Once your attendees leave the conference floor they’re in a new city, possibly one they’ve never visited before, and left to their own devices for sourcing food and entertainment. When attending busy all-day conferences, this can be a source of stress rather than excitement. There are many ways you can improve your attendees’ event and travel experience while highlighting sponsors and partnerships via an event app.

Here are some ways we’ve seen event apps leverage event technology to explore new places.

Highlight sponsors and partnerships

Whether it’s around the convention center or around the city, drop pins onto the locations of your sponsors, making it easy for attendees to notice and find them around the city. In 2015, the Pan Am Games app did this by placing pins on their lead sponsor CIBC’s bank machines setup at different venues and sites.

Another option for event organizers is to form partnerships with local businesses to offer attendees discounts at restaurants, bars, entertainment and tourism venues around the city. Many conference goers will extend their trip by a day or two to take in the sights of the city, and there are numerous tourism opportunities and deals you can extend to your attendees.

Use a chatbot

One of the coolest ways we’ve seen an event app highlight their city is SXSW and their bot Abby within their SXSW Go app. Abby not only helped attendees find relevant events and networking opportunities, but the Bot provided attendees with a fun, engaging way to explore dining options around them. Send Abby a taco emoji, and the bot would return you the location of nearby food trucks. (Eventbase won “Best Event App” at this year’s Event Technology Awards for building the SXSW Bot!)

Chatbots are getting smarter with every year, and soon they’ll be able to act as a personal concierge for all attendee event planning. Planning to attend an outdoor session in Vegas? Chatbots can remind you to pack some sunscreen and a pair of shades. Raining in Austin? Your chatbot might be able  to call you a taxi to your next session. SXSW’s Abby has gone back to school and is working to learn how to further improve SXSW attendees’ ability to explore and keep Austin weird.

Engage people with gamification

Gamification can work differently to engage your event attendees depending on your end goal. We’ve seen events create scavenger hunts within their app where attendees visit sponsor booths or city locations to collect stamps and be entered into prize draws. Ultimately the purpose of gamification should be to enhance your attendees’ experience, but the ability to drive attendee traffic to desired locations and the added benefits of improved event data are undeniable. With gamification you’ll be able to improve your understanding of your guests and boost your ROI on sponsorship opportunities.

Encourage your attendees to share

Attendees look to each other for inspiration on what to do next. In addition to encouraging the use of your event hashtag on social media channels, your event app should have its own channel for posting photos and comments so attendees can share their experiences exploring your event city.   

Customize their experience

As event apps’ artificial intelligence grows stronger, customizing attendee experiences will become easier and more seamless. Event planners will have the ability to customize attendee profiles to highlight new VIP experiences, similar to the Cannes Lions Beach Rosé Time app which gave VIP attendees notifications of when rosé was being served nearby. This app, developed by Eventbase partners Intergalactic and Urban Airship, showed how the future of beacons can help customize VIP experiences. Tap the app on a watch or phone and staff would use beacons to bring a chilled glass right to you—free. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) event app customized their attendee experience with a guided audio tour of the event, giving attendees an overview of the layout and helping them maximize their time.

The future of event apps will see improved artificial intelligence, the introduction of augmented reality and a seamless integration of technology and real-world experiences. Partnering with an enterprise event app can offer your guests a wholly immersive experience extending far beyond your event’s walls and help your event attendees experience the best of the event city.