Predictions for the Mobile Event App Industry in Plus more than 25 predictions from 8 of the industry s leading thinkers

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1 Predictions for the Mobile Event App Industry in 2015 Plus more than 25 predictions from 8 of the industry s leading thinkers

2 FOREWORD Embrace the change The meetings and events industry is no stranger to the winds of change. Certain forces air travel costs, site labor rates, the global economy, national security, and ebola outbreaks are well beyond the control of meeting and event professionals. Others, like new technology, are to some degree optional, yet they generate increasing pressure on event design and budget. Consider new services such as Uber and Airbnb as two forces of disruption in the hospitality sector that can and are changing how our business operates. These services couldn t have existed five years ago. Now they re an undeniable part of the hospitality landscape. The natural human and organizational approach to change is to embrace it incrementally, if not resist it entirely. Too much change in an organization and you run the risk of alienating your core constituents. Too little change, and you get branded with the phrase legacy clearly not a compliment. So how do we walk this disruption tightrope successfully? How do we embrace change without alienating our core customers? The answer lies within the new technology itself. To a large extent, all it really does is push us to get a better understanding of our customers needs. In this era of personalized commerce and information, the more you know about your attendees and guests, the better you can select the tools to help them succeed. And if they succeed, so do you. Bringing on new technologies requires vision, but it also requires a grounded approach in order to fit the new in with the old. The first step is to re-evaluate what you think you know about your attendees. Go ahead ask them. And not just your best customers. Dig deep and listen closely to what you may not want to hear. It s the only way to get a true sense of what you need to do next. Once armed with this knowledge, you can embark on the search for the right technology solutions. Here too you will need a game plan to navigate the wealth of information available, which can easily overwhelm if you re not prepared. 2

3 Social media is a great place to start, but it s easy to get lost in the sea of posts, shares and comments. Everybody has a megaphone, so you need to have a good noise-cancelling tool at your disposal. Are you ready to embark on your pursuit for innovation and disruption? Here are some suggestions to help you prepare for what lies ahead. Join at least one meetings and events online community - leap out of your inbox and into the social space Engage continually - but remember that listening is often more important than speaking Create a digital parking lot - that app or tool that will be your storehouse of information you need to review, but can t do right away (I use Evernote & Pocket) Develop your trusted resources - and be aware of the noise Stay up to date on the trends - but don t blindly follow them Time management is key - any amount of time can be productive, as long as you stay focused Introduce 1 or 2 new tech tools a year - don t overcrowd the water A slow and steady approach to change will help you push through resistance and win the support of both your team and your attendees and participants. The net result will be a better understanding of what tech tools and other opportunities matter most to you and your audience, and which ones will have a lasting positive impact on your events. James Spellos, CMP President, Meeting U 3

4 Content Introduction Prediction 01 Large enterprises will accelerate their redesign around mobile Prediction 02 The enterprise meetings ecosystem will begin to go mobile Prediction 03 Mobile apps get even more personal Prediction 04 Evolving mobile analytics will validate face-to-face meetings of every size Prediction 05 Mobile makes the year-round community a reality Prediction 06 Audience response systems get serious Prediction 07 Emerging technologies like LBS and wearable computers will grow, but slowly Predictions from around the M&E Industry Conclusion 4

5 Introduction By all accounts, 2014 will be considered yet another growth year for mobile event apps. As the technology landscape continues to shift, with new ideas and new vendors entering the market almost daily, there are no signs that 2015 will see a slowdown, although it is a challenge to determine precisely how it will unfold. Being the optimistic and fearless thinkers that we are at QuickMobile, we re excited to put our name to yet another set of predictions for mobile event technology in the coming year. For 2015, we considered two distinct industry segments. The first is the traditional events world, comprising the event planners and marketers who manage large trade shows and conferences, and the creative agencies and consultants that support them. The other segment comprises the emerging world of enterprise meetings and events, the smaller meetings side of the market that looms massively below the surface. This latter segment accounts for the vast majority of corporate gatherings that take place throughout a given year, without all the pomp and circumstance of large flagship meetings and events. This is where mobile is set to make substantial inroads, yet for very different reasons than in the former segment. According to recent research, planners in the first segment use mobile apps as a powerful and convenient way to enhance the attendee experience, reduce paper consumption and acquire deeper insight into attendee behavior. Planners in the enterprise segment are also motivated by these factors, but equally and perhaps more so by the fact that mobile is emerging as a vital platform for day-to-day business operations. 5

6 for the enterprise, mobile is an operational imperative, not an add-on This is the leading edge of the Mobile Mind Shift, as Forrester Research calls it where mobile technology is completely redefining how work is done across the entire organization, not just for meetings and events. For the enterprise, mobile is an operational imperative, not an add-on. For this group, mobile apps will because of their success in larger meetings and events and a host of other reasons become standard issue for a vastly larger scope of meetings that take place across the organization. It will be increasingly difficult to tell these two segments apart by this time next year. Whether it s the corporate meeting planner or organizer, or another key stakeholder in Sales, HR, IT, Operations or elsewhere, mobile apps will find their home in the enterprise, rendering meetings more effective and forging the bonds of community like no other technology before. Source: NBC News and The Associated Press Forrester Research, Inc. WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, HERE ARE OUR PREDICTIONS FOR

7 01 UNIFICATION OF TRAVEL AND MEETINGS AND THE GROWING IMPORTANCE OF STRATEGIC MEETINGS MANAGEMENT WILL DRIVE LARGE CORPORATIONS TOWARD A SINGLE, ENTERPRISE- GRADE MOBILE APP PLATFORM 7 PREDICTIONS FOR THE MOBILE EVENT APP INDUSTRY IN

8 Mobile-first strategy combined with persistent demand for operational efficiencies will bring about consolidation in mobile procurement and inspire broader adoption There are many reasons why large organizations will seek better coordination between their previously independent travel and meetings teams, all of which come down to four fundamental drivers: B2B MARKETING BUDGET 1. Organizational restructuring 2. Operational efficiency 3. Spend management 4. Mobile First initiatives NEARLY In a 2012 Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) survey of corporate travel managers, 43% of respondents said they were taking on increasing responsibility for meetings, in addition to managing their company s travel requirements i. Cost control and operational efficiency are standard objectives regardless of industry, company or department. Events are a prime target since, according to Forrester Research and the Business Marketing Association, they make up the largest portion of an average B2B marketer s budget at nearly 20% ii. EVENTS Events Events make up the largest portion of an average B2B marketer s budget 8 i ii GBTA Travel Management Compensation and Benefits Survey, 2012

9 to be truly effective, the newly integrated operating unit will need more uniform processes and technology to carry out day-to-day business For large enterprises, the greatest cost-saving benefits accrue from efforts that apply to multiple departments, teams and workgroups. Under pressure from these forces of change, the meetings and travel functions at large and mid-size organizations will become increasingly enmeshed. To be truly effective, the newly integrated operating unit will not only need new processes to achieve spending discipline, they will also need more uniform technology to carry out day-to-day business. SMMP STRATEGIC MEETINGS MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS Alongside consolidation of Travel and Meetings is the rise of Strategic Meetings Management Programs iii (SMMP). SMMP was coined by the Global Business Travel Association in 2005 to describe the emerging discipline around spend management for large-scale meetings and events. By directing corporate meeting managers to comply with centralized procurement policies, organizations will be increasingly motivated by financial controls to use assets and resources more costeffectively. 9 iii For a simple guide to getting started with SMMP, go to

10 a multi-event platform offers the flexibility and scalability required to support a broad mix of meeting types and locations A multi-event platform that lets organizations achieve economies of scale for their mobile apps fits perfectly with the SMMP model, offering the flexibility and scalability required to support a broad mix of meeting types and locations. Today, mobile apps are used at a wide range of meetings and events, from trade shows and sales kickoffs to incentive trips and annual general meetings. Travel plays a critical role in all of these hence the inevitable consolidation. Driven by administrative efficiency and fiscal prudence, large enterprises will have even more reason to settle on a single, scalable platform that can handle all its meetings and events. In fact, adopting a single, company-wide mobile app platform will soon be required, and as a result, 2015 will be the year that the multievent app platform overtakes single event app deployments. The more mission-critical the technology - the underlying theme for most of our predictions - the greater the expectations are regarding performance, compliance, security, scalability, flexibility and vendor capabilities regarding service and support. Justifying an investment in a single, enterprise-wide mobile app platform will require assurances that the chosen platform and its supplier can deliver on everything from the initial sales process to deployment, content creation, and access control, alongside the standard requirements for long-term maintenance, upgrading and support. 10

11 02 THE ENTERPRISE MEETINGS ECOSYSTEM WILL BEGIN TO GO MOBILE 7 PREDICTIONS FOR THE MOBILE EVENT APP INDUSTRY IN

12 More and more meetings and events of every shape and size will go mobile As a direct result of the outcome of the first prediction, mobile apps will be increasingly common at smaller meetings down to gatherings of 100 people or less who assemble under a common cause for as little as half a day. As stated in a recent report from IBM, there should be no doubt that mobile brings with it immense transformational potential iv. Here are several reasons supporting this prediction: 1. Apps are the new normal. Every corporation is expected to adapt to the New World Order of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), integrated back-office applications with mobile services and 24/7 access, new content formats, responsive web, social engagement, secure infrastructure, paperless sustainable business practices and a new focus on ROI and real-time access to analytics and business intelligence. There are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data generated every day, and mobile devices are generating more and more of that data. Mobile is now ubiquitous and the end-user is increasingly sophisticated, often reliant on their smartphone in all environments and situations. mobile technology is becoming increasingly mission-critical to events and meetings, driven by three unstoppable forces: end-user adoption, utility, and operational transformation 12 iv The Individual Enterprise: How Mobility Redefines Business. IBM Institute for Business Value, July 2014

13 Figure 1. Examples of How Mobility is Impacting How Organizations Conduct Business context-driven interactions augmented reality customer management marketing & sales location-based marketing research & development MOBILITY supply chain borderless workforce talent management finance management mobile tracking instant expensing 2. Mobile is one of the four pillars of SMAC, the new business IT paradigm. SMAC stands for Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud, the four pillars of business innovation today. CapGemini, one of the world s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, states that SMAC will redefine enterprise IT and will remain the driving force of enterprise-level IT for decades to come v. Smartphones, tablets and apps are key components of the SMAC technology stack. Source: The Individual Enterprise: How Mobility Redefines Business. IBM Institute for Business Value, July As a direct result of the first two points, it will soon be easier to run a meeting with an app than without one. This, combined with increasing green initiatives, will make mobile apps more valuable for meetings and events. 13 iv

14 4. Cost < Benefit. Finally, the value of the enhancements that a mobile app lends to these types of events will outweigh the cost and effort of acquisition and setup. All this is to say that mobile technology is becoming increasingly mission-critical to events and meetings, driven by three seemingly unstoppable forces: end-user expectation and adoption, simple utility, and operational transformation. These three forces are proof enough, together offering ample evidence of positive return on investment by which any venture must be judged. According to the best available estimates, mobile event apps are nowhere near mainstream yet. While usage ranges from 60 to 63% for at least one event among meeting planners and marketers rising to as much as 92% in the corporate sector these figures don t provide any indication of potential market size. They do not take into account the rest of the planner s event portfolio, and the millions of other meetings that take place every MEETING TYPES EMPLOYEE ONBOARDING SALES CONFERENCE CORPORATE RETREAT HOLIDAY PARTY AWARDS CEREMONY TRAINING WORKSHOP EDUCATION SEMINAR TEAM BUILDING INCENTIVE TRIP LEADERSHIP OFF-SITE BOARD MEETING ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING COMMITTEE MEETING 14

15 the digital and mobile shifts now underway are ushering in a new era of data-driven measurement and intelligence, helping planners demonstrate their value and impact in ways previously not possible year without a mobile app. This vast market is largely untouched, except by the most innovative and industrious early adopters. However, our experience with clients using our multi-event platform reveals that this vastly untapped segment of the meetings ecosystem is starting to take note of the benefits of mobile technology. For some organizations it is about extending the use of existing technology; for others, it is about embracing the new 24/7 mobile work style, where employees, partners and clients are spending more and more of their time. Whatever the motivation, more and more organizations are beginning to look at how mobile can be used for smaller meetings, not just the high-profile ones. Smaller meetings tend to be more spontaneous and more focused, and need fewer large-scale resources to run. They are necessary, permanent fixtures in corporations of every size. A recent report from American Express Meetings and Events reveals that the larger flagship events, marked for obsolescence by many who thought the digital age would render them irrelevant, will thrive, much less fade away. While reasons for their continued relevance might be different, the fact remains that meetings and events are here to stay. Rather than render them obsolete, the digital and mobile shifts now underway are ushering in a new era of datadriven measurement and intelligence, helping planners prove the value of face-to-face events. The contribution of gatherings of every shape and size can now be measured and reported on in ways not previously possible. That alone could secure the future of mobile apps for events and meetings. In 2015, the full scale and scope of corporate meetings and events will be revealed, although the mobile potential will take longer to fully materialize. As this prediction and the one that precedes it become a reality, organizations will require a truly enterprise-grade platform in order to handle the volume, variety and overall workload that will unquestionably materialize. 15

16 CASE STUDY Since separating from ConocoPhillips in 2012, Phillips 66 has embraced technology to project a more modern corporate image. Introducing a mobile event app by QuickMobile at its revitalized 2013 national convention was a key part of its strategy. A 98% approval rating suggests it paid off. View Case Study 16

17 03 MOBILE APPS GET EVEN MORE PERSONAL 7 PREDICTIONS FOR THE MOBILE EVENT APP INDUSTRY IN

18 What started in 2013 and 2014 will accelerate in 2015 A year ago, we predicted that mobile apps would get personal, referring to how they would recognize attendees when they log in, allow them to personalize profiles and schedules, help them find like-minded people to connect with, point them to sessions and exhibitors in which they might be interested and much more. Much of this is accomplished by app design and engineering as well as through integrations with thirdparty technologies, location-based services and other add-ons that help create the personalized experience. For 2015, the definition of personalization extends to include recognition of different types of app users. Attendees traditionally get the lion s share of attention when it comes to app design, but other personas including speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, suppliers, and of course, planners, would all benefit from distinct app content and functionality tailored to their unique needs and objectives. speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, suppliers, and of course, planners, benefit from distinct app content and functionality tailored to their unique needs and objectives 18

19 EXAMPLES OF STAKEHOLDER PERSONALIZATION A speaker should be able to see who signed up to attend her session, and should be able to communicate with attendees directly through the app. The speaker should also be able to manage her profile and add an updated presentation document to her session listing. Exhibitors should be able to see which attendees have visited their profile page in the app, and who has added them to their personal exhibitor list. They should also, with the organizer s and attendees permission, be able to communicate with opt-in attendees directly through the app. An event supplier, for example an audiovisual company, could use the app to initiate equipment orders from exhibitors, and receive support requests. They could also use the app to communicate with event staff and coordinate equipment setup and delivery schedules. They would not need access to attendees or any content intended for them. An event sponsor could use the app to access real-time analytics for their in-app banner and profile page. They could also, if permitted, use it to send timely messages to specific targeted attendees about upcoming contests and sessions. Think of all the ways an app can be monetized, and then imagine the app as the access point for managing the various campaigns. As for attendees, app functionality aimed at elevating their experience and satisfying their unique needs will continue to expand. Today, there is very little an attendee can do to change the way the app performs, what it displays, and what it measures. Tomorrow, personalization will extend to every aspect of the app, allowing attendees to optimize their on-site experience. On the back end, organizers will deepen their understanding of attendee preferences and habits, using the app s data and analytics to adapt and tailor the event to better suit the attendees needs. 19

20 04 A NEW AGE OF MOBILE ANALYTICS WILL HELP QUANTIFY THE VALUE OF FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS AND EVENTS 7 PREDICTIONS FOR THE MOBILE EVENT APP INDUSTRY IN

21 Event owners will begin to measure the tangible impact on productivity and innovation 21 While the concept of analytics and business intelligence may be well practiced in other parts of the enterprise, in the meetings and events space these ideas are less mature. The truth is the mobile event app industry has only just scratched the surface, starting off with the ability to demonstrate the value of the app, and less so the value of the event. There is a wealth of precious data that can help quantify the rich interactions between event stakeholders organizers, attendees, speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors but the ability to analyze and evaluate it has only just begun. In 2015 a new age of analytical sophistication will begin to emerge as business analysts and social scientists begin to apply their knowledge to the realm of meetings and events. This will be driven by the enterprise, where time is money and the need to understand how employees use their time is insatiable. They will recognize how mobile technology provides the most comprehensive view into an employee s interaction with content, other employees, and other internal systems across virtually every aspect of the business: productivity, innovation, strategy, product development velocity, service, internal culture and more. As one familiar example of where this data can be used, consider the large breakout session. A speaker gives a presentation, a few people ask questions. Over time, more and more people tune out. Before the mobile app, the speaker had very few tools beyond charisma and a booming voice to disrupt this natural process. Today, the app can retain the audience s attention through participation in live polls, discussion groups, comments and ratings. These tools provide significant new communication and engagement features for speakers and meeting organizers, creating a new dimension of influence and control, and generating valuable metrics that extend right down to the individual attendee.

22 05 MOBILE MAKES THE YEAR-ROUND COMMUNITY A REALITY 7 PREDICTIONS FOR THE MOBILE EVENT APP INDUSTRY IN

23 Events of every size will thrive beyond their conventional 2 or 3 days of influence An event is a gathering of like-minded people, for a specific moment in time. A mobile app greatly enhances the networking and collaboration opportunities of any gathering, helping all stakeholders accomplish their intended objectives, but it can also sustain and nourish the connections long after an event wraps up. This is how communities are created, existing naturally beyond the brief moment in time of an event. As planners gain experience with mobile apps many of whom are now using an app for the second or third time at their events they ll begin to take advantage of all the ways the app can sustain the connection to and between their attendees before, during and after the main event. From document sharing, polls and surveys to push notifications and message boards, there are countless ways for communities to keep in touch via the app. Even if event participants decide to take the connections they ve made at an event offline and keep in touch outside of the app, they will still use the app as a source of relevant, contextually meaningful content. Many QuickMobile clients use their multi-event container app to share content with their attendees all year long. From photo albums to blogs, news and other information, the app is a community catalyst, bringing people together and keeping them in the loop 24/7, wherever they may be. The end result will be a mobile community that uses the event for its obvious face-toface experiential value, but continues to share, connect and collaborate via the app wherever and whenever it needs to. This will be facilitated by the increasingly pervasive mobile lifestyle, happening at work, home and play. 23

24 CASE STUDY While their 2014 World Education Congress may have ended, MPI continues to engage with its members all year long via their QuickMobile multi-event app. Users can access and share recorded session videos, articles and other content to inspire year-round learning and networking. MPI uses push notifications to inform members when new content is available. There is even a link to the 2015 registration website to keep next year s event top of mind. 24

25 06 AUDIENCE RESPONSE SYSTEMS GET SERIOUS 7 PREDICTIONS FOR THE MOBILE EVENT APP INDUSTRY IN

26 ARS and mobile event apps are a natural fit 2014 saw a flood of new audience response systems (ARS) hitting the market, ranging from stand-alone mobile polling solutions to innovative live audience tools. Several appintegrated solutions were also launched to enable better audience engagement during keynote addresses and breakout sessions. Audience engagement has been a mantra of mobile event apps since their arrival on the scene in But it wasn t really until mobile devices hit a critical mass of market adoption that event apps really caught on and mobile ARS started to find its legs. As smartphones and later tablets revolutionized communications, both supply and demand have increased for solutions that better involve live audiences in sessions and workshops. Reflecting back on our second prediction the expansion of the mobile event market into smaller meetings and events we believe ARS will play a central role in helping both attendees and organizers achieve their objectives at events of all sizes. For example, app-based discussions will stimulate whatever the event type, nothing speaks louder than the true, intentional voice of the audience 26

27 conversation, and polls will help keep people s attention and measure knowledge retention. Whatever the event type, nothing speaks louder than the true, intentional voice of the audience. Your app s analytics will help, but what you find there are inferred intentions. A straight-up answer to a survey or poll leaves nothing to the imagination. What s more, mobile ARS levels the playing field for all attendees, giving a voice even to the introverts who would never step up to a microphone to ask a question and to those participating from remote locations who would otherwise be held silent. When fully integrated into a mobile app, ARS achieves greater scale and simplicity. Point solutions work well for events without an app, but being able to create a unified experience for attendees and track usage within the context of the app s general analytics is too compelling of an argument to overlook. We see mobile ARS enjoying widespread adoption in In fact, it s one of the most promising ways of enhancing audience engagement at events of all shapes and sizes. 27

28 CASE STUDY In May 2014, the Incentive Research Foundation s Annual Incentive Invitational used live polling and discussions during roundtable sessions to let the audience guide the conversation in real-time. The result: broader and more passionate engagement. Their audience response system, powered by Lumi Insight, was built directly into the IRF s mobile app powered by QuickMobile. 28

29 07 EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES LIKE LBS AND WEARABLE COMPUTERS WILL GAIN TRACTION, BUT SLOWLY 7 PREDICTIONS FOR THE MOBILE EVENT APP INDUSTRY IN

30 For the vast majority of events and meetings, ibeacons and wearable technology will move far more slowly than the hype that will surround them In April 2013, Google released a beta version of its ground-breaking Google Glass wearable device, primarily targeting Google operating system developers and testers. The currents that emanated from the launch were felt far and wide, not least of all in the meetings and events space. On September 5, 2014, it became widely available to consumers. Similarly, there was a lot of hype about ibeacon when it first came out in late In reality, ibeacon was really just Apple s spin on location-based services that had been around since There have been a number of high-profile events that have embraced ibeacon, but it has yet to make noticeable inroads for the vast majority. While some of our clients have been experimenting with these new technologies, most event and meeting planners have been reluctant, either through a lack of knowledge of how to use them, doubts of their value, concerns about privacy, or a number of other reasons. With the release of ios 8 and the iphone 6, Apple also announced a new cashless payment system called Apple Pay. Apple Pay will make retail transactions simpler and more secure, a most welcome upgrade to current mobile payment and electronic transaction systems. We re optimistic about the opportunities that Apple Pay brings to the events space, including simpler registration and payment for walk-up attendees, spontaneous purchases and upgrades during an event, and even an easier way for exhibitors to sell goods and services on site. This won t have much of an impact in 2015 as Apple Pay is far from ubiquitous and currently only available in the US, but it s coming, and it is yet another example of the inevitable change ushered in by the rise of mobile. 30

Predictions for the Mobile Event App Industry in 2015. Plus more than 25 predictions from 8 of the industry s leading thinkers

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