The technological revolution has been a Midas’ touch for every facet of trade and commerce, the events industry included. Events across the globe have been transformed by this new wave, paving way for better planned, well-executed events through event tech.
As event-tech enthusiasts ourselves, we strive to learn and grow from every event we power. One of our best learning experiences has been the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 held in Hyderabad, India back in November 2017.
“GES is the preeminent annual entrepreneurship gathering that convenes emerging entrepreneurs, investors and supporters from around the world.”
A well-organized, global affair, this year’s event was attended by more than 1500 budding entrepreneurs, investors and esteemed delegates from more than 170 countries across the world.
Having been the tech partners that powered the official mobile event app for GES 2017, I thought I’d share our learning from the event GES 2017 with you.
Let me start by giving you a brief about event tech at GES and the role of Hubilo in facilitating the same.
— NITI Aayog (@NITIAayog) November 18, 2017
Hubilo and the GES 2017 Event app
An event that’s meant to be the holy grail of innovative start-ups, a platform for initiative and innovation has to be innovative in itself, doesn’t it?
The organizers of the event had decided to optimize GES 2017‘s event experience by opting for one of the most rewarding and engaging event tech tools: An Event app with wearable tech added to the mix.
The GES event app had a plethora of features to ensure that attendees have sufficient opportunities to network, engage and make the most out of the event.
The event app ensured that attendees get familiar with the event’s vision and partake in fulfilling the same.
Talking about Hubilo’s role in facilitating the event app, we were privileged enough to develop the mobile app and integrating the event app with their select wearable tech device.
Here’s a little brief about the app and the process:
1. Networking Platform:
GES was all about finding a platform to facilitate innovation and entrepreneurship in any way possible. In order to develop a start-up and take it to new heights, it is crucial to building your network with the right individuals.
With an inbuilt networking platform meant exclusively for the event, the GES app made it possible for the attendees to find like-minded contacts within the event, set up face-to-face meetings, share visiting cards or chat with them.
Attendees could discover different individuals based within their network or search profiles that were categorized by industry, location or designation and bookmark them accordingly. This feature proved to be quite effective with profile views amounting to almost 77,000.
2. Event Newsfeed:
The event newsfeed feature was a great way to check out the buzz live at GES 2017 on the mobile event app itself. Attendees could initiate discussions, conduct polls and share pictures and videos of the event with the GES 2017 community.
Talking about engagement, attendees could like, comment or share other individual’s posts, videos or discussions, all the while maximizing their ‘activity score’ i.e. a measure of their overall engagement in the event community. It was a fun way to be involved in such a significant event with a purpose to build valued connections.
3. Meet-ups feature:
This event app feature took event networking to a whole new level. As mentioned before, the event was focused on growth and development in four key sectors. Attendees could find fellow colleagues or investors from the industry that they belonged to and set up meetings with them.
They could also create chat groups for attendees residing in the same hotel and create a small community of their own. The meet-up feature of the event app was also meant to help attendees connect with other people living in their hotels. It was meant to maximize attendee convenience.
4. Agenda Management:
The GES 2017 event was not only a platform for event networking but also for sharing knowledge and expertise amidst people belonging to versatile industries. As the agenda goes, GES 2017 was focused on four major industries this year, namely healthcare and Life sciences, Digital Economy and Finance, Energy and Infrastructure along with Media and Entertainment.
There were panel discussions and sessions spread across these four themes. In order to ensure that attendees find the right sessions to attend and not miss out on the ones worth attending, the app allowed them to bookmark and colour code sessions as per themes and set their own individual agenda listing the sessions they wish to attend. More than 12900 bookmarks were noted on the app.
5. Wearable Tech Integration:
This is the one I’d like to focus on a bit as this was one of the most creative event app features enabled by the organizers. Wearable tech was integrated with GES’ mobile event app to better the GES event experience. Each attendee was given a band with a built-in tracking system at the beginning of the event.
So when two attendees wearing the bands were within a certain distance of each other, the meeting was recorded and was reflected in the event app under a section called ‘people I’ve met.’ No meetings go forgotten. The badge was highly personalized with each attendee having their own unique bands.
With this, they were able to track their activity throughout the event. Attendees received ‘karma points’ for the distance they covered walking through the event premises, an initiative by the wearable tech provider and the event organizers, if the attendees covered a set amount of step during the event, a certain donation amount would be given to a pre-decided non-profit for a good cause.
Not only a social initiative, with this idea, the organizers made sure that attendees explore every nook and corner of the event venue and all that the organizers had set up for them. With such a tracking system, attendees, as well as organisers, were able to maintain a record of all their meetings within the event premises throughout the day.
Apart from this, all the attractions, engagement tools, booths, sponsor setups across the venue were being explored by all the attendees in lieu of increasing their ‘steps.’ Delving a bit more into the overall mobile event app, attendees could also keep track of meetings requests that they’d sent out or received and the meeting slots that had been set for the same.
Apart from these, the event app also made exchanging visiting cards simpler by including a ‘V-card’ feature to help attendees exchange their business cards virtually. By the end of GES 2017, more than 35000 visiting cards were requested using the app out of which 15880 visiting cards were exchanged in total.
Other notable features include video jukebox for entertainment as well as a transportation feature for attendee convenience.
— NITI Aayog (@NITIAayog) December 12, 2017
In terms of overall attendee engagement on the event app, the event feed was abuzz with more than 700 posts by the attendees with 2721 likes and comments. Within the event community itself, more 27,000 messages were exchanged among the attendees.
Overall, with more than 2500 downloads across both platforms, the app received a lot of positive feedback from users belonging to multiple facets of the industry. GES 2017 has been a great learning curve for everyone involved.
Team Hubilo at GES 2017: What we saw, what we learnt
The Hubilo team was fortunate enough to see the event execution live in action on the E-day. Exploring all that the event had to offer, seeing attendees utilize the tech we provided, we dove right into sharpening our skills. Being a start-up ourselves, we dedicated to making the most of this event that was dubbed as one of the most promising annual entrepreneurship events of the year.
As promised, here are my takeaways from the three-day mega event, GES 2017:
1. Getting creative with event tech will truly transform your event.
As mentioned before, the organizers along with their event tech vendors were quite creative with their event tech. Right from the basics, they had a lot of new and upcoming innovations exhibited. They even experimented with AI by having an all-new robot named ‘Mitra’ that recognizes its host through facial recognition and greets them while alerting the host of their arrival greet the guest of honour, Ivanka Trump. You can read more about it all here.
As mentioned earlier, attendees of the event were given wearable tech, similar to a fitness band that connects to your app. It’s been more than 8 months post the GES event; I still have members of my team using the event swag, remembering their event experience.
We had feedback, positive feedback on the event app and the networking platform coming up for months post the event telling us how they compared the GES experience to events they went to and how they had loved the overall event execution.
The event taught us two important lessons that are going to help us and the event organizers we work in the future to create a truly memorable event:
- Always prioritize the experience.
- Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and get creative.
2. Social media is your one true friend when it comes to event promotions.
Social media has become a part of our lives. Event professionals must cash in on this face in order to spread the word about their event and engage their attendees throughout. GES 2017 did just that.
Way before the event began, all the organizers, partners, even the participants had started promoting the event, banking on major highlights including the session headlined by Ivanka Trump and the event’s focus on much-needed women empowerment.
There were people all around us creating a buzz about the event across the globe by engaging with the event on their select Social media platform. Pictures, highlights, videos, testimonials, etc. were shared along with people tweeting at each other, posting on Facebook and streaming the entire thing live on platforms like Instagram.
A major government event made social media its one true friend for promoting the event and it definitely paid off, for the event, all its partners and the attendees. I for one made a lot of valuable connections by actively engaging with the event on Social Media.
3. Vendor support will go a long way in optimizing the event experience.
One of the key points to keep in mind when you are opting for a technology like an event app or a website is to ensure that your vendors provide a proper support team to assist the attendees throughout the event.
All the event tech vendors of GES provided full support to help attendees navigate the product they had provided. Hubilo as well was available on multiple platforms including social media, website, call and email to solve any and all attendee queries related to the event app that came our way.
Why is it so important? Here’s an anecdote that’ll prove my point. We received an attendee query on Twitter during the event. By the end of the day, we had solved the attendee issue and had promptly responded back to the attendee with the solution.
Three months later, the attendee tweeted back at GES as well as our Twitter account about an event with a lack of customer support for its event tech and how he appreciated GES and its vendor’s attempts to facilitate the event attendees.
Feedback like this plays a major role in building an image and optimizing the experience to gain loyal attendees for the event as a whole. It also strengthens the partnership between event organizers and vendors ensuring the quality product and a greater ROI.
4. Focus on what matters in order to achieve event success.
Focusing on the role of fulfilling the event agenda and the role of attendee ROI in it will lead to event success. The idea for this event was to maximize India-US partnership in terms of entrepreneurship and facilitating women entrepreneurs across the world.
Creating an event like this, involving event alumni, present attendees and all its partners along with local and global media, the event was a great case study in PR for large-scale government events.
With all these resources at their disposal, the event organizers had planned how it will all play out months ahead, from the event venue to event destination, the planning and execution were almost impeccable.
No matter the scale of the event, you must plan ahead of time, vet your vendors carefully, facilitate tech like event app before the event so that your attendees get time to adapt to and engage with your tech.
I hope you find this takeaway useful in planning your future events. I’d love to hear about your event experiences and takeaways from past events that you have attended as well.
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