DARREN EDWARDS – INVISAGE EVENT TECHNOLOGY BLOG

Conference, Exhibition and Business Event Technology: Social Media, Event Apps®, Email Marketing, Cloud Solutions, Hybrid and Virtual Events.

DARREN EDWARDS – INVISAGE EVENT TECHNOLOGY BLOG - Conference, Exhibition and Business Event Technology: Social Media, Event Apps®, Email Marketing, Cloud Solutions, Hybrid and Virtual Events.

What’s on everyone’s mind lately?? App security!!

Recently, the event industry has taken notice concerning security within mobile apps based on an article concerning the RSA mobile app by Quick Mobile “Security researchers from IOActive have decided to take a look at the app to see just how secure it is. In a short amount of time, they identified a total of six flaws.”[1] The article notes two issues that are really concerning:

“The most severe of them can be exploited for man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks. An attacker could inject a phishing page into the login sequence to trick users into handing over their credentials.”1 And, “The information in the app is retrieved from an SQLite database file that’s downloaded to the smartphone. This file contains the information of every user who has signed up for the RSA Conference 2014 app, including full name, company and title.”[1]

Yes, these are very concerning breaches. This has prompted our customers and potential customers to ask the question “How secure is our app and what does Core-apps do to prevent something like this from happening to us”? I am glad this has awoken the event industry. We have been preaching protection of customers’ data and user privacy since the beginning! Not that long ago, the state of California sued Delta airlines for not publishing a privacy policy inside their app because of the information they were collecting:

http://www.infolawgroup.com/2012/12/articles/privacy-law/california-attorney-general-sues-delta-air-lines-for-failing-to-have-a-mobile-app-privacy-policy/

The suit was later dismissed but it started a very important dialog about user data. We all need to be concerned about what information is being collected and how it is being used inside of the mobile apps we use daily.

First, let me say that NO ONE’s mobile app is ever going to be completely 100% secure! If the FBI, CIA, Bitcoin banks (recently), credit card companies, Target, and other highly secure websites/domains can be hacked, no matter what we do we will not stop them completely. If a hacker wants to break in, they will have ample time to do so and they will figure out how to breach a mobile app. There is a fine line here because if we make the app too secure, it creates a barrier to entry and usage. The added complexity can also significantly increase app support requests when users can’t get access into the app. This can cause low download numbers, lack of usage, drop in sponsorships, and the wonderful experience you were expecting to get out of your mobile app – goes away!

At Core-apps, our team makes it their job to educate our clients about mobile app security. We work on ways to make sure sensitive information is not accessible in the app or if it is really sensitive we keep it out of the app but still provide access in other ways. We also teach customers about having a privacy policy that notes what information is collected to help protect us and our clients. DIY app vendors don’t provide that type of service and there is no one there to protect customers from uploading information that can be compromised. We developed features that require users to opt-in and ways to protect user and customer data. We use encryption techniques to secure data so that attackers can’t trick users with man-in-the-middle attacks into handing over their information. For obvious reasons I will not go into detail regarding these techniques but as our President, Jesse Snipper noted, “every effort is made to keep customer data secure when that is requested but as with all security, it makes access harder — most clients opt away from security and instead choose to limit what they put in the app to publicly available information.”

My Father always told me to make sure I locked up my bike at night when I was done riding it. He used to say it was not to keep the thief from stealing it but so they would go the next rack where the bike was not locked because it was a lot easier to steal that one than the one that is locked!

For more information regarding how to secure your app with and without multiple levels of security, contact your Core-apps sales rep or email us info@core-apps.com


“You can not do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow!” Anonymous

Jay Tokosch
Core-apps, LLC.
CEO

[1] http://news.softpedia.com/news/Experts-Find-Vulnerabilities-in-RSA-Conference-2014-Android-Application-429766.shtml

People keep asking… iBeacon, floor analytics, indoor location – and more!

Wow, a lot has been made recently about our CES® Mobile app and it’s use of the iBeacon technology! We are so excited about being the first to successfully deploy the technology and to do it at one of the largest trade shows in the world is just incredible! While we started doing all types of gamification over 2 years ago, this technology has enhanced our gamification offering beyond anything available in the industry.


Our partner, Radius Networks, supplied the iBeacon’s and a connection to their network, we developed the mobile app portion to make the CES scavenger hunt work. It was great to see so much press on this feature, but using the iBeacon technology at CES was not our first foray into this type of technology. In October of 2013 we deployed a similar technology with our partner Birdzi. At AEM’s ICUEE event (a 500,000 plus square foot event) we tracked floor traffic, exhibitor booth traffic, and attendee trends on the show floor. Also, we used the live traffic data to provide indoor location services to the mobile app.


At IAEE Expo Expo in December we again deployed the technology and showed the floor traffic real-time with a big screen in our booth. Visitors to our booth loved the chance to play with these analytics in real-time – especially the heat maps!! I am proud to say that innovating new technology and being a thought leader has always been one of our strengths. The technology shown and discussed in the cases I have noted above are real and available today – but we have so much more we plan to do with this technology. I invite you to contact us and have us preview you with our vision for the future of events using this technology and other features we have developed.

“Never innovate to compete, innovate to change the rules of the game.” — David O. Adeife

Jay Tokosch
CEO, Core-Apps

Scare tactics from mobile app vendors

Whenever there is a new version of a mobile operating system being released there are always high expectations and concerns about the stability of future or existing apps.

Operating system releases should not be used as a scare tactic by a mobile app vendor in our industry!

Apple, like others, always has a upgrade path and shares this plan with their development community before the news is released so that we are all well prepared ahead of time. Furthermore, Apple tests each app with all versions of iOS that are supported before the app can be released.

Therefore, you can expect your Event App to work once it is released from Apple. The fact that some vendors choose to use this as a scare tactic to persuade Event Organisers to switch their mobile app provider is really sad indeed!

Here is what I have told my team for when this topic comes up:

“As one of Apple’s top developers (we publish more apps then any other Apple vendor), Our developers maintain a high level of support from the Apple review team. We consistently test and make sure our Event Apps are within all Apple guidelines and functions on Apple’s highest level of IOS.”

We are a responsible industry partner. We are committed to not allowing any of our customers to be impacted by an operating system upgrade or new devices being released.

Every Association needs an app – MemberDirect™

Event Apps have been in the business events industry for quite a few years now and event planners now have easy access to extremely full featured communication and engagement tools. Recently I was asked to speak at an industry event on the benefits of deploying mobile event apps at tradeshows, conferences and business events.

During this live discussion one of the questions raised what ‘should every organisation have an app’.

This is a very interesting question and one that cannot be answered easily without understanding the nature of every business and how it engages with its stakeholders. Mobile apps are today part of every conceivable business, irrespective of their size or services they offer. Apps are the best way to keep your customers engaged with your product – they act like gentle reminders to pull them back to your product of service, while also generating new customers in the process. However, are mobile apps really necessary for each and every business? Do you particularly need one to promote your brand or business?

Listed below are the aspects you need to think of, before developing an app for your business:
• Your Target Audience
• Your Budget
• Your App Content
• Cross-Platform Formatting
• Cost Vs. Profit

To keep my response to this question topical I presented a case study outlining the evolution of the Association App market. I believe that all associations and their members will benefit from the development of their very own member engagement tool. Research has shown that association members would like to receive and have access to association information on their mobile devices. They want access to this information 24/7 and mobile devices represent the perfect vehicle for delivering this information.

Whilst researching tools available now to associations I was fortunate enough to demo a simple yet powerful application, developed by Core-Apps LLC, called MemberDirect.

MemberDirect has been developed specifically for associations and contains information such as a list of members to contact, a calendar of events, buyer guides, marketing research, industry documents, etc.

For associations who use Core-Apps FollowMe or EventLink event applications, MemberDirect will also connect seamlessly to each association event, providing users with a convenient way to access their content any time they choose. And, for users who only require access to the event app, FollowMe or EventLink are also available to download and use with just the event content in a mobile app.

What Makes MemberDirect Special?

• Association information and communication is now mobile!
• Provides members with a single source for access to all events and important information relating to their industry
• Provided member networking tools
• Direct content/data integration every day of the year
• Content Security – Application content can be offered to members of the broader community
• First association mobile app with convenient connection to event app
• More features than any other association app
• Easy to integrate
• Admin portal and statistics for control and analytics
• Revenue generating tools through advertising and sponsorship sales
• Deployed on all phone platforms (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Web based)

One source for information on the go
With Member Direct, your members will have all of your association’s information in one easy-to-use app. With a member directory listing, calendar of events, news feed, social media integration, push alerts, custom tools, and much more, Member Direct gives your members the link they need to be productive on the go.

Ease of data flow
Core-Apps have built Member Direct to work with associations of all sizes and with all types of data systems. They can import your data for the app using discrete files, using regular imports through APIs, and through a custom admin portal where association staff can make live changes 24/7.

Native and web versions
Core-Apps have native clients for Apple iOS, Android, and Blackberry devices that allow your members to quickly use the app with the built-in features of their devices. Additionally, they have a mobile-optimized site for users on other platforms.

Always a custom solution
From the app image, to in-app icons and colors, Core-Apps can customise Member Direct to suit your needs and styles. Plus, with the next-generation architecture the app has been designed with, most changes to the app can be done on the fly without users having to download an update to the app.

Valuable feedback when you need it
Statistics are embedded in the app to allow association staff to discover what kinds of users are using the app and how they use it. Staff can view statistics summaries through a custom admin portal, as well as through their app store accounts.

One-on-one support
Member Direct includes access to an account manager who will work with you one-on-one to ensure the app meets your expectations–both before and after launch. Furthermore, our custom admin portal allows your association staff to make many changes 24/7 on their own.

It is my belief that MemberDirect or related tools will become an essential tool for associations to communicate, promote, and publish their information for the mobile user. MemberDirect will enhance the association’s brand with the members and help attract new members.

So in answer to this question, ‘Does every organisation (Association) need an app’. My response is yes. A mobile communication and engagement tool, carefully planned, developed and deployed will be a valuable asset to any association and its stakeholders.

About the author: Darren Edwards
Darren Edwards is the founder of Invisage Creative Services in Australia. With more than 20 years’ experience and knowledge in the meetings and events industry, Darren continues to drive creativity in events and the way they are run.
Contact: info@invisage.net

About Invisage Creative Services | www.invisage.net
Invisage Creative Services has been providing creative and technology products to the meetings and business events industry since 1993. Their vision is to connect people and to perfect the event experience by delivering creative, engaging, and collaborative technology solutions for meetings, conventions and tradeshows around the world. Core products include mobile event apps, collaborative technologies, virtual and hybrid events, email marketing, cloud based solutions, website development and graphic design.

Providing exhibitors with more than qualified leads

It is no secret that exhibitors attend events in order to find new business, re-establish existing relationships and demonstrate products and services. There are also a host of other reasons but these fundamental objectives are the reason that exhibitions exist.

I have been involved in the exhibition and events industry for the past 20 years and as event marketers we are constantly on the lookout for new tools, marketing methods and communication systems that will allow us to add greater value to an exhibitor’s participation; before, during and after the event.

In recent years Event Apps have come become a dynamic promotional and resource sharing tool that exhibitors have been able to harness and exploit. No longer are their promotional activities limited to the event open dates. Using these tools exhibitors can now communicate with and generate leads for as long as the event app lives. Recent enhancements to these apps, such as true leads modules (not basic business card capture scanners) which allow real-time lead capture and analysis, have added additional real return on investment for exhibitors.

The thing I love about event technology is that there is no end point. Developers are constantly searching for better ways to do what we have always done and to help us be smarter and more efficient in delivering on our events promises.

The exciting news is that I have recently had the opportunity to review a software platform that not only adds additional value to exhibitors but to attendees and the event managers as well. The particularly exciting aspect of this technology is that it now integrates, as of August 20, seamlessly with the industry’s leading mobile event apps to deliver a comprehensive suite of tools that will add value to all stakeholders.

GoExpo, founded in 2008 and currently headquartered in Las Vegas, is the tradeshow software designed to bring more qualified buyers to exhibitor booths by matching attendees to their product interests.

GoExpo provides a private social networking platform, an online exhibitor directory, interactive floor plan, dashboard emails, newsletters, an online conference/speaker system, new revenue generating products, searchable exhibitor and product lists, show planners, booth contracts, a system for managing VIP/hosted buyer events, segment marketing, social networking, messaging, appointment scheduling, a self-service portal, exhibitor email invitations, flexible integrations, 3rd party support, mobile apps, real-time financial and usage reports, legendary customer service, and many other easy-to-use features that enhance the show experience for the attendees, exhibitors and show management.

GoExpo integrates seamlessly with leading event apps, existing registration and exhibitor software, allowing registrants to immediately access the system upon the completion of their registration and exhibitors to immediately access the system upon completion of their booth contract. Using the attendees’ demographic profiles, GoExpo’s search engine returns recommended exhibitors, products and seminar matches in real-time. Attendees can easily add these recommendations to their planner, or contact exhibitors for more information via the internal GoExpo messaging system. Exhibitors also receive recommended matches based on the demographic information they entered during registration.

The fully-customizable software seamlessly integrates with the event’s existing website and also offers new and exciting revenue generating products. In addition to traditional sponsorship opportunities, exhibitors can purchase enhanced product listings and entries in an online (or onsite) product showcase. All purchases are handled online through the secure e-commerce interface in GoExpo or can be entered manually when the event wishes to collect payments directly.

GoExpo Event Software is a customizable event management app that provides networking and scheduling components that are intuitive for attendees, exhibitors and show management. The browser based system is accessible from anywhere, including mobile devices.

Industry clients and colleagues kept asking me if I was aware of a single offering that would allow them to manage multiple vendors and provide seamless tools that would allow them to ‘get the job done’. I have looked at many options in the marketplace and GoExpo’s comprehensive platform blew me away.

It will be interesting to see the impact this platform will have on our industry as all event stakeholders begin to experience the features and benefits that it has to offer.
For more info feel free to check out http://www.goexposoftware.com/ and please let me know what you think.

About the author: Darren Edwards
Darren Edwards is the founder of Invisage Creative Services in Australia. With more than 20 years’ experience and knowledge in the meetings and events industry, Darren continues to drive creativity in events and the way they are run.
Contact: info@invisage.net

About Invisage Creative Services | www.invisage.net
Invisage Creative Services has been providing creative and technology products to the meetings and business events industry since 1993. Their vision is to connect people and to perfect the event experience by delivering creative, engaging, and collaborative technology solutions for meetings, conventions and tradeshows around the world. Core products include mobile event apps, collaborative technologies, virtual and hybrid events, email marketing, cloud based solutions, website development and graphic design.

Tech tools that generate revenue for your event

We all know the phrase, ‘nothing in life is free except for the air we breathe’. Well unfortunately this is mostly true for all of us. With the ever increasing costs associated with planning, hosting and even participating in an event we need to be innovative in exploring new ways to cover the costs and where possible, generate additional revenue for an event, other than the obvious, increasing participation fees for attendees.

So why mention this in relation to engaging technology?

There are a lot of points to consider when selecting an event technology vendor/developer. Some of the key points I have addressed in a MICEtalk August 2012 article titled ‘Choosing the Right
Mobile Event Apps® for your Event’.

I want to share with you a few simple things you should be looking for in event technology that will help you reduce or even eliminate development and implementation costs. Hey, with a bit of creative thinking you could even increase revenue for your event.

Wouldn’t that be a welcome change?

Sponsorship Opportunities
Check with your technology developer to ensure that the tools developed provide opportunities to promote various levels of sponsorship. Sponsorship should be available in a variety of levels from Gold, Silver etc. (call them what you will) and include landing pages, banners advertising, brand placements, brand watermarks in order to maximise the exposure of your sponsors. When using an Event App or communication tool you could even sell session, speaker and alert sponsorship in order to develop additional revenue streams.

Banner Advertising
Check with your technology developer to ensure that the tools developed provide opportunities to offer various levels of advertising to sponsors, exhibitors or other event stakeholders. Banner ads, Full screen ads, Alert based ads. You could even sell advertising to local restaurants, transportation companies, golf courses, theatres and other local area attractions and activities. Explore new ways to reach attendees.

Enhanced Exhibitor Profiles in Event Apps
Sell enhanced profile listing to sponsors and exhibitors. If you don’t feel you can ask exhibitors for additional contributions simply include the profile listings as part of the booth participation fee. Sell banner ads, alerts, sponsorship, lead generation, QR code builders and connection schedulers. Also offer sponsors and exhibitors the opportunity to include handouts and video in their profiles, all for an additional fee.

Revenue share
Another option to further reduce your development costs is to ask your developer if they would be interested in a revenue share model where you both share the upfront development cost, reducing your initial outlay. In turn you would then share any revenue generated through sponsorship or advertising sales with the developer as a reward for the risk.

If you think creatively I am certain you will come up with many new and innovative ways to increase event revenue through implementation of event technology tools. As development of these tools is inevitable we will continue to see both the opportunities and benefits increase for all stakeholders at your event.

Should you choose to implement one or all of the strategies, done properly, an Event tech tool should never represent a cost to your event. Event Tech represents an opportunity for you and your attendees to improve communication, collaboration and networking, increase exposure for all stakeholders, extend the life of your event and provide a new stream of revenue.
There are a host of fantastic tools available. Go out and deploy one at your next event.

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