Do you listen to podcasts? For many event planners on the go, podcasts are incredibly interesting and easy to access. Just download to your phone and you’ve got industry knowledge playing via Bluetooth in your car or right through your headshot on a train/plane/bus (you get the idea). Knowing that podcasts are an important educational resource for our industry, we just launched our own podcast last week called techsytalk unscripted – where we take you behind the velvet ropes of the events industry to talk about the issues that matter most to planners. And now, we’ve just discovered this interactive micro podcast platform called Anchor, which we’ll also be leveraging to connect with you. Today’s micro episode is on your experience with podcasts so take a quick listen and click the REPLY button to join the conversation!
DoubleDutch Delivers Strong Growth in 2015
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – January 27, 2016 – DoubleDutch, the global leading provider of mobile event apps, announces over 80 percent growth in annual recurring revenue (ARR) and over 100 percent growth in events apps deployed in 2015 compared to the previous year. Additionally, DoubleDutch saw record year-over-year growth in Asia and Europe.
“As one of the top marketing channels for ROI, events are going to play an even more strategic role in deepening relationships with customers and accelerating sales velocity. Our growth is a result of marketers’ increased focus on ways to deliver engaging and personalized experiences for attendees and exhibitors,” said Lawrence Coburn, CEO of DoubleDutch. “We expect this growth to continue as we take on the $565 billion events industry in 2016.”
Customers saw substantial increase in its mobile app adoption and engagement in DoubleDutch-powered events in 2015, including:
- 130 percent increase in total users
- 109 percent increase in total sessions
- 129 percent increase in total comments
- 147 percent increase in total likes
- Close to 3 billion total data points processed
DoubleDutch’s roster of global customers includes a range of enterprise and corporate clients, associations, educational institutions and non-profit organizations such as SAP, Rite Aid, Estee Lauder, UFC Gyms, Marketo, Optimizely, Georgetown University, and American Banker’s Association. Organizations use DoubleDutch to support a broad spectrum of events, including user and partner conferences, roadshows, sales kickoffs, incentive travel, executive offsites, networking events and tradeshows.
“It’s the biggest thing to happen to events in the last hundred years,” said Jason Ray, chief technology officer at the Urban Land Institute, which throws roughly a thousand events annually. “DoubleDutch is just beginning to unlock value that’s been elusive. We’ll see the point where at any type of gathering, people are going to expect an app.”
The record success of DoubleDutch in 2015 follows several important milestones the company achieved throughout the year including:
- A $45 million round of growth financing led by KKR, with participation from existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Index Ventures and others.
- Freeman partnership: The partnership with Freeman, the world’s largest brand experience company, will connect DoubleDutch’s solutions with Freeman’s customer needs. Freeman customers will receive preferred access to DoubleDutch’s mobile event technology platform as well as access to an exclusive integration between Freeman’s online exhibitor interface and the newly launched DoubleDutch for Exhibitors product.
- DoubleDutch for Exhibitors: The industry’s first comprehensive solution for exhibitors that enables them to better target leads with promotional offers, streamline and simplify the lead retrieval process, gain more visibility into lead history and analytics, and maximize event ROI.
- Announcement of Q1 2016 release of new Direct Messaging and Channels capabilities that enhance collaboration among event attendees and extend the lifespan of events.
- The appointment of two executives: Brad Roberts, Chief Financial Officer andEmily He, Chief Marketing Officer.
- Various award wins including being named a 2015 winner of theSan Francisco Bay Area’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For, Best Event Mobile App by the Eventex Awards 2015, and ranking 73 on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™.
DoubleDutch provides mobile applications and performance analytics for events, conferences, and trade shows for more than 1,500 customers including SAP, UBM, and Urban Land Institute. Founded in 2011, DoubleDutch was recently named to Deloitte’s 500 fastest growing companies in North America, Inc. 5000’s fastest growing private companies, AlwaysOn’s Global 250 best-of-breed private companies in SaaS and Enterprise, and Forbes’ list of 10 hot companies to work for in San Francisco. DoubleDutch is based in the Mission District of San Francisco with regional offices in Amsterdam, London, and Hong Kong.
The event geniuses at Genioso Event Magazine recently asked some of the top influencers in the industry – including yours truly! – about the future of event technology in the event industry. What will have the greatest impact on the event business in the next few years? Whether it’s visual or wearable, data driven or cooperating with “human2human” interaction, event technology will change, or even disrupt, the way events are organized and conducted today.
Check out what I, and others had to say!
During an event, there are a dozen things that can go wrong. Likely, at least one or two of those things will go wrong. Most of these are related to the technical side of things; some of these can cause minor delays while others can bring the entire event to an abrupt halt.
As the organizer, you should be aware of what these problems are so you can quickly respond in the event they occur out of the blue.
1. Registration Problems
Gone are the days when registration was done through guests signing in via pen and paper. With the advent of event apps, the sign-in process can be streamlined with guests singing in through their mobile or some other digital system.
A problem with the registration can cause a long line to form with attendees waiting impatiently to sign in so they can enter and partake in the event’s activities. You should have a backup process in place. The simplest way is the old fashion method with a pen and printed logbook. You can always input the information into the system later on.
2. Video Playback Issues
If your event includes presentations, then you’ll likely be relying on a few pre-recorded videos, or perhaps even a live streaming video from a guest presenter speaking via satellite. In a perfect world, the streaming, picture, and audio quality would all work smoothly. Of course, this is not always the case. If streaming, a bandwidth issue can cause a delay or the video to not play at all. If showing a video from a site like YouTube or Vimeo, a problem with the site can prevent the video from playing, and there won’t be anything you can do from your end.
Always have a backup plan in place. If there’s a specific YouTube video you’re going to play, then save a copy of the video by converting it into an MP4 format and have it available on your computer. This way, you can just click and have it playing in the event the video on YouTube isn’t working for whatever reason.
As for a live stream not working, have a pre-recorded video ready in case a speaker via satellite isn’t able to get through due to technical difficulties. The video should cover the same material and be similar in length to the time the speaker was allotted.
3. Wi-Fi Going Down
If the Wi-Fi goes down, you’re going to have to scramble to resolve the issue. Part of your planning crew should include at least one person that’s somewhat IT savvy. To minimize the chances of the Wi-Fi going down, use the latest router available on the market. Routers operate similar to radio stations and have multiple channels available. A channel can get “backed up” and “static-y” due to heavy traffic. Newer router models, however, automatically switch to another channel if the one it’s tuned to experiences too much interference.
It’s recommended that you perform a speed test before the start of your event to get a feel for the reception in the area.
4. Twitter Hashtag Hijacking
More companies these days are using digital signage to display tweets as they are submitted in real-time. It’s a great way to generate PR and create attendee engagement as the event is in progress. However, this method also leaves you vulnerable to hashtag hijacking from trolls.
Hashtag hijacking has forced small and big companies alike to immediately go into damage control mode. If you’re not familiar with what this is, this is a common problem that occurs when other Twitter users use your hashtag for the sole purpose of leaving behind a negative comment, promoting their own company, or starting a Twitter war with other users. Dissatisfied customers have also been known to use a company event hashtag to make their grievances known.
One of the more high profile cases of hashtag hijacking occurred with McDonalds a few years back. In an effort to market its commitment to using fresh ingredients, the fast food giant used the hashtag #MeetTheFarmers, which was later followed by #McDstories to get people to share their positive experiences. The campaign, unfortunately, backfired terribly as customers began using the hashtag to share negative experiences dining with the establishment.
Tweets like the ones below became the norm:
While hashtag hijacking isn’t exactly a technical problem in the traditional sense, it nevertheless creates a huge issue that can tarnish your brand. While you may not be able to completely prevent your hashtag from getting hijacked, you can encourage positive tweets from attendees and staffers to drown out those one or two negative tweets.
You can also encourage them not to respond to the tweets at all. The hijackers, after all, want attention, and if their tweets go without a response, then they’ll likely take their trolling elsewhere.
5. Radio Frequency Interference
The radio frequencies your mobile, Bluetooth, and other devices use for wireless communication are transmitted through a narrow wavelength. A disruption can interfere with the WiFi and render most or all of your devices useless. As with addressing poor WiFi issues, correcting radio interference is a job that should be left to an IT guy; hopefully you have one among your staff that knows a thing or two about troubleshooting.
Most interference can be addressed through the following:
- Be sure all transmitters have fresh batteries. Weak batteries produce low output voltage, which can cause transmitters to generate harmful interference.
- Keep all radio transmitters at least 15 feet away from the wireless receiving antennas.
- Adjust the squelch control setting on the receiver. While a higher setting reduces the overall operating range, it provides better overall protection against interference.
6. Mobile Phone Dead Spots
It’s irritating when there are certain areas in a venue where your mobile just refuses to get a signal. This certainly will not sit well with guests and can also interfere with communication between the staff members. The best way to remedy this issue is to test the venue before the start of the event for areas that might get a fuzzy signal. This way, you’ll be able to direct attendees to areas where they can get a reception if the issue comes up.
Another solution is to install a cellular signal booster in the form of an antenna and dual-band amplifier system. The device is effective for boosting indoor signal strength and may especially be useful in facilities notorious for having multiple dead spots.
Be Prepared for all Tech Issues
Tech issues may arise even in spite of your best planning efforts. As long as you have a backup plan, then most issues are resolvable. This ensures the problem is promptly fixed without staff members running around like headless chickens.
Yet people line up and pay massive fees to attend a TED conference. Why? Because of the people, they meet in the ‘white space’! – Gerrit Heijkoop, Online host and Social Media Expert
“The future of events, conferences and trade shows is a bright one – although they will be pretty different from how we perceive events mostly today. Conferences are less and less about providing information. Know-how is a commodity these days. Events can deliver perspectives, networking, bouncing ideas around. They are here to make sense of the endless flow of information that we are exposed to. ”- Michael Heipel, Owner Michael Heipel Concept & Consulting
Your Votes are In!
We asked about your favorite event tech of the year and you spoke – QuickTapSurvey it is!! A huge congrats to them for narrowly edging out close runners up INITLIVE and BIZZABO! Data is a very hot topic for 2016 and as you’re looking for more creative ways to collect, manage, and analyze the data surrounding your events, QuickTapSurvey is a great option. Whether you’re looking to manage lead generation, collect audience feedback or simply assess your event, their tools makes it easy and painless to use.
If you haven’t heard of them, now is the time!
Here at techsytalk, we strive to make it easier for you to learn about event technology companies through our Event Tech Directory. We feature companies once a week, all year long, to give you a better sense of the options available for your next event. Then – once a year – we put the power in your hands to choose your favorite company of all for the Event Tech of the Year – Readers’ Choice Award.
We’ve gathered your feedback throughout the year on the companies you like the most (we can tell that through clicks/shares etc.) and have pulled the top 10 Event Tech Products for 2015. Now it’s up to you to vote. Simply click on the link below and vote for your favorite companies.Voting is open until Dec. 15, 2015 at 11:59pm ET and the company with the most votes will be announced as the winner on Dec. 16th. You can vote once per day.
So – let the voting begin……..and GO!
We put out the call for complete and utter UGLY and you guys really BROUGHT IT for the NYC event Hustlers! We were super honored to ring in the holiday season with such a poorly dressed bunch!
A gracious shout out to our sponsors: MEET for hosting us; ANTICO NOÈ & DŌ for feeding us; LIQS for watering us; MAGENCY DIGITAL for entertaining us, WHOSEVENT Booth for capturing our silly and ALLSEATED for providing the Grand Prize for our Ugly Sweater contest. You guys ROCKED IT!
Let the holiday mayhem begin!
The key to any successful event is creating engagement. As the organizer, make every effort to make the guests part of the event rather than just being passive observers.
With technology now widespread and commonplace, make use of the latest gadgetry for creating an interactive event that will have attendees tweeting during and well after the event.
1. Video Mapping
First impressions are everything, and video mapping is a handy way of creating visual aesthetics that will wow your audience the minute they step into the venue. Video mapping is basically the process of using an irregularly shaped object as a projector screen for displaying images, slides, and videos. Just about any object can be used as the screen, such as a building exterior wall, a monument, or even a stationary person.
Think about how you might use this type of technology. Here’s one way: when guests are lined up outside the venue waiting to register and enter, why not use the venue’s front entrance as a video mapping screen for showing a welcoming video?
2. Event Apps
Event apps help streamline the planning process and also provide your guests with a convenient way to check on the event’s schedule and interact with other attendees and staff. Event apps, though, come in a huge assortment of varieties and can also be custom made specifically for your event. Personalized options often come with a high price tag but is worth the investment if your budget allows for it.
So what do you need to consider for an event app? For starters, they should have the following as their core features:
- Event schedule that can be updated in real time should changes occur during the event
- Guide and slide uploads as companion material for a lecture
- Map layout of the facility
- Directions to nearby hotels, restaurants, and other attractions
- Bus and shuttle schedules
- Company bio with FAQ section
- Sponsor bio with FAQ section
- Video snippets of last year’s event
GuideBook is one paid service that makes it easy for companies to build, personalize, and publish their own event app.
Keep in mind that even in this day and age, not everyone owns a smartphone. Accommodate those who lack a mobile by having a few printed copies covering the information above.
3. Use Social Media
You don’t have to be lectured about the power of social media. However, while there are countless guides on how to leverage social media for event marketing, most only cover the subject during the event planning phase. Most neglect to mention that social networks can and should be used during the event.
Remember, it’s all about engagement, so get people posting during the event. Encourage comments and tweets with an event hashtag about what a great time they’re having. You can also encourage selfies with staff members, other guests, and speakers.
To encourage tweeting among the guests, install a few digital signage displays that show the latest postings as they are sent in real time. The tweets can also be shown via video mapping mentioned earlier. In this manner, the tweets also serve as eye candy that creates a visually stunning backdrop. Whatever is used as the screen, just be sure the tweets are still readable.
4. Wearable Technology
Wearable gadgets like the Apple Watch and Google Glass won’t be fully in swing for a few more years. However, why not show your guests that you are ahead of the times by making the conference event-friendly for those who already have these items?
Event apps can be customized for compatibility with these gadgets. Like with a smartphone, Apple Watch and Google Glass users will be able to use their hands-free devices to acquire event info, take images, and watch videos. These items can also be used by staffers for tracking guests and acquiring real-time analytics. Those with wearable tech will surly have nothing but good to say if your event goes out of the way to accommodate their devices.
5. Digital Icebreakers
How can you incorporate technology into an icebreaker? Here’s one: have everyone introduce themselves to at least one other person. Once the handshakes and introductions are out of the way, have the members take a selfie with their new friend along with a comment including the event hashtag. You can actually do several rounds of these. You can also, for example, have attendees get in groups of three or four and then find a staff member to take a group selfie with.
An icebreaker like this serves a twofold purpose. First, it creates network and engagement among the attendees who may otherwise choose to stick to their own circle. Second, this helps to generate more social media buzz; plus, the selfies and accompanying comments also serve as material that can be used to promote next year’s event.
6. Interactive Kiosks
Images courtesy of Alexander Morris
It’s been stressed multiple times already, but it’s worth repeating again: it’s all about consumer engagement. One other way of achieving this is through some form of interactive kiosk. This is where you can really get creative and come up with multiple interactive games and features. Aside from the interactive elements, the kiosk should also serve a promotional purpose.
Here are some interactive kiosk ideas.
Photo booths remain popular to this day even with the convenience of smartphones. Create a booth where attendees can customize their own backgrounds. All backdrops, though, will contain the company logo in some form or another.
Include multiple choice questions related to your industry. If they pass the quiz, the kiosk will print out a ticket or receipt that can be redeemed for a promotional item.
This will essentially contain all the things that were included in your event app and is intended for those who do not have a smartphone. Use screen-touch features that allow users to acquire a map of the facility, acquire event information, an event schedule, and so forth.
Watch this video for more inspiration on what is possible with an interactive kiosk.
Get With the Times
The digital era is here and isn’t going to go anywhere anytime soon. Show your guests that your company is tech-savvy by incorporating the latest in interactive digital media. This will lead to increased engagement as well as have attendees tweeting about your event and why it rocks.