Mobile tech has been a hot topic of conversation for the last few years, and with good reason:
– 50% of adults regularly use their smartphones to access email and social networking sites (WHO, July 2012)
– 51% of adults now own a smartphone in the UK (Google, July 2012)
– In 2012 mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common web access devices worldwide (Gartner, October 2012)
But what are the key trends to watch out for in 2013 – and more importantly, how does this relate to the world of events? We’ve put together our thoughts on this with some key suggestions for making mobile work for your events.
Mobile As A Strategic Priority
Mobile is at the quickly taking centre stage in most marketing strategies as more and more time is spent accessing information via tablets and smartphones. It makes sense to put mobile at the centre of your marketing and communications strategy.
Every event team needs to consider the moments when their visitors are likely to access information about the event on the go – most of the time this will be on their way to an event, during the event and on the way home. So it makes sense to get yourself kitted out with a mobile ready version of your event website so you’re ready and waiting to meet their needs. This should be a lighter version of your main website – consider what information your visitors are likely to want to access on the hoof then go from there.
Second Screen Culture
The phrase ‘second screen culture’ is usually used to describe the use of an additional monitor whilst watching TV to comment on and interact with the programme. An example of this could be using your smartphone to tweet about the TV programme using the hashtag and interacting with other people tweeting using the same hashtag.
You may not think that this applies to the world of events but consider how many people use their smartphones during speaker sessions to share key insights and personal commentary. Add into that the recent rise in popularity of live Twitter walls and you can quickly see how second screen culture applies to the world of events.
Big Data Becomes Actionable Data
It’s been the word on everyone’s lips recently but how useful is all of this data? We may have access to huge amounts of the stuff but relatively few of us are aware of the most effective way to utilise this data to gain valuable insight into our customers. It’s all very well and good having the data but it’s absolutely no use to anyone if you don’t have the tools to interpret it. Making sure you have a strategy to capture and interpret data in 2013 will put you miles ahead of your competitors.
Social Media (again)
This should come as no surprise but social media use from mobile devices will continue to increase throughout 2013. As smartphone penetration increases, so too does social media usage. People connect with their online networks whilst they’re on the go, and clever businesses are learning more every day about how to leverage these platforms.
The dual trends of mobile and social are especially important in a real time environment, like at an event. Social media has matured to become a critical part of the marketing mix, and those who can harness its power combined with mobile will be the winners.
Remember when we all got really excited about 3G internet – the very same internet that can still be glacially slow in built up areas or at events where everyone is battling for a cell? Well, it’s time to get excited again as 4G LTE hits the UK – EE is the only mobile operator with a live 4G network but the other network providers will be snapping at their heels very soon.
So how much faster is 4G? There are wild claims of up to 100mb/second and it being up to 12 times faster than 3G – whether these claims will be substantiated as the network infrastructure grows is yet to be seen but one things for sure, it’s much faster than 3G. Let’s wait to see how these networks function in venues.
This is the big one for us here at Noodle Live and for us is the most exciting development in mobile for 2013. For those not in the know, NFC stands for Near Field Communication and it’s a more sophisticated version of a QR code without the annoying scan factor. Soon you’ll simply be able to swipe your phone over a ‘smart poster’ or badges to do any number of things – pick up documents, join wi-fi networks, pay for drinks or travel on the tube. We actually just wrote a post on the different uses of NFC and RFID at events and we think it’s one of the most exciting things on the horizon for the events industry.
So there you have it, our thoughts on which areas of mobile you should be keeping a beady eye on in 2013. There’s so much potential for mobile to transform events and make them an even more engaging experience but this is very much dependent on venues embracing these changes and creating reliable wi-fi networks for visitors and also exhibitors. But that’s another story (and probably another blog post!).
This post was written by Clemi Hardie, founder and MD of Noodle Live