I got my first Android last summer, and now I can’t imagine not having it. To be able to check the news, weather, e-mail, and find the closest place to get coffee, while using the GPS and having a portable game system for my seven-year-old—oh yes, and the phone—has been a real time-saver.
This month’s cover story by Executive Editor Susan Hatch brings home the growing impact of this technology: Of those who bought a cell phone in the past six months, 41 percent opted for a smartphone over a standard-feature phone. Certain groups are more eager adopters: More than two-thirds of U.S. physicians now own smartphones, and that is predicted to increase to 81 percent by 2012, according to Manhattan Research.
There’s no way you can plan meetings without addressing atten-dees’ newfound dependence on their smartphones. We will make that easier, with a guide to mobile meeting app developers and a section on 36 things a mobile meeting guide can do—from polling to links to interactive floor plans for trade shows. And don’t miss our story about Hilton Worldwide, which gave every attendee at its 2010 Worldwide Global Partnership Conference an iPad outfitted with custom apps.
If you think that online collaboration and social networking around meetings still are not relevant for you, I want to share just a sliver of the online offerings at the Professional Convention Management Association conference in Las Vegas in January, which was taking place as I wrote this.
Remote viewers could effortlessly log into the live sessions and hold discussions in a networking lounge via INXPO, an example of expanding the reach of a meeting and the conversation around it. There was an ongoing vote via Twitter to propose seminars for the upcoming EventCamp conference, a new “unconference” for meeting pros started in 2010. And there was so much more, all of it accessible year-round. Yes, PCMA, as a meetings industry association, might be on the leading edge—along with many of the companies in our cover story—but it’s only a matter of time before these technologies redefine both the planner and the attendee experience.