Skip to site content
The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Be smart with smartphone technology

Shura Lindgren-Garnett, regional vice president of Global Spectrum

MPI’s Future Watch 2011 Survey indicates that more than 80 percent of meeting professionals use smartphones and other mobile devices such as tablets. Industry experts expect this number to grow as new competition drives down the cost of mobile devices.

With such a high rate of adoption, smartphone and tablet users are thirsty for ways to use their devices. Recent data from the International Data Corp (IDC) indicates that more than 10.9 billion apps had been downloaded at the end of 2010. The IDC predicts that by 2014 that number will grow to more than 76.9 billion. This staggering figure illustrates the consumer’s demand for meaningful apps and the desire to move away from traditional methods in favor of smartphones and tablet solutions.

Many app features build value to a meeting or tradeshow. Giving the impression of being at the forefront of technology, mobile apps for meetings and tradeshows are environmentally friendly, offer real-time information and ultimately enhance the attendee experience. Without the loads of paper associated with registration, programs, exhibit directories, sponsorship brochures and session handouts, meetings will be more sustainable and will lessen the load that attendees need to carry around and often ditch before the event is over.

As we all know, a meeting or a tradeshow lives and breathes and because of that is subject to loads of changes and updates. This makes printed materials often out of date before they’re distributed. Putting this all into a mobile app allows the information and changes to be instantly communicated and in real-time. Yeah!!!!  No more supplemental to the supplemental! These new capabilities ultimately enhance the value of a meeting or a tradeshow to the attendee while potentially saving meeting planners’ dollars by reducing costs.

Many companies would like to sell you an app for your event. With any high-growth industry, there are a lot of new kids on the block, which is both exciting and risky.

A few of the reputable companies with which many of our Global Spectrum venues are currently working include Bravura, Core-Apps, Ungerboeck Systems International and Swift Mobile. Each company has a quality product with unique features and has been in the marketplace long enough to have a solid client list and a great reputation.

An alternative to developing your own branded app is to partner with your venue. Many venues have their own venue specific app that event organizers can use at a fraction of the cost of developing their own. The venue app offers the same features listed above and also provides site-specific information related to the destination and venue. In today’s struggling economy this is a way to use this awesome technology affordably and without sacrificing quality.

You may not understand how a distributed antenna system works or the value of near field communications. Neither do I, but you can make your coworkers think you’re a tech guru by making the case for mobile meeting applications and their value to your meetings and events.

Shura Lindgren-Garnett is the regional vice president of Global Spectrum, a public assembly facility management company with more than 105 facilities internationally, including the United States, Canada, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The company hosts a variety of entertainment, sports, tradeshows, performing arts and other special events. Global Spectrum focuses on establishing partnerships with their venue owners and event organizers. Call 888-456-2599 or visit for more information.