This month’s event tech summary is big on apps! Google has announced that it will take on Facebook’s event functionality with a new social networking tool – while a new industry study unveils some of the most popular event app features used by attendees. We look at a cool new app that removes people from photographs – a potential solution to the challenges of managing event photography under GDPR. We also look at some other game-changing networking tools for both organisers and attendees, as well as a host of new apps that make it easier for you to collaborate, plan and manage events.
Have a look at what you may have missed:
The Verge: Meet Shoelace, Google’s New Social Networking App
Google has announced this month that it will be launching a new social networking app ‘Shoelace’ aimed at organising local events and activities. People can use it by listing their interests in the app, allowing it to recommend a series of ‘hand-picked’ local activities which it calls ‘Loops’. Users can also set up profiles to share information about themselves, as well as learn more about others. They can organise their own events and use the tool’s map interface to view and RSVP to other people’s Loops.
Shoelace’s soft-launch comes just months after Google shut down Google+, its most prominent attempt at building a social media platform. However, rather than trying to create a new all-encompassing social network to rival the likes of Facebook, Shoelace seems to have much more modest ambitions that take aim at Facebook’s ubiquitous Events functionality. What is also interesting is that the app is all about encouraging people to meet face-to-face – part of a larger effort by Google to address concerns that smartphones and other modern technology are having a negative impact on mental health. Read more.
TechCrunch: At Last – A Camera That Automatically Removes All People from Your Photos
Managing event photography in a GDPR-compliant way is still one of the top questions event planners have about the European data protection regulation that came into effect last year. We covered the topic last month – Events, Meetings and GDPR: Your Top Questions Answered – where one of our industry’s leading GDPR experts shed some light into the matter with advice on what organisers can and can’t do – especially when people have said no to having their picture taken.
A new app, however, offers another interesting solution. Unveiled this month, Bye Bye Camera is an art project led by a community of artists which allows you to remove any human from the photos you take. The app uses some of the AI tools that are already out there in the world of research – including YOLO (You Only Look Once). This very efficient object classifier can quickly denote the outline of a person, and then another tool performs what Adobe calls ‘context-aware fill’. Between the two, the person in the photo is reliably deleted from any picture you take and credibly filled in by background. Read more.
Event Industry News: New Research Reveals Pros and Cons of Investing in Event Apps
A new research study has found that engaging attendees is the top reason 81% of organisations are using event apps but difficulties in measuring ROI, low adoption rates and the complexity of launching apps are still limiting efforts. The study also found that despite a 50-75% attendee adoption rate for most event apps, two-thirds of organisers don’t see any value in using apps once the event is over.
Perhaps one of the most interesting findings is the list of app features that attendees seem to value the most. Information on sessions and speakers topped the list, followed by personalised agendas and calendar synching. Other popular features include maps and floor plans, live polling, networking tools and push notifications. How organisers market event apps is another area that the study investigated. Email campaigns are seen as the most effective promotion channel for 91% of event planners, followed by event websites (64%) and social media (40%). Read more.
The Independent: The Game-Changing App That Could Transform the Way You Network
Making valuable professional connections can be a lot harder than it sounds. You know it. Your attendees know it. Perhaps you’re embarking on a new project and your existing circle isn’t within the right field. Or perhaps a person is curious in meeting people and attending events that help broaden their professional horizons – but they have no idea where to begin. Whatever it might be, Shapr, could help.
With 2.5 million users worldwide, this networking app is ushering in a new way for professionals to network. By combining factors such as geographic proximity, self-selected interests, goals and work experience, Shapr provides users with a personalised daily selection of up to 15 people which can be anonymously swiped through, receiving a notification if the interest to connect is mutual. Then, matches can message one another to set time to meet, whether that’s to brainstorm over coffee, chat about ideas over the phone or attend an industry event together. It’s dead easy to use too – simply sign up with your email or LinkedIn profile. Read more.
NorthStar Meetings Group: 6 Event Apps to Enhance Your Next Meeting
Want to improve your productivity, work more effectively with colleagues and please your event’s stakeholders? Well, here are some apps that can help you do just that. The first featured in this article is Voicea – a personal virtual assistant for meetings and events. It takes notes, creates meeting summaries and funnels action items to other apps and platforms. For example, it can remind you to send a presentation deck to your colleague next week and add that to your calendar in real-time.
Another useful app is Otter – which has been developed specifically to record and transcribe meetings. The app processes speech to create instantaneous transcriptions and therefore, a searchable record of verbal interactions, whether by phone or in person. You can also assign different access levels and responsibilities to team members who can then share live conversations with others in the group. Other apps in the article focus on productivity, including Taskade, which can be adapted for event planning teams. The app allows you to add tasks to a shared workspace, edit them in real-time, as well as assign deadlines. Read more.
MeetingsNet: New Survey Released at MPI WEC on Attendee and Planner Preferences
The ‘2019 Meeting Room of the Future’ report published by the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) has found that data security is becoming much more important in our industry. The findings show that 27% of event planners see cybersecurity as the greatest technological priority for them in the next few years, while 76% are concerned about cybersecurity as they implement any new technology.
If there is one thing that GDPR has achieved over the past year, it is that the ownership and responsibility for data protection and security now rests on everyone – and organisers are becoming more and more aware. The volume of personal information we collect in our industry is a potential goldmine for hackers. And doing things that minimise the chances of your attendee data getting into the wrong hands not only helps with GDPR compliance. It also gives your attendees confidence that you are on the case and looking after them properly. But it’s not just about cybersecurity. There are many day-to-day things you may be doing as an organisers that can easily put your data under serious risk of breach. Things like sharing system passwords and emailing delegate lists. Not briefing freelancers properly, losing devices and using open Wi-Fi networks. These are just some examples but there are many more. Read more.
Would you like similar tech round-ups delivered straight to your inbox each month? Why not sign up to our EventTech Talk newsletter for tips, updates and research reports on all the latest technology and marketing trends shaping the events industry today.