Mobile Apps Enter DIY Space

Today, almost every tradeshow, conference or exposition has a mobile app. This growing trend is a function of necessity—mobile connectivity quickly has become a vital request that event planners must fill. To meet the needs of attendees and exhibitors, the SF MusicTech Summit created its own mobile app, using Conduit Mobile’s new DIY app building platform.

“You need an information source about the event and it shifts over time,” says Brian Zisk, founder and executive producer of the SF MusicTech Summit. “The app provides continuity.”

Zisk says the DIY application allows event planners to create a custom experience based on the needs of a specific event—and to do so in a fairly short amount of time. With the DIY platform, the SF MusicTech Summit enabled the app so that attendees could learn about the event, buy tickets to the show, see tweets, Facebook posts, videos and photos in a live stream and send conference updates.

Instead of contracting a developer, Zisk’s team was able to use the DIY platform to create a unique mobile app. There are no coding skills required and no developer is needed.

“It was easy to pull together,” he says. “These days, your information lives everywhere on the Web. Instead of folks going to a variety of different places, it was aggregated with the app.”

Zisk estimates that building out the entire mobile app took a matter of just hours, not days.

“We’ve worked with other apps in the past and we’ve loved them, but it has taken substantially longer and required more time and effort from our side to build,” he says. “Because we have a small team, it’s important to have partners that make things easy.”

The DIY platform allows event planners to collect content—including RSS feeds, social media pages, photo and video feeds. It then allows planners to add, update and tweak the content.

Promotional Tools Included
Once satisfied, Conduit guides users through the steps necessary to get an app ready for an app store. A QR code is automatically generated to help promote it, and a banner can be provided for an event’s website. Conduit also provides analytics tracking to see how individual users interact with the application.

Additionally, the new app allows event organizers to create a mobile presence that has features such as coupon integration for special deals for amenities throughout the conference. It also allows the organizer to stay in touch with mobile users by sending push notifications or e-mails to an event’s mobile mailing list.
Zisk says the SF MusicTech Summit integrated audio files from previous conferences directly into this mobile application to provide attendees with more context and more relevant information.

“We organized the media and all of the information we knew people would need,” he adds. “Everyone looks to their phone, and these days people are really turning to digital. If you go to our website, there are tons of links and people are all over the place. How do we get them to look at what we’re publishing to Twitter or Facebook?”

About 80 percent of the 1,000 estimated attendees to the SF MusicTech Summit, held Oct. 9 in San Francisco during SF MusicTech Week, downloaded the mobile application, which was available for Apple and Android phones.