Do you need a mobile strategy for events?

Working in the mobile technology market I am frequently asked my opinion or questions about mobile technology, the mobile market, and, “How do we do mobile?”  As a contributor to this Event Industry Blog, I look forward to sharing these ideas and opinions with you, answering your questions, and helping our industry figure out the best ways to apply mobile technology to events and tradeshows.  So, for my first post on the subject, let’s start simple:  the smartphone market.  And there is no better place to start than talking about Apple and the new iPhone 4.

Apple continues to amaze me with these staggering numbers and their loyal following.  The first day the new iPhone 4 was available for pre-order, Apple and AT&T’s ordering system crashed because it could not accommodate the volume of demand.  However, over 600,000 orders still made it through!  Some of our staff and my youngest son were one of the lucky few that got their orders in on the first day and their phones recently showed up.  But here is the question:  What would the number of orders have been if Apple and AT&T’s systems had not failed?  Would they have gone over 1,000,000?  Smartphone technology is one of the fastest growing technologies in the market’s history.

A late 2008 statistic claimed seven out of ten people in a room would have a smartphone.  Today, when I meet with clients and do speaking engagements, I do a quick poll to see what the percentage is and, most times, around 90% of the audience has a smartphone or internet-ready phone.   Add this fact to the equation: Our mobile phones go everywhere with us and most are on 24 hours a day.  (What is the first thing everyone on a plane does when it lands?)  We are all addicted.   Staying connected, content in the palm of my hand, and the need for information right now is so powerful – that is what drives us to wait in lines to buy the latest new phone!

So, if you are not sure whether you need to have a mobile strategy for your next event, take a look around, do an informal poll in your next meeting, then starting planning.  If your audience, attendees, or members are smartphone-equipped, your organization has another opportunity and vehicle to connect with them.

Jay Tokosch is co-founder of Core-apps, developer of mobile applications for the trade show industry.

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