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Tom McInerney

Tom McInerney
Director of Etherlive

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24 Sept 14

Taking a bite from the apple

Tom McInerney from Etherlive looks at the possible impact of the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch on the events industry.

Apple’s new product announcements certainly never lack on impact. The slick presentation and market-savviness of their campaigns make them a leader in whatever sector they device to play.

Although in many cases they haven’t been the originators of the product in the marketplace, their clean vision has enabled history to remember them defining the genre. The company is now a byword for exceptional creative capabilities, reliability and iconic design. The latter was born out of a shrewd decision to hire award-winning designer John Ives to rejuvenate the company’s portfolio, and one which has paid in dividends.

There is no doubt that the 2010 iPad launch captured the imagination of both the consumer and corporate alike. Certainly, for the conference delegate at least, it was a blessing, no more fan whirring, over-heating laptops, tap-tapping keyboards and clicking trackpads. It also had the benefit of being lightweight; easy to carry around on the tradeshow floor or the seminar exhibition area.

The announcement of the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch is even more reason to get excited as developers look to pack more punch in even smaller devices, a one-stop-shop for all needs. The latter promised to be a mini marvel: it’s essentially an extension of the handset with a screen that allows access to apps, information, maps and much more.

There’s so much potential, especially from the perspective of the conference organiser. The Apple Watch could be used to great effect on-site by event crews constantly on the move and in need of reliable and discreet communication devices.

Another area where Apple is also making a mark and one which links well with the development of their new watch is in Near Field Communications (NFC). Although it’s been available for a few years, Apple are driving awareness of the technology and offering a complete, comprehensive package for the platform. NFC facilitates a secure payment transaction. Many major providers such as Visa and Mastercard have been brought on board from day one.

There is a great appeal of bringing NFC into the meetings sector, it could revolutionise the registration and payment processes going forward. The watch itself also opens up the possibility of using it to procure/transfer data, supplying key information and updates to delegates as well as providing up-to-the minute analytical data from the conference floor.

Of course, all this will take time to penetrate the market and, all possible teething problems will need to be ironed out before its impact can be truly evaluated. Our sector for its part needs to become more fleet-of-foot in its adoption of new technologies and be a little more adventurous its approach. As delegates become more technologically aware, we must strive to stay up to speed or we will fall behind.

Any comments? Email Zoe Vernor
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