SpotMe 2, a handheld multifunction meeting gadget, has grabbed first place in the WorldWide Technology Watch competition, an annual contest run by EIBTM, the international meeting and incentive exhibition, to find top event technology innovations.

Forty-four meeting technologies competed this year (a record — up from 26 last year) for the prize of free exhibit space in the MPI Technology Village@EIBTM when the 2007 event convenes November 27-29 in Barcelona.

WWTW judges, led by Corbin Ball, Corbin Ball Associates, look for winners with three criteria in mind: innovation, completeness of concept, and value to users at events.

The functionalities of SpotMe 2 aren't easy to sum up. It allows instant messaging among attendees and between the meeting organizers and any group of attendees, electronic business card exchange, and polling of attendees. There's a participant photo database, a radar that identifies everyone within about a 100-foot radius, and a vibrate feature that lets you know when someone you have identified as wanting to connect with is nearby. The device can display a personalized conference agenda as well as the attendee list.

Runners-up this year included nTag, an interactive name badge similar to SpotMe, with capabilities that include networking, messaging, agenda, polling, lead retrieval, and more. Other runners-up included:

eTouches — a suite of online attendee-management tools, including registration, e-marketing, surveys, project management, lead-retrieval, wikis, scheduling/room management, and more.

Jambo Networks — The company's Mobile Attendee Directory allows attendees using any Internet-enabled handset to detect, search, and message other attendees.

Jot Event Messaging Systems — An inexpensive and easy-to-use Web-based attendee-messaging system.

Looking Back

Previous winners of EIBTM's Worldwide Technology Watch:

2006 The Event Assistant by Log On (mobile phone application for attendee networking, polls, and more)

2005 Vivien by Cast Software (3-D room-diagramming software)

2004 introNetworks (social networking portal for meetings)

2003 nTag Interactive (interactive name badges)

2002 Throughlines by Static & Motion (training videos that had various outcomes based on audience response via wireless keypads)

2001 eventsInteractive by Amlink Technologies (a fast-build event registration system)

Strategic Reading

Need to get your planning team on track? Check out The Five Dysfunctions of a Team:

A Leadership Fable, by Patrick Lencioni. The book tells the fictional story of a CEO facing the ultimate leadership crisis: uniting a team in such disarray that it threatens to bring down the company. It's a quick and informative read, and the second half includes a discussion of Lencioni's “five dysfunctions” and a questionnaire for readers to use in evaluating their own teams. “I found the exercises at the end of the book to be invaluable,” says independent planner Marcia Schwefler, CMP. “One exercise is fear of conflict, which teaches the team how to disagree with one another without being destructive. The book is definitely a worthwhile read.”