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Meetings technology firm Cvent last week unveiled a new
platform for constructing downloadable mobile apps for individual events.
Using templates, meeting organizers can upload meeting
information—agendas, speaker information, floor plans and other details—to
create an app that also would receive automatically updated or modified
The tool was released through Cvent's CrowdCompass
subsidiary, which Cvent now refers to as its "business event mobile app
division." Cvent in June 2012 bought CrowdCompass, an event app developer,
for $10 million.
"We think this will allow people to start using apps
for 100-person events, whereas now more folks do it for events of 300 to 500 people
and bigger," said Cvent vice president of sales Brian Ludwig. "We
believe there's value in mobile apps for events of almost any size."
CrowdCompass has built event apps for about four years, said
director of sales Matthew Donegan-Ryan, and witnessed them evolve from
primarily information-dissemination tools to engagement mechanisms that allow
attendees to interact with each other, speakers and meeting organizers. That
evolution has helped increase interest in mobile meetings apps for smaller
events, he said.
"In the past, planners would provide us with the
content that they wanted in the app, and we built an app around it,"
Donegan-Ryan said. "Then they'd ask us to make changes and additions and
revisions. That step would take a decent amount of time. So one of the big
changes is that our app is now self-service. We of course still offer to build
the apps for the client, but now they can build them themselves. They can add
their own content, they can upload their sessions, exhibitors, attendees, speakers,
PowerPoint presentations and handouts, and they can customize the design of the
Event content can be uploaded to the tool in three ways,
Donegan-Ryan explained: through a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, through an
online meetings-management platform like those available from Cvent and its
competitors or through use of Cvent's new online Event Center.
"If they use Excel, they just have to format their
Excel files in our template, and then they can upload that content on their own
and as often as they like," Donegan-Ryan said. "If they're using
Cvent, then the information is automatically in the app. If they're using one
of Cvent's competitors, then we have an API that the event organizer can
configure to automatically synchronize data, so they don't have to do any data
uploads or duplicate data entry."
Donegan-Ryan said an organizer using the Event Center "can
modify anything in the app. If they want to change a room number, add a
session, upload a PowerPoint, they can do that all on their own."
Once an app is created, any updates or modifications to the
content automatically will be pushed to attendees who have downloaded it.
"Traditionally, when an attendee opens the app, they'll get a notification
that says something like, 'There's new content; click here to download the new
information.' Most of the time at big events, the Internet connection is
horrible, and you just have to sit and wait," Donegan-Ryan said. "With
our app, that happens in the background, so attendees can continue to use the
app while the new content is being synched."
Pricing for the new product is "based on
the size and complexity of the event, so it typically starts at about $5,900
and goes up from there," Donegan-Ryan said. "The majority of our
clients pay a little less than $10,000, but it varies. Historically, most of
our clients have used us for their two, three or four largest events, but now,
since clients would be using us for not just 1,000- and 5,000-person events but
50-person events, the cost per event is going to come down significantly."
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