Technology in the event space is booming and everything in its path is either getting picked up and transformed into a digital application or becoming a figment of the past. Mobile apps are no exception. The days of people scrambling to find a ‘lost’ show catalogue or finding someone who actually knows what is going on at the event are numbered. Now visitors can get most event information on their mobile devices, (granted they are using a smartphone or tablet, have Wi-Fi, and have downloaded it).
But this is not enough. Event professionals want engaging and lively events, and it is challenging for every event to obtain a satisfactory level of adoption for its mobile app: Speaking honestly, anyone will have to admit to you that rarely does a majority of the event attendees download and use the event app for more than just a few seconds or minutes at most. It’s true that apps can make life easier, and in the right environment, can provide immense value to events, so why wouldn’t everyone want to use their smartphone during the event?
Here is the thing: If the objective of an attendee at your event is to expand her professional circle, and gain knowledge by attending learning sessions, is spending her time staring at a mobile screen the best way to achieve this? Certainly not. Because using your mobile phone inherently limit facetime at the event.
Events are social, and event professionals should aim for technology that encourages natural socializing behavior. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no hater of technology or of Event Apps. An App can be extremely convenient to quickly access useful resources needed to get around, and it can play a role in providing a means for participants to find content (browse the agenda, get notifications, see what’s hot). But in deploying a successful event, it is still fundamental for participants to look at each other in the eyes, look around, make spontaneous encounters, interact, and discover things by just happening upon them because they’re having a good time and having great conversations. A real life, active experience is more beneficial than a virtual one. And this is a truth that mobile apps cannot escape from.
Event apps will continue to play a role in the way people are informed and communicate at events, and this is a very exciting thing, but when planning your event, consider apps not to be the entire strategy, but one component in a strategy of engagement that focuses primarily on getting people to not become anti-social-phone-zombies. Store that phone, look up, smile, and make real friends by being wholly present, enjoying the moments that you cannot replace with a virtual experience. What can help achieve that? Poken.
Poken’s 360° platform consists of technologies that unite both the physical and digital event spaces. Real world interactions are not stifled, but enhanced by digital tools such as the Poken interactive USB devices, which allow participants to swap contact details, play games, check into meetings and to collect information. Mobile apps give participants further event information, as well as provide access to the Poken portal. The end result- a complete and driven engagement experience that organizers can adapt to augment the natural behavior of the event.