One of the hottest topics in the events industry today (other than social networking) is the use of mobile applications for conferences and events. This post is the first in a series that will describe how to use an Event Communications Center (ECC) to drive mobile applications for conferences and events.
Until now we have discussed the concept of an ECC in terms of sharing information between event planners and 3rd party organizations such as venues, hotels, vendors, sponsors etc. We haven’t discussed how an ECC can drive information to other sites for the conference or event. There are 2 main systems to consider: the Event Portal and the Attendee Portal.
An Event Portal is the oldest and most familiar website for both planners and attendees. Its purpose is to provide potential event attendees with information prior to the event, and link them to event registration, hotel reservations, and other pre-event services such as printing visa letters.
More recently, as mobile devices have gained acceptance the Attendee Portal has become increasingly important. Its main purpose is providing the attendee with information and services to make the most of their participation in the event. This includes conference schedule and updates, local information, access to event presentations and documents, safety and security information, as well as a host of social networking capabilities.
While the Attendee Portal should support both traditional web browser access as well as mobile device access, the area of most concern today is support for mobile devices. There are 2 different approaches for Attendee Portal support in mobile devices.
- Native mobile application designed to run on specific types of mobile devices, such as iPhone and Android.
- Mobile browser-based applications designed to run across mobile devices.
While native applications are generally viewed as having a better user experience in the devices for which they are designed, they are often more expensive and don’t work on all mobile devices. With the introduction of HTML5 mobile browser technology is improving rapidly and the differences between browser based systems are becoming less and less.
In the subsequent posts in this series we will demonstrate how to build a browser-based mobile Attendee Portal, and how to use documents stored in the Event Communications Center to automatically push information out to the Attendee Portal. Stay tuned!