I’ve been working on event app creation at CrowdComms for a while now and I’m pretty comfortable in the role. It’s doesn’t pay to get too comfortable though! The very nature of events means the even the best laid event app plan can go awry. I recently went to a live event to help support the event app. And yes, you’ve guessed it, things didn’t quite go as I thought they might.
Here’s what happened (with additional notes on how you can avoid the same pitfalls!).
Where’s the Wi-Fi?
The tablets were ready with the event app and the venue looked amazing. The only element we were missing was Wi-Fi access. A component that was somewhat critical to the success of the entire event!
For one, the event app needs Wi-Fi in order to conduct polling and Q&A through the event app. This wasn’t something we could do without.
Event planners scurried around with worried looks on their faces to find the right contacts to diagnose and rectify the issue. Thankfully it didn’t take long till all the tablets were connected. The event planners were smiling and we were ready for action.
When it comes to establishing Wi-Fi, here’s what I learned:
The speed of the connection is key, especially when using a web-based event app, but equally important is how many devices can connect to it at the same time.
All Wi-Fi set ups in venues are not created equally. A simple click to connect to a network is far more useful for an event. The alternative which many venues have in place instead of having to visit a website and login to access the WiFi .
If the less desirable set up is in place and visiting a website to login is unavoidable, check to see how long each user stays logged in for. Logging in again every 15 minutes or so (if live polling is being used heavily throughout the event) makes for a terrible attendee experience.
The Eleventh Hour
With everything event app wise ready we settled into our seats at the ops desk.
At 10 minutes till the event started, we were feeling cool, calm and collected. We were even enjoying a bit of banter with the AV team.
The next moment however, one of the event managers ran over with a concerned look on her face. There was a whole list of additional presentations to be added to the event app. BEFORE the event started in ten minutes time!
I tried to hide my panic, took a deep breath and worked as hard and as fast as I ever have. We just made it in time.
The client at least was very happy with the event app and the event overall.
When it comes to last minute hitches, here’s what I learned:
Don’t panic! Easier said than done but last minute additions/changes can be accommodated very quickly. Event apps are designed for ease of use – you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to upload new information.
Make use of your push notifications. They update attendees immediately in real-time. They can buy you the extra few minutes you need to get things back on track.
Build some flexibility into your event app plan. You can’t foresee every possible hiccup, but a quick risk assessment between event planners the event app tech team can make sure everyone is prepared if things do go wrong.
Oh and it goes without saying but event planners really are awesome. I totally get why event planning is the fifth most stressful job out there, only beaten on the stress stakes by enlisted military personnel, firefighting, airline pilot and police officers!
Stuart Hadden – CrowdComms, Ireland
Stuart has worked with CrowdComms directors, Felix and Pete, to develop leading edge event technology that has shaped the market. Stuart now leads the CrowdComms’ Ireland team to deliver event app solutions to a broad range of clients. Whether it’s polling and Q&A, silent auctions or gamification, Stuart is always excited to find the right event tech fit for small and large events.