Taking advantage of the worldwide, near-fetishistic attachment to cell phones, the Dutch company Log On has created a Web-based application that allows conference-goers to use their mobile phones to network, view the agenda, participate in polls, and more. The product, The Event Assistant, recently earned LOG ON top honors in the WorldWide Technology Watch, a competition run by EIBTM, the international meeting and incentive exhibition, to find top event technology innovations.
In brief, attendees who register on the system can view mobile Web pages that allow them to search for people by name, title, or company, and in the case of exhibitors, by product type and country. Using SMS messages, conference organizers can push information out to individuals (“you have a fax”) or the group (“the banquet location has been changed”) and conduct instant-response polls. The Event Agenda also displays the agenda, where users can drill down to read about the presenter and order session presentations, as well as get information on the destination, venue, and transportation.
Maastricht, The Netherlands–based LOG ON beat out 26 competitors for the prize of a free exhibit space in the MPI Technology Village @ EIBTM when the 2006 event gets under way November 28–30 in Barcelona. A competing meeting and incentive show, IMEX, also acknowledged the technology this year. The Frankfurt-based event, held May 30–June 1, was LOG ON’s largest client to date.
The service works on any device connected to the Internet (i.e., mobile phone, PDA, laptop, etc.), on any type of connection (i.e. W-LAN, Wi-Fi, GPRS, UMTS, ADSL, Fixed line), regardless of the phone’s service provider. For phones without an Internet connection, attendees can still register to receive SMS notifications, to participate in SMS voting, and to order session presentations or exhibitor brochures via SMS.
The fixed cost of the system, depending on the number of service modules selected, ranges from roughly $10,000 to $18,000 per event, says Johan Bax, director of LOG ON, who notes that when an event uses The Event Assistant for the second time, the prices are about 50 percent lower, and that for small, uncomplicated meetings a less-expensive product version is available. There is also a variable cost to the system, which depends on the number of SMS messages sent (i.e., notifications) and received (i.e., voting). The system is set up with space for sponsor mentions on the Web pages, SMS messages, and elsewhere.
WWTW runners-up for 2006 are: