The paperless conference: Event Management 2.0

The paperless conference: Event Management 2.0

Nigel Brown of Humans Invent discusses going paperless and the supporting thought that helped Peter Jackson, the Commercial Director at Red e2 decide to use ShowGizmo at this event.

Smartphone technology is changing the way we interact with each other, providing our very own skeleton key to our daily rituals, able to unlock doors, share information, and communicate with our peers on a plethora of different networks and social media platforms. This revolution in data exchange is by no means limited to our social lives. It is also transforming the way we do business, and this is nowhere more evident than in  the events industry – you can forget your business card for starters.

Do you remember the mad rush to pick up 500 extra business cards you had printed when you really only needed 50? The endless excess of event literature that we all carry around for days on end as a symbol of our hard work – a proud mark of being busy and therefore better connected. But our trusted smartphone looks set to end event management as we know it, with a number of app-based technologies, – now you can simply organise your day at venues such as Earls Court or Olympia with just your phone.

One such app based technology is ShowGizmo, available on the three major smartphone platforms, iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android, which allows users to share information, personal details and notes.

The paperless networking experience

In January 2012, the app will be used for the first time by event management company Red e2, who are organising ‘Action with Vision – Technology, Insight, and Innovation’ for Apogee, a leading UK digital office solutions specialist.  Peter Jackson, Commercial Director at Red e2 explained to Humans Invent how he came across the technology and why he believes smartphone technology will change the conference experience forever: “We are an event management agency that Apogee are using to run and manage their event in January. One of the crucial things that came out of the planning process were the requirements from the exhibitors to be able to engage with the guests and delegates, essentially allowing them to exchange information with ease,” Jackson explains.

“In the old days it was business cards, notes, and bags of literature, but that can all be condensed thanks to this technology. Life has moved on and we wanted to use a product that brought the event experience up-to-date, translating the old-fashioned methods at corporate events into the modern world, Jackson says. “The technology we came across was in the form of a smartphone application called ShowGizmo. It is the product of an organisation that is based in New Zealand, and we were first drawn to it because it is an app based technology – it can be universally accessed by all – if you have a smartphone. You only have to look at how ‘app culture’ has entered every aspect of our lives, to see that it would be a great way to connect at an event, and we thought it was a more user-friendly interface to use than other potential products on the market.”

ShowGizmo is leading the charge to a purely paperless trade show experience, with all your event needs catered for on the app whether you are an exhibitor or guest. You can simply schedule and organise your day at any conference, as well as interacting with fellow guests with ease. Each app has an attendee directory, so you can plan before you go who you want to connect with, while the real-time scheduling and downloadable presentations let you have all the information you need, and more, at your fingertips.

How can you share information?

One of the key advantages is the technology behind being able to share your brochures, notes, and contact information with others at the ‘bump of a phone or click of a button. Each attendee has a unique QR code which others can scan in order to get there contact details – essentially a virtual business card. While each stand or speaker has a unique QR code, so you can easily use your mobile phone to download all the information you need. The ‘bump’ technology on an iPhone also means you can share your contact details, notes, and literature at the simple ‘bump’ of two phones – much easier than carrying hundreds of business cards around for the whole day.

“The way the app works is we create an event website and from that delegates and exhibitors are invited to download the app which works on the three major platforms, Android, BlackBerry and iPhone,” Jackson explains. “From there if you are an exhibitor, you are able to upload information about your business, such as brochures and other technical information. As an event organiser we can put out information when the event starts, such as a floor plan or other information – simply taking the pain out of planning because you are always connected, and you can plan easily where you want to be – the bad thing is you have no excuses now if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“When you arrive you are given a badge with a QR code on it, which you can scan using your smartphone and then drag down information from stands, and also share information about yourself with exhibitors, and other guests – making it very easy to share information, and build up your own organised portfolio of what interests you at the show.”

The event social network

The central benefit is the app gives attendees more time to plan and target who they want to meet, while also giving guests a quick and reliable network to share contacts and information instantly. Jackson admits that business conferences and trade shows have always suffered from the issue of sharing information – with mountains of paperwork tricky to pass around, and uncomfortable to carry – not to mention the clear environmental waste.

“Essentially we are using a technological innovation to solve an age-old problem at an event, simply meaning for the first time exhibitors and guests can share information in an efficient and easy-to-use way,” Jackson explains. “It’s the first type of thing we have seen on the market which makes it so simple to share information – it works because people are familiar with apps, and that is uses a format that is commonly well known and there is a greater chance that people will use it. Apogee is the first event we are using the technology at and we hope that it will makes for a better experience for all – guest and exhibitor.”

A new trade show dawn is being ushered in, and all you need to network, gather and share information, is one electronic device – man’s new best friend. In the very near future planning for that trade show will be easier than ever, as all you will need to do is remember your smartphone, giving you more time to concentrate on who you want to connect with and what information you really need. Or at the very least, give you some extra time to plan those dinner reservations.

‘Action With Vision -Technology. Insight. Innovation’ will be at the Four Seasons Hotel, Canary Wharf, London on January 12th at 11:00 AM until 5:00 PM. For more information or to attend please go to