July 24, 2011
I’m at Chicago’s TechWeek, where Tech Cocktail is a media partner. With around 10,000 tech-savvy attendees here, the Twitter stream is raging; tweets with the #techweek hashtag pop up and others tumble down into the ether every few seconds.
Luckily, TechWeek also has an app, created by DoubleDutch and part of their HYVE suite of social, location-based productivity apps. The TechWeek app–available on iPhone, Android, and the web–allows attendees to check in at talks and locations, earn badges, comment on discussions, and access conference information.
“A lot of people go to conferences to network,” says Lawrence Coburn, CEO of DoubleDutch, which raised $1.2 million in seed funding in April. “This is a way to make your event really social and fun.”
HYVE event apps can help conferences go paperless–or, at least, use less paper–by housing information on talks and speakers. TechWeek attendee and visual designer Isaac Steiner likes the app’s agenda, which grays out talks that are over and makes it easy to check in and share on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I began chatting with Steiner because he was wondering if I was the mysterious “Muse S.” topping the TechWeek app scoreboard with 139 points. (Alas, I have a meager 10 points, with only a Newbie badge and Polaroid badge for adding my Facebook photo.)
HYVE event apps can also spur more sharing and connecting among attendees. DoubleDutch’s app for TED 2011, an event with around 1,500 attendees, recorded 3,300 check-ins, around 50 percent adoption by iPhone users, and 486 uploaded photos. After an event, organizers can use data like these to evaluate speakers and panels and improve their future offerings.
While some of the app’s functionality is not new, it still centralizes and organizes social activity around events: attendees can send direct messages to speakers, rather than jostling for facetime after their talks; companies can use check-ins to keep track of who visited their demo booths, rather than pleading for email addresses; and everyone can discover after-parties that they might miss on Twitter.
Event organizers should check out the HYVE app, which costs around $10,000 per operating system and competes with apps by event specialists like Xomo Digital (Vancouver) and CrowdCompass (Portland) and general developers like San Francisco’s MacroView Labs. In the meantime, I’m off to go earn some more points!
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