Case Study: Host Cities, Dubai 2015

Case Study: Host Cities, Dubai 2015

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 5.49.04 pmBACKGROUND

The 4th annual Host Cities summit was recently held in Dubai. The event, which attracted over 200 industry decision makers, also featured ShowGizmo as their official app provider. The use of ShowGizmo helped Host Cities organisers to overcome several challenges they had faced in previous years. Most notably organisers stressed a desire to extend the shelf life of their event, increase ROI and encourage higher attendance at event sessions.


The 4th annual Host Cities Summit was the first time organisers had opted to use a mobile app at their event. Organisers stressed a desire to increase the shelf life of their event by encouraging online conversation before, during and after the event.

It was realised that attendees needed a unified platform where they could receive event notifications, access speaker presentations, give live feedback, engage with one another and network.

In previous years event organisers also struggled with ensuring attendees were aware and attending scheduled sessions throughout the two day Summit.

Host Cities organisers also hoped to increase ROI opportunities by finding inventive new ways to obtain sponsorships.


ShowGizmo partnered with Host Cities to provide the official event app for the 2015 Summit in Dubai. The ShowGizmo platform offered Host Cities with a unified channel where their delegates could network and engage pre, during and after the event – thus increasing its shelf life. Since the events conclusion on the 19th of November 24% of delegates have continued to use ShowGizmo to network.

ShowGizmo’s schedule feature allows users to create their own agenda and be notified when sessions are due to begin.

The ShowGizmo platform allowed Host Cities organisers to increase ROI through new sponsorship opportunities. These new opportunities included banners within the event feed and logos within exhibitor profiles. Host Cities opted to include their own branded banner within the event feed, thus increasing their brand visibility throughout their delegate’s mobile experience.


  • 24% of attendees continue to use ShowGizmo to network post event
  • The app encouraged networking between delegates with 31% of attendees time in the app spent interacting with one another in the ‘people’ feature
  • 26% of in app time spent interacting with schedule feature ensuring attendees maximised their event experience
  • 82% of delegates downloaded and used the app
Tech predictions for 2016

Tech predictions for 2016

Hi, I’m Ben. I’ve been CTO at ShowGizmo for about 75 hours. It’s an amazing time to be getting into this industry – smartphone hardware is really starting to get sophisticated and people are starting to get their heads around what’s possible and build some brilliantly innovative stuff on top of it. For me personally it’s a privilege to be able to work with the ShowGizmo team and technology partners like Crowdmics.

Julius Solaris’ roundup of the trends he sees being big in the event industry in 2016 was a great primer for me and is a must read for anyone who’s working in this area. Some of the themes he identifies are of particular interest as we think about our feature roadmap for 2016. There’s some technology out there which will give us great features on its own, but it’s when you start to look at making mashups of some of these technologies that it really gets exciting.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been at Ignite (formerly Microsoft TechEd), or another conference, where I’ve been dithering in the hallway not knowing which talk from the n which I wouldn’t mind seeing this session to go to. Or I’ve turned up on time to a popular session… and it’s been full. How good would it be if the app said “Hey, you’re outside the session on security and the internet of things. Someone’s streaming it. Want to take a look?”. Microlocation, using one of the new breed of beacon + sensors + wifi + anything else that the device can find technologies, plus Periscope or Meerkat, and this is a reality.

Digital swagbags plus cashless payment plus NFC equals lots of downloads and happy attendees. Download the app and get the delegate discount on the ipad, seamlessly.

Mapping and microlocation, teamed up with our existing personalised schedule, opens up the reality of pushing useful reminders to attendees – “Time to head to Ballroom 1 for Ivan’s session”. Microlocation also gives us some exciting possibilities around auto-checkin – are your attendees actually going to the sessions they said they were going to? Are they staying for the whole session? Should they be getting professional credit for attending? Add social media to the microlocation cocktail and you’re able to start telling attendees where their friends are, so I won’t have to decipher “nxt 2 bar. cnt c u?” to meet my mates at the afterparty, which will make me happy.

We’ll be taking a look at wearables too and seeing how we can make use of those to enhance the eventgoing experience. Notifications is the obvious choice but that covers a lot of things – including but not limited to, a more natural way of delivering reminders to leave for sessions and telling you that someone you’ve made a note to talk to is at the next booth.

Corbin Ball’s trends for 2016 has some great stuff in it too and he rightly picks up on the fact that event apps are going to be delivering a lot more in the way of analytics. With the increasing amounts of data we’ll be able to collect (microlocation being just one part of that) we’ll be in a position to provide event organisers with increasingly sophisticated insights into who and what their attendees are engaging with, and how.  And our Customer Services team will continue to develop the analyses and frameworks to help you know the ‘So What’ about that data – what to do with your sophisticated insights to be make your events more awesome.

VR and AR are right at the top of Corbin’s list. From our point of view the technology isn’t something we can integrate with yet, and I’m wondering how these technologies will work on the show floor. We don’t yet seem to be at the point where they enhance the event experience, we’re still at the stage where they interrupt it. But you can be sure that we’ll be watching developments in this space and constantly thinking about how we can make use of whatever emerges. My pick is that the next generation of Cardboard or Hololens will give us tools which will let us look at creating a whole new set of experiences – immersive ones – for eventgoers.

So the technologies that I’m excited about for the the first half of the year at least are Microlocation, Maps, and Microphones, followed by the slightly more nebulous Mashups. We’ve got the opportunity to integrate some cutting edge stuff and produce fantastic experiences. I’m fired up about delivering some killer features in 2016.

Ben is CTO at ShowGizmo. He likes clean code, apps which don’t make him think, and not having to read text messages at after parties.

Events on the Edge Part 2 – choosing event tech

Events on the Edge Part 2 – choosing event tech

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 5.54.30 pm

After a week on the show floor at #ExpoExpo I’ve learnt two things. Shows for show people are the same the world over!  And, despite our reputation as innovators, it’s clear we Kiwis are not the fastest off the block in our uptake of new technologies at our events.  This show had an app, a contact management system, social walls and more.

Unlike other key industries in New Zealand like agriculture and financial services that are constantly breaking new ground, our love of technology is much less apparent in the events sector. Month on month, ShowGizmo supports more events in Australia, the UK, the US and the Middle East than in New Zealand. Tellingly, our tech partners also report that moving organisers from their existing systems to newer/shinier/better ones is exceptionally hard. Social media is still an event innovation, gamification is mostly confined to ‘scan to win’ and ‘events as communities’ is a concept only really exemplified by the larger branding agencies with corporate clients.

Perhaps this is because relationships between event managers and clients are so well established; it’s harder to get new technologies over the line. Or because we’re scared to try something new in case it doesn’t work, and everyone (remember we’re separated by only TWO degrees!) will think we failed. Or simply because our rate of smartphone adoption was behind many other places for some years, our data speeds were and remain slower (only a few cities are even now on 4G) and our data costs are exorbitant.

Whatever the reason, or combination of reasons, we have some catching up to do. There are exciting times ahead though. Over the next decade, more than $2 million a year is slated to be spent to almost double the economic spinoff from Auckland’s business events sector to $430 million annually. It’s a critical investment; a bigger events industry will help tackle the problem of seasonality where tourist operators are not busy year round, and if Auckland secured just one percent of the events currently held in Australia, its conference sector would be boosted by 10 percent.  With more certainty we hope there’s more capacity to be brave and experiment with the new technologies available to us — not just the homegrown ones, but the global variety too.

Our strategy for working with companies hesitant to integrate new technologies into their events is to help them think holistically. Sure, we evangelise the many ways in which having a mobile app will increase an event’s ROI (naturally!!), but we also completely understand the need to manage the introduction of new technologies carefully and to understand the implications of each proposed adoption.  As a tech company ourselves we face the same challenges — which new systems to bring in, how to future proof etc.  It’s not easy, but here are three thoughts to leave you with:

                   Keep it in perspective.

Technology is just technology, its primary function is an enabler, so go back to first principles and think about what you’re trying to achieve. Reach more people?  Retain more?  Increase delivery efficiencies?  Make your team happier?  Put the competition in its place by demonstrating a unique value proposition? Every one of those objectives will have many different ways they can be achieved, and using tech might be only one option and possibly not even the best.  At ShowGizmo, we’ve always said that event apps are first and foremost highly versatile communications tools. In that context, what matters is what you want to communicate and to whom. If all you want is to communicate a simple message to a small audience, it may be that a simple -a low-tech whiteboard would be the right solution … and I can’t believe I just said that!

                     Think holistically.

It’s important that your systems talk to each other. In this day and age there’s no reason why not. If they don’t, get rid of the one that’s the island and always check out what integrations are standard when reviewing new tech.

              Go for quality every time.

You want the best, so ask for references, review the standards of other events your suppliers are supporting, etc.  Don’t go for a one-solution-with-everything-in-it and risk sinking to the lowest common tech denominator.  A brilliant event app might include a lack-lustre ticketing system as a bolt on; a slick and powerful registration system may have a ho-hum mobile app that’s not even really an app included in the package.

ShowGizmo acquires Feathr’s mobile app business

ShowGizmo acquires Feathr’s mobile app business

feather + SG

ShowGizmo, the leading event app company in Australasia has acquired Feathr’s ‘mobile apps for events’ business portfolio. The partnership comes as ShowGizmo continues to move into the American market.

Over the past year Feathr has repositioned themselves, focussing their business more on their event analytics and digital advertising. Feathr co-founder, Aidan Augustin felt that ShowGizmo was the perfect partner to acquire their mobile app business, he said, “they [ShowGizmo] provide top-notch customer service and continue adding new features at an aggressive clip.”

The acquisition has come during an exciting time for ShowGizmo who are currently expanding into the U.S. market. Their market expansion has lead to several new additions to their team, most recently the appointment of several new positions including, VP, Head of Production and Client Services and CTO.

ShowGizmo’s CEO, Marie-Claire Andrews said, “Our partnership with Feathr has helped accelerate our presence in the competitive U.S market space,” she added, “we are also delighted and looking forward to be working with new clients.”

The International Association of Fire Chiefs recent event, ‘Symposium in the Sun’ was one of Feathr’s first clients to use ShowGizmo under the recent acquisition. Event organiser, Chief Shane Crutcher, experienced great success with ShowGizmo building on previous successful years with Feathr. All of ShowGizmo’s acquired Feathr clients have so far experienced a positive reaction from delegates – recording an average 75% app uptake to date.


ShowGizmo appoints a new CTO: Ben Amor

ShowGizmo appoints a new CTO: Ben Amor

ShowGizmo, the leading event app in Australasia, is delighted to announce the appointment of our new Chief Technology Officer, Ben Amor.

Ben’s appointment comes well timed with ShowGizmo’s most recent product update, launching their best-of-breed schedule features. It is also part of the company’s commitment to building a world class team, having recently appointed a new VP of Global Strategic Alliances and Head of Production and Client Services to support the expansion into the US.

Ben’s experience leading teams with several internationally renowned tech companies including global accounting software company, Xero and New Zealand’s most famous start up, Trademe, will be invaluable for ShowGizmo as they continue to expand on the global stage.

Chief Executive, Marie-Claire Andrews said “I’m exceptionally proud of our development team and the product they’ve built to date, which is being used by hundreds of thousands of happy event goers around the world. With Ben’s appointment and his leadership, the sky is the limit!”

Ben said, “Marie-Claire’s put together a world-class team and a great app, and I’m stoked to have the opportunity to work with them and to be a part of the next phase of Showgizmo’s growth journey,” he added, “The company has a strong commitment to building quality product and that’s reflected in the investment that’s being made in development capability and technology.”

Ben will officially begin his role as ShowGizmo, CTO on 30th November however he has already been working alongside his team as they prepare for their 7.0 app update, he said, “I’ve already started working with the team to build on the strong technical foundations they’ve laid and I’m looking forward to helping them scale up and deliver more awesome features in 2016 and beyond.”