By Stephane Doutriaux, Poken CEO
Our industry has no shortage of innovators and early adopters, who are happy to champion every new gadget that hits the shelves. While they do great work in paving the way, I’m personally not quite so gung-ho on all things shiny and new and always like to test the waters with key questions before I commit to anything new.
The key to event technology is comparing what it enhances, what it alters and what it diminishes. Often this comes back to how the technology fits with the natural behaviour of visitors, whether it solves a real problem and if it is obtrusive.
Google Glass, for example, was certainly shiny and new, but didn’t really answer a real need and, in my opinion, was a little too nerd chic. It didn’t enhance the event experience, and only seemed to make wearers look like suited up, sci-fi cos-players.
The iWatch seems to be the latest fad to hit the market. It’s subtle, unobtrusive and ‘glancable’, looks fine on any wrist and can be utilised with the minimum of involvement. This may not seem like such a big thing as we are all used to retrieving mobiles from our pockets, but let’s put it into the event context.
A quick look at your wrist while on the exhibition floor seems more natural and more social than taking out your mobile phone. And isn’t being social one of the main drivers of event attendance?
The ability to make the most out of your time on the event floor by networking and engaging with event materials in a non-obtrusive way seems like a winning combination to me.
It is still early days for iWatch. It has great features such as maps, calendars, music, mail, messenger apps and all the other usual gizmos. It also offers a Push notification service which informs attendees of keynote speakers, opportunities for them to engage in surveys and win prizes and well as detailed event schedule information. But will your event app work on iWatch?
Poken’s ‘My Event Pro’ app, which was developed by our partners at Quickmobile, is among the first in the industry to be compatible with the iWatch, however some mild customisation will be necessary.
It is still too early to give an across the board answer as to whether all event apps will be compatible, but we believe this is something that developers should certainly all be aiming for.
Until Apple releases its complete Apple Watch Software development kit in autumn 2015, most apps will not be able to take advantage of the device’s full potential. Also, while some functions are stand alone, most currently require a Bluetooth enabled iPhone. (Sorry iPad lovers, your babies are not yet supported).
The jury is still out on whether the iWatch is set to break numerous sales records and have the kind of market domination that sees it on every wrist on the show floor, but unlike many new gadgets in the event and meetings space, I believe the iWatch has some great features that can certainly enhance your event experience.
Time will tell.