Every conversation in the event marketing industry eventually comes around to technology. You want to know what tools are out there to make your jobs easier, make your programs more successful and most crucially, make your target consumers love you the most. We have heard your calls for help and with this monthly series, EM’s own Ken Briodagh will collect and codify the hottest, newest, most interesting, best (and sometimes worst) technological doohickeys available to you. We’ll even rate them for you on a scale of (“Skip it”) to (“Do it now”).
Tech: Lead Gen/Data Collection
What: It just launched, so you haven’t really heard about it yet, but this business card scanner is really cool. It’s exactly what it sounds like, but basically, the app uses your phone’s camera to scan a contact’s card and it mines that card for the data and automatically saves it to your phone, and databases on Marketo, Eloqua and Salesforce. You can make notes, flag for followup, flag for avoidance, whatever you need to do. As of press time, it’s iOS only, but they assure me there will be an Android version out in time for EventTech.
Cost: To get in the door for one event it’ll run you less than $3,000, but once you get past that initial fee for setup and to cover your bar tab, it’s only about $300 per event, so not too bad.
We say: This is a great way to cut out a ton of data processing and lead organization, so if you hate spreadsheets and data entry as much as we do, go check it out.
Contact: Alex Lee: firstname.lastname@example.org
Digitize Your Brand
Tech: NFC Promos
What: These guys want to help you “Tap your brand” by giving it a big fat jolt of NFC. They help facilitate and supply NFC reading stations all over your event activation, big and small. They also implant literally anything you can name with the NFC broadcast chips. They’d rather you buy their NFC-enabled swipe cards, but they’ll go ahead and put a chip into your Rolex Presidential promos if you want, you nut. Once that’s done, any part of your activation can become a data collection goldmine and an interactive nirvana with a simple attendee tap. You can even streamline registration by implanting attendee badges. We likey.
Cost: There’s a $2,500 startup fee (includes up to eight reader stations), and then it starts at about $1 per attendee. The cost goes up based on some features like photo activation integration or advanced data collection tools, and you can spend as much as you like on promos in which to embed the chips.
We say: It’s a feature-rich, practical use for NFC and brand activation, so we like it. And the price is right on par for the technology, too.
Contact: Rich Stein: email@example.com
Tech: Large-Scale Multi-Touch Walls
What: OK, so you think you know what large-scale multi-touch is? Not yet, you don’t. Inhance is rolling out 30-foot wide walls and 12-foot square rooms walled with multi-touch. More than 30 simultaneous users will be shouldering their way up to play with these things at every deployment. The ideal way to leverage it, they say, is with a unique, and new content design that takes advantage of all of the multi-touch features. Intel just did one with an amusement park theme to amazing effect, and if they want it, so do you. (Holla to our guys Victor Torregroza and Joe English!)
Cost: Big. Rent a system for $25,000 to $30,000 per event, or buy it for upwards of $150,000. And good content will cost you in the $200,000 range, so get out your checkbook.
We say: For once, we don’t care how much it costs. We want to see every single one of you rolling one of these out before the end of next year. It’s. That. Cool.
Contact: Shannon Arnold: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tech: Tablet Kiosk
What: It’s not your grandfather’s kiosk, that’s for sure. Lillitab has created a slick, fun and user-friendly data collection godsend by pairing a tablet (platform agnostic) with a sweet stand and an RFID reader. Hyundai used it for a college tour where they gave students bracelets and incentivized them for tapping at the kiosks, which provided valuable activity tracking. It’s also got a magnetic card reader that works on credit cards, driver’s licenses, hotel room keys and anything else with a mag stripe. They’re working on adding NFC capability for instant purchases, too. The mag stand option allows you to make your tablets mobile for demos and sales presentations, or you can lock them in place as a kiosk. This is strictly hardware though, folks, so get your own apps.
Cost: $200 to $400 each, depending on the options you select. You can choose to buy or lease, but the vast majority of customers just buy ‘em.
We say: The functions are great, the cost is reasonable– remember you need to buy a tablet, too–but despite being nominally platform agnostic with fittings for every tablet from Nexus to Galaxy to Surface, some of the coolest features are available only in iPads right now, so we can’t give full marks.
Contact: Michael McCloud: email@example.com
Tech: Multi-Event App
What: QuickMobile kept hearing from their customers that they wanted one enterprise-level mobile app, from which they could launch single event sub-apps and keep all of their events and stakeholders active throughout the year and between events. So they built it. And while they were at it, they made it pretty awesome, too. It’s good to fly on anything from Android to Blackberry to iOS, and clients like Disney, McDonald’s and Wells Fargo are already using it. It’s super feature-rich, and lets you build almost any kind of app you could possibly need for any type of event. Great for b-to-b or consumer-facing brands.
Cost: Expensive. The rates aren’t fixed, and depend entirely on volume of events, number of users and desired features. It’s enterprise-level and Quick assures us that skinflints need not apply. You get what you pay for.
We say: It’s everything you could ask for in an enterprise level event app and CMS. If it’s not available with this, you don’t need it, or it doesn’t exist yet.
Contact: Trevor Roald: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tech: Facebook Open Graph
What: SocialPix is one of the true masters of Facebook integration, and they’re bringing the thunder again with their Open Graph integration. What it does is take your photo activation and, in addition to giving you instant posting to the attendees’ feeds, adds your branded messaging, headlines and links to more content. Your guests can even tag themselves and their friends right from the activation. Sweet.
Cost: The full software license for SocialPix, which includes all of its features and the new Open Graph stuff, is $1,000 per event day.
We say: We’ve said how much we love these guys before, so let’s just say that they’re making themselves better. And we like it.
Contact: Lisa Fruggiero: email@example.com