The smartphone has changed the way we function as human beings. Sarah O’Donnell finds out what its affect has had on exhibitions and makes a few recommendations.
Apps are mobile applications that can be downloaded and run on smartphones such as the iPhone, BlackBerry or Google Android. Some sources estimate there are over 300,000 apps available on the iTunes directory alone. And this does not take into account apps created for other devices.
Smartphones sales jumped nearly 50 per cent in the first quarter of 2010, equating to around 53m phones.
The following apps can either be found at the iTunes store or BlackBerry and Android alternatives, or can be custom-made for events. Those listed below are free or under £10.
Follow Me: If you are heading to one of the various tradeshows around the globe, either as an exhibitor or visitor, you might want to check out this app. Designed specifically for the tradeshow industry, it features real-time show alerts and interactive floor maps. A user can schedule tradeshow information while travelling to the show or download it to the phone for later reference. Exhibitor information can also be downloaded to prevent a user from having to carry marketing materials and brochures around the show.
Showguide: lets users go paperless, allowing a conference or tradeshow organiser to increase its ‘green’ credentials. This app allows an organiser to upload venue maps, course work, session papers and exhibitor pamphlets, which can be downloaded.
Business Card Reader: allows users to take a photo of a new business card handed to you on the spot to store digitally. The text recognition software built into the app will import your contact’s details into your address book. A built-in browser allows users to import LinkedIn profile details as well.
Ustream Live Broadcaster: This live interactive broadcasting platform can be used to run live demonstrations and press announcements via the app, which can then be watched by those onsite and offsite. It allows you to share the presentations on Twitter and Facebook social networks as well.
Digital Collateral (DC) Scanner: allows visitors to collect information about a certain exhibitor by scanning a barcode at a tradeshow. One scanned, all product information such as brochures are sent in digital form to the user’s phone to be read later.
Bump: allows a user to exchange contact information with a literal ‘knuckle bump’. When both user’s apps are open and contact has been made contact information is automatically exchanged on each other’s iPhone.
iLead: claims to be the world’s first lead retrieval app. It enables exhibitors to collect tradeshow leads and includes features such as notes, surveys and qualifiers exhibitors.
Square: For those that take payments at tradeshows, Square is a free payment system app that sends a geo-tagged receipt to the customer in real-time after the transaction is complete. It accepts all major credit cards on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with no contract, monthly fees or merchant account required. Once you sign up, the user receives a free Square credit card reader in the mail and it meets all industry-standard security practices to ensure safety for the user and customer.
Tired of losing receipts, forgetting what they were for and holding them in your wallet until your return after a tradeshow? These two apps that could solve this dilemma:
Gorilla Expense: is a combination of the online Gorilla Expense system and a mobile application. When you pay for an expensable item while travelling, take a photo of the receipt, edit a few details about the expense and it will be added to your account for later when you are in the office or on a computer. The service can also be customised to automate the reporting process, restrict expenses that infringe the company’s policy and handle foreign currencies. It costs US$10-50 per person, depending on how many employees from the same company buy the software.
Expensify: is an Android app which allows users to import receipts directly from their credit card, converting it into a sendable PDF report. A business traveller can also log mileage, upload photos of receipts like Gorilla Expense and add cash expenses while on-the-go. It allows a user to link a card or bank account so they can track spending.
EventGenie: is a customised app for organisers, which provides a secure programme for messaging and a personalised agenda by highlighting certain sessions for delegates. From an organiser’s perspective, it also allows visitor behaviour analysis enabling them to maximise event revenue. The My Event tool allows delegates to record notes, voice memos, photos and videos as well as download exhibitor brochures and speaker slides. Tickets or passes for events can be issued electronically through this app which also offers delegates the option to scan in business cards. It also has multi-lingual support.
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