SXSW 2018 sessions event marketers won’t want to miss

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SXSW is less than a month away, and if you’re anything like our team, you’re already planning your session schedule. It’s our 8th year of powering the SXSW Go mobile app, and we’re excited to hit Austin once again.

The massive event hosts over 6,000 sessions in 24 different programming tracks, plus thousands of events, parties and live performances, making organizing your perfect schedule a bit overwhelming. The SXSW Go app allows you to build your ideal lineup directly on your mobile device or online at schedule.sxsw.com. Thanks to SXSW Recommends, the AI-powered recommendation engine inside the official app, you’ll also receive personalized suggestions for sessions, content, music and films.

Here are some of the events we’re excited to attend, from event tech networking sessions to keynotes on the future of work.

Friday, March 9th, 2018

Against the Odds: Charting Your Path as a Woman
12:30 – 1:30 PM
Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon H

The treatment of women in Hollywood has been on a lot of people’s minds lately, but the entertainment industry doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Women are still a minority in Silicon Valley and the tech industry. This session seeks to educate women on how they can identify their own strengths and let their sense of purpose lead their career path.

Saturday, March 10th, 2018

Eventbase Summit
1 – 4 PM
The W Hotel

We’re excited to be hosting our 4th annual Eventbase Summit. This event brings together event marketers, organizers and technologists for an afternoon of learning and discovery. Apply to join global brands including SXSW, Cisco and IBM to dive into the latest trends in event technology.

Event Technology Mixer
4 – 5 PM
The W Hotel

Following Eventbase Summit, we’re hosting a networking hour for event technology leaders. Sign up to mingle with other event technology leaders.

Sunday, March 11th, 2018

Women in Events Management Meet Up
12:30 – 1:30 PM
JW Marriott, Room 213

Women are pushing innovation and creativity at events. Join this afternoon meet up to network, learn and share with other women in the events management world.

Event Tech Meet Up
2 – 3 PM
JW Marriott, Room 209

Event technology has changed the face of event planning and altered the way attendees experience events. Join Eventbase CEO Jeff Sinclair and other industry leaders to discuss the technology they use to shape the future of events.

Interactive Keynote: Melinda Gates
2 – 3 PM
Austin Convention CenterBallroom D

Technology has rapidly transformed the way we do business, so why has the North American workplace been so slow to evolve? Melinda Gates hosts a panel of innovators for a conversation about how new technology and business models are redefining the workplace.

2018 Emerging Tech Trends Report
3:30 – 4:30 PM
Hilton Austin DowntownSalon H

We no longer live in a world where “tech trends” exclusively affect tech brands and IT departments. Prepare your business for what comes next with futurist and NYU professor Amy Webb as she releases her 11th annual Tech Trends Report with a data-driven analysis of how these trends affect the future of business and society.

Business on the Blockchain
3:30 – 4:30 PM
Austin Convention CenterBallroom EFG

Cryptocurrencies, distributed applications, and blockchain technology are buzzwords in the technology spheres, but they sometimes seem to be evolving in separate silos. Learn what business might look like in a blockchain-enabled future, and how the choices we make today are shaping the future of e-commerce.

Monday, March 12th, 2018

Chatbot Meet Up
3:30 – 4:30 PM
JW Marriott, Room 209

For anyone who’s a fan of Abby, the SXSW chatbot and wants to learn more,  this meet up is for you. Discover the world of chat bots and what’s on the horizon.

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

Will AI Change the Future of Creativity?
12:30 – 1:30 PM
Fairmont, Manchester EFG

AI and machine learning are changing the way we do business and beginning to shape how we create art, film, music and photography. Machines are helping us be more creative, but can they learn to be creative themselves? AI leaders IBM participate in this discussion around the future of creativity.

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Social Maps and the Future of Location-Based
11 AM – 12 PM
Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon A

Social mapping platforms are already changing the way brands are able to connect and engage with local users. How will mainstream adoption of location-based technology change the way attendees experience events?

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.

It's time to rethink your event app strategy

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We've written a lot about the changes Apple made to its App Store Guidelines in mid-2017, and recently they made further changes that reinforce the importance of adopting an Enterprise Event App strategy. 

There are two key event app takeaways you need to be aware of in 2018: 

  1. App(s) will need to be posted under your own App Store account, and Eventbase can do that for you.
  2. You will still need to consolidate your event apps.

Let's take a deeper look at what this means for your organization.

1. Apple's App Store Guideline 4.2.6 now requires that you post apps under your own App Store account. While posting your event app under your vendor's App Store account may have been easier for your team in the past, this will no longer be possible after April 1, 2018. At Eventbase, we're working with Apple and our customers to make this transition where necessary, but we anticipate the real challenge will be for enterprises who have chosen a low-cost event app to date.

Will your corporate IT team allow your current event app vendor to post an event app under your account? With Eventbase, you know you are getting the most trusted, scalable and secure app on the market and we have posted apps on behalf of many of the world's biggest brands including IBM, Cisco and SXSW. But a low-cost vendor may not be able to meet your enterprise IT requirements, pass your information security review, complete adequate penetration testing, or ensure an acceptable hosting environment. Now is a great time for you to consider upgrading to Eventbase. Ready to chat? Click here for more information

2. Importantly, Apple did NOT change Section 4.3 of its App Store Guidelines, which requires that you consolidate your event apps. “Don’t create multiple Bundle IDs of the same app. If your app has different versions for specific locations, sports teams, universities, etc., consider submitting a single app”. Also, Apple is no longer grandfathering existing event apps after April, so this may force you to accelerate your event app consolidation strategy. The Eventbase team is here to help you through this transition.

If you have any questions, send me an email or contact our team to setup a call. 

Jeff Sinclair
Co-Founder & CEO
Eventbase

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.

The end of cookie-cutter event apps (or why you need a premium ‘branded’ event app)

 Eventbase - The Intelligent Event App

January 2018 update: Apple is continually revising their App Store Review Guidelines, for the latest post read It's time to rethink your event app strategy.

July 26, 2017 - What an interesting few days we’ve had here. In case you haven’t heard, several of our competitors are making their case for the consolidation of their customer’s events into a “universal app” with their branding in the app store.

They would like you to believe that Apple now requires that event organizers use a vendor-branded app, which would include events from a multitude of other companies. While that would undoubtedly help competitors whose business model depends on a one-size-fits-all mobile platform (i.e. a cookie-cutter app), it would hardly be good news for those event organizers who want to deliver a branded, differentiated experience to their attendees (i.e. a premium branded app). 
 
Fortunately, Apple has not made any such announcement. When we spoke to Apple for clarification, a senior executive at their Worldwide Developer Relations Team was quick to dismiss the self-serving announcements from our competitors as "pontificating b.s.". He confirmed to us that Apple did recently announce updates to its App Store Review Guidelines to include a new clause within section 4.2 “Minimum Functionality” which states “Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected.”  He said that this had always been part of Apple’s internal guidelines and was designed to address the situation where "someone produces 10,000 slot machine apps that are identical except for changing what pictures appear on the wheel.” Needless to say, it is a huge jump from announcing a guideline designed to eliminate cookie-cutter apps, to concluding that Apple is "forcing" event organizers into a vendor-branded "universal app."
 
We believe this new guideline places our competitors in a tough spot. If their apps are currently being rejected, or going to be rejected, because they are cookie-cutter, then the “universal app” is their only option. Based on comments from some of our customers, we believe this stance truly indicates how disconnected these vendors are from the needs of premium brands.
 
To give you an example of what they are supporting, they believe that a company like Nike will agree to post their events in a vendor-branded event app, that would show up on the App Store without a Nike logo and after opening their generic event app the Nike events would be listed beside events from hundreds of other companies including, potentially, competitors like Adidas and Reebok. Maybe one of these competitors paid that vendor to promote its events over Nike’s, so their events show up first. Event App Vendors who do this will profit from advertising and could use your attendee data and usage statistics to market competitor’s products and services. 

Is this something your organization would agree to? Not a chance.  
 
We want to assure you that we know how valuable your brand is and and how much you value an exceptional and branded attendee experience. At Eventbase we have always been committed to providing feature rich, highly engaging, and innovative fully-branded apps for your events. Some call these white-labeled, we prefer premium-labeled or brand-immersed event apps. As an example, we produce a single branded IBM Events App that contains many large and small IBM events and enables marketing at IBM to promote a single app that they know is in brand, scalable and secure. This is the strategy we feel best meets our customer’s needs. Eventbase is unique in that we can support  your top tier events AND your smallest events within a single branded app, ultimately bringing in the power of centralized analytics and journeys. This is our direction and we will continue to support this approach to deliver memorable mobile experiences that elevate your brand. 

You will be relieved to hear that we have already received confirmation from Apple that they will continue to support our approach provided we continue to deliver unique and high-end mobile apps . That is our specialty, and why you rely on Eventbase. 

So what action items do you have? Well nothing at the moment. Continue to produce world class events and we will continue to innovate and earn your business. My ask to you is, if you hear of this from competitors or have internal conversations, let us know, ask us any questions, and feel free to email me and let’s open the dialogue.  But be aware that although others in the market may start to back pedal, they’ve shown where they want to go. Their vision reduces their cost, but at the cost of your brand. It is a vision that falls well short of the needs of enterprises and misses the mark for large events and premium brands.

Sincerely, 

Jeff Sinclair
Co-founder & CEO
Eventbase

5 up-and-coming artists to watch at SXSW

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March 1, 2017 - Every March, hundreds of artists from all over the world come to SXSW, hoping to capture the attention of the thousands of music industry professionals and fans in attendance.  While well-known acts like Weezer, Spoon and Wu-Tang Clan will draw massive crowds, the real magic of SXSW happens when an attendee stumbles across a sparsely-attended show where an indie artist is putting on an unforgettable performance. While your friends are waiting in line to catch a glimpse of a superstar, you could be one of the first to discover the next big thing. Here are some emerging artists poised to make a splash at this year’s festival.

Let’s Eat Grandma

This teenage duo from Norwich, England makes pop songs that are simultaneously playful and brooding.  Described as “wise beyond their years” their performance is sure to captivate audiences looking to catch the beginning of a promising musical phenomenon.

Tunde Olaniran

Hailing from Flint, Michigan, Tunde Olaniran is a multitalented performer whose ability to incorporate live electronics with prodigious singing and rapping abilities will have audiences dancing uncontrollably until long after the show is over, when they’ll be left wondering what the heck they just experienced.

Zipper Club

Recalling Joy Division, Iggy Pop, and 80s David Bowie, Zipper Club will have you dancing even if you think you’re too cool. James Iha produced their upcoming debut album, and we have a feeling they won’t be under the radar for long.

Belle Game

Hailing from Vancouver, BC, Belle Game are masters of songs that burn slowly before blowing out into life-affirming celebrations. They have been refining their craft for a few years, earning praise from Pitchfork and Rolling Stone, and are poised for a big year.

LVL UP

Guitarists Mike Caridi and Dave Benton, bassist Nick Corbo, and drummer Greg Rutkin take the tried-and-true rock four-piece format and give it new life with their truly collaborative approach. Corbo, Caridi, and Benton each take turns on lead vocals and their distinct styles blend superbly for a sound that is both comfortingly familiar and engagingly fresh.

These are just a few of the artists performing at SXSW this year, among the hundreds of other amazing performers you’ll discover.  For more recommendations, download the official SXSW GO mobile app to browse the complete festival schedule and plan your festival experience. If you’re feeling overwhelmed ask Abby, the SXSW Bot, to suggest artist showcases, sessions, films and more.

 

Guest post by: Justin Penney