Blog

What!? The only way to access my event is using an iOS or Android Smartphone App?

It happens all the time. You register for an event and, as the event approaches, you are eager to get prepared and ready to go. However, inevitably, the only way for you to really prepare in advance is to use the event’s smartphone native application, but the app isn’t made available until just a week before the event goes live. What is up with that? What if I don’t own an Android or iOS device? What if I don’t want to install another app on my mobile device? Why can’t I just logon to the event’s website and start preparation weeks ahead of time?

Event and show apps are definitely a very important part of any event. They allow you to get information out quickly, save on paper waste, highlight sponsors, speakers and exhibitors, and so much more. In fact, in many ways apps are redefining how event professionals promote, setup and put on their conferences and exhibitions. New technologies such as Virtual Reality and Gamification are adding a whole new dimension to how attendees interact with each other and how they participate in exhibitions and sessions. However, as apps chase the newest trends and try to jump on the latest technology bandwagons, are they possibly forgetting about what really makes events tick? Events are about bringing people together. They are about learning, networking, reaching new customers, announcing new products, meeting with current customers, etc… Although apps help improve the overall conference experience, they are there, not to supplant the user’s experience, but to enhance it. At the end of the day, the event is about people, not about technology. The technology should be there as a tool, a ubiquitous tool that should neither be daunting or difficult to use. It should be available to every customer regardless of platform, device or technology. A customer should never be denied access to the critical information that she registered for just because she doesn’t have an iOS or Android smartphone or just because she doesn’t want to install yet another app on her device.

So, why are so many events increasingly offering a limited option to gain access to event information that you paid a lot of money for? It is simply because, while the smartphone has morphed into almost a super computer in terms of features, functionality, speed and processing power, the web platforms have not been able to keep up the same pace. Websites have lagged way behind their smartphone counterparts in capturing the attention of mobile users. In 2016, 90% of smartphone users access Internet sites through an app. Almost 80% of Internet users in the USA own a smartphone. That number is even higher in Asia. However, based on overall Internet access, the desktop/PC still rules with 91% of users using that platform vs. 80% for smartphones. Certainly, we expect that, eventually, smartphone Internet access will surpass desktop/PC access in the near future, but that is still in the “near future”. People in the U.S. continue to use the desktop more than any other device when browsing and accessing the Internet. So why don’t some events provide access to event information and critical features from a desktop or mobile web browser is a mystery to me.

Like a good democracy, having access to event information should be the right and privilege of every attendee. Access should be provided on every platform including desktop, mobile web, android and iOS devices. If you still own a blackberry, as do many government employees for security reasons, that’s OK! You can access the mobile website. You prefer a flip phone to a smartphone? No problem! Just get onto your PC or Mac and access the event’s website. Do you own the latest smartphone, but want to prepare ahead of time before the app is published? We have your back! Just logon to the event’s website using your desktop or with your mobile device’s web browser.

Making sure access to your event information is device agnostic will not only drive increased engagement, but it will also level the playing field for all of your attendees increasing the overall satisfaction of your conference, congress, trade show or exhibition. In the end, it is all but your users. The more users you can bring into the fold, the higher the chance they will consider attending your event again the following year.

The Velocevent Event App is available on all platforms including desktop web, mobile web, native Android and iOS. all as part of our base offering. When a user logs on with the same Logon ID, the user’s personal data is automatically synchronized to every platform. Therefore, a user logging in using a desktop browser in the beginning, and then later installing the app, can be assured the user’s data will follow him from platform to platform.