On the past year planners and attendees began looking for more features. Instead of just containing what you could see, software was created so you could easily search on it. For example as an end user, if you had 100 different sessions you could easily search and find using global key word search and filters.
The next shift came as planners adjusted to the new features, they now had programs in which they could attach PowerPoint® presentations, create schedules and communicate with more detail to attendees. With this shift came new concerns, groups realized that they didn’t want John Smith or another competitor downloading their apps. How do you deal with this issue? You can do password protection, but the most current and popular practice is to move to the private distribution of the app. This means you don’t put the app on the market, but rather give your users a file extension. From a meeting planning company standpoint you need to have a certain amount of things in place if you want to keep your app off Apple. You need to have an iOS Enterprise Deployment License and for Windows based apps you need a developer license in order to keep it private.
As the planners and attendees needs grow, how do you keep up?
Companies are asking, “Now they have this really cool mobile conference application, how can we use this year round?” Tim La Fleur, CMP Manager, Innovative Mobility Solutions, M&I, a Meeting, Incentive and Association Management Company, is focusing his efforts on providing new solutions for transforming these conference apps into programs to replace the old intranet and VPN paradigm.
“These old models can be hard to use and clunky sometimes so if we can put things that used to go here, and make it a communication tool that is an app for mobile devices the end user will experience a better experience. Not to mention, everyone wants to go mobile because today’s workforce consists of people on the go. This is a great way for companies and organizations to leverage their brand and message internally and/or externally. Clients can download apps and the company can easily and quickly keep them updated (applies internally as well). Mobility is taking over and will continue to as mobile devices have changed from just being phone and way to check email, to now mini computing devices.”
To remain on the cutting edge, meeting planning companies need to stay ahead of the trend and offer their own solutions for clients. La Fleur notes,
“We’re seeing a pretty equal demand for setting up for internal and external apps. In response to this we’re working (M&I) on an external app that we’ll soon be giving to clients to use as a communication tool and will be able to tweak it to be whatever they want.”
The Big Question - What are the cost factors?
What kind of software are you using and do you need a third party to create the design or do you just need a software company to do the coding?
Determine how many platforms are needed. Do you need to cover Apple, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7 and in addition to the coming soon Windows 8 because those two Windows Platforms will be treated separately. Most companies will cost it out per platform, so organizations will want to take internal stock on what assets and things are in their environment and then choose what will work best across the board.
With the increased use and advanced skills of mobile users, the apps of the future will be forced to increase their flexibility and versatility. To keep up on this trend check out La Fleur’s Almost Daily Mobility Newsletter: www.scoop.it/t/tjlafleur-mobility.