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MeetingTechOnline Buyers Guide to Mobile Apps
Directories | Telecommunications 2010-12-02 13:04:49
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    MeetingTechOnline Buyers Guide to Mobile Apps: Professional Event Organizer and Corporate Event Planner Edition

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    MeetingTechOnline MeetingTechOnline Buyers Guides are a series of technology-focused education resources for the identification, selection and implementation of innovative tools. For tradeshows, conferences and events. Next Editions: Registration Virtual Events Lead Retrieval Social Media Visit www.meetingtechonline.com to see the digital directory for meeting technology. For more information on Buyers Guide to Mobile Apps sponsorship, please contact Chris Anderson at: canderson@tsnn.com If you are interested in being included as a provider in the next version of this buyers guide, contact Sara Roberts at: sroberts@tsnn.com

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    MeetingTechOnline Buyers Guide to Mobile Apps

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    Table of Contents 1 Introduction 2 Why mobile? 3 Developing a mobile app strategy 6 7 9 Pricing models 10 Revenue opportunities 12 Time frame 12 Best practices 16 Choosing a provider 18 22 Case Studies 28 About the author 29 Acknowledgements 30 Provider Directory Table of Contents Mobile possibilities-what can you do with a mobile solution? Native apps or mobile Web sites-pros and cons What to include in a Request For Proposal (RFP)

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    Introduction Although Smartphones emerged several years ago, the art and science of application development and distribution is relatively new. In the meetings, conference and exhibition industry, the past 18 months have been both evolutionary and revolutionary. The use of mobile applications and devices has mushroomed into a lucrative industry, and a rush of application developers has aroused the interests of professional event organizers and corporate event planners looking to enhance the attendee experience, improve access to information and capitalize on social networks. This Buyers Guide to Mobile Apps is a roadmap for individuals tasked with the job of purchasing third-party mobile applications for their events. It provides guidance for navigating the decision-making process, from developing a mobile app strategy to choosing a solution and a provider. It describes the array of functionality options available to event producers and helps them to align the various solutions with their organizations' internal marketing and operational objectives. The focus of the guide is on Web-based and native solutions that can be deployed on any number of mobile devices. Although there are fine distinctions between the terms application and solution, they are used interchangeably in this guide. Similarly, to assume that the range of options for mobile solutions is limited to Smartphone platforms, such as the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and others or mobile devices, such as the iPad or iPod Touch is limiting as there are other proprietary devices that also meet the criteria of mobile solutions for faceto-face events. Finally, this guide exclusively examines the decision-making process for purchasing existing third-party customizable applications. It does not cover the development of customized apps built to the specifications of an event or organization. MeetingTechOnline Buyers Guide to Mobile Apps Page 1

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    Why mobile Currently, 85% of the U.S. population uses a cell phone of which 21% are Smartphones. These numbers are increasing rapidly as cell phone contracts come up for renewal and standard phones are being replaced with Smartphones. According to research from Morgan Stanley, the number of mobile Internet users will exceed the number of desktop Internet users by the year 2015. Recent data from the Pew Research Center reveals that Smartphones are becoming increasingly popular among American consumers. 34 percent use their Smartphones to receive or send emails, while 38 percent use them to access the Internet. In an event setting, mobile solutions allow organizers to extend the reach of existing mediums of communication and information, (such as the event website or exhibitor micro sites), as well as take advantage of new methods for interaction and engagement (wireless information exchange, Bump technology, scanning of QR codes, for example). Plus, event marketers can use face-to-face experiences to drive downloads, boost engagement and leverage the service-based nature of apps to keep their brands top of mind with customers year round. When an event organizer is interested in a mobile app, here's what they are seeking: * Real-time interaction between users * Real-time user access to event information * Real-time user access to social networks * Real-time dissemination of information to users Introduction * Organized presentation of event information for users * Efficient collection of information from users * Efficient collection of information by users * Improved decision-making for users Page 2

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    continued from page 2... * Revenue streams * Brand extension for the event * Enhanced visibility and brand extension for exhibitors and sponsors * Enhanced matchmaking opportunities between exhibitors and attendees * Environmental benefits * Enhanced navigation of event for users (floor plans, schedules, agendas) * Community development and maintenance * Enhanced attendee experience * Reductions in operational costs MeetingTechOnline Buyers Guide to Mobile Apps * New advertising and messaging platforms * Access to new customers (social networks, viral communications) * Enhanced reputation and influence for the organization * Competitiveness with other events * Access to changing demographic of mobile device users * Extension of existing event assets and platforms * Simplicity, usability, clean user interface * Event analytics Developing a mobile app strategy * Integration of mobile, online, and face-to-face experience Developing a strategy for selecting a mobile solution can help buyers evaluate various options. The more event planners examine their needs and internal capabilities, the better the outcome. Here are some critical questions event planners should ask before approaching a mobile app developer. 1. What is driving the use of a mobile app? Make a list and prioritize the organization's specific pains. 2. Is mobile a good fit? Determine whether mobile solutions are the optimum way to address specific pains. Other options may be more suitable in some cases. Page 3

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    Developing a mobile app strategy Page 4

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    3. What is the usability profile of the users? Decide whether a native app or mobile Web site best meets the platform capabilities and Internet accessibility limitations of the users. 4. How will the app be marketed to users? Determine which existing and new communication tools will be used to launch the app, train users and drive user adoption. 5. How can the app be leveraged after the event? Consider ways to use the app to extend the brand, engage customers year round and onboard community or association members. 6. How does mobile fit within the organization's strategy? Decide whether the mobile strategy meets the organization's goals and objectives for communication, IT, engagement, data collection, customer service and finance. 7. What are the metrics for gauging the app's success? Determine in advance how the app will be measured in terms of meeting event and organizational objectives. 8. Who will own the mobile app strategy? Decide who in the organization will be charged with choosing, deploying, monitoring, addressing inquiries, etc. for the mobile app. 9. Which tasks and procedures should be moved to mobile? Examine existing marketing procedures, operations tasks and budget line items to determine which can be migrated to a mobile platform from an efficiency or cost-savings perspective. 10. What is the budget for a mobile app? Determine what the organization can afford to spend on a mobile solution and whether some or all the costs have to be recouped by revenue streams from the app. 11. What is the time frame for selection and deployment of a mobile app? Decide whether the event schedule permits the introduction and deployment of a mobile app. 12. What are the usage and hardware demographics of the potential users? Poll users to ascertain what types of applications they currently use and what smart devices they prefer. MeetingTechOnline Buyers Guide to Mobile Apps Page 5

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