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Boring Tradeshow Conferences Have Evolved – Have You?

Four Mobile Tool Tips to Improve Your Tradeshow or Conference Experience

Tradeshow season is upon us. Freezing cold meeting rooms. Confusing hotel layouts. Too many new names and faces to remember. Messy handwritten notes on cocktail napkins. Bulky brochures. These are some of the things that may make you dread attending that upcoming tradeshow or industry conference. But if it’s been a while since you last donned an oh-so-flattering conference lanyard, you should know that event planners are leveraging cool new technology for mobile devices to help make your tradeshow experience more engaging, valuable and fun. Here are four mobile tools you should be using when you check in at your next convention center:

1. Download the Event Mobile App. It’s easy.

When you register, ask the event planner if they offer a conference mobile app. Many conferences are now partnering with providers such as Guidebook andCrowdCompass to offer their attendees the most up-to-date agenda, venue maps, speaker bios, exhibit hall info and more, all from your mobile device. Some apps allow you to customize your trade show schedule to help keep you organized and on track; others offer social media integration for quick postings. Forgoing the traditional conference program for a sleek e-agenda is better for the environment, too.

2. A Business Card Reader is Your New Best Friend.

Rather than stuffing countless business cards into your carry-on, only to lose them later in the black hole of your desk drawer, download a phone or tablet application that allows you to quickly collect and exchange contact information with your new networking buddies. Most apps have sophisticated text recognition for accuracy when scanning and work with popular CRM software. Check out apps such as LinkedIn’s CardMunch, Shape or Bump which also has photo sharing and chat functionality.

3. Note-Take Like a Pro.

Look around almost any meeting room today and you’ll see your prospects, clients and coworkers using a tablet. A conference session is no different. Tablets are lighter weight and less cumbersome than laptops, and get comparatively better battery life, which makes them a favorite for travelers. Tablets also enable you to browse convention materials and make notes silently during a session, without the little pitter-patter of keyboard strokes. Preparing post-trade show notes for your boss to justify your trip is a must, so why not make it more fun and easy with a tablet app? Functionality and pricing vary based on your preferences, but check out NoteTaker HD or Penultimate as examples.

4. Don’t Forget Your Quick Response Code Reader.

Originally designed for automotive industry use, Quick Repsonse (Or QR) codes can be scanned by numerous reader apps that are readily available for download.i-nigma and OptiScan even allow you to create your own QR codes. Advertisers have been using QR codes on signage to direct prospects to website landing pages or special online deals. Now, tradeshow and event planners have repurposed the matrix bar code functionality as a way to share presentation materials and execute electronic raffles with their meeting attendees. Ask exhibit hall vendors if they offer electronic product brochures via QR code rather than bulky trifolds.

All of these mobile tools were designed to save you time, keep you more organized, and make your conference experience more engaging. That way, you can spend your tradeshow time focused on making valuable new connections and brushing up on your product and industry knowledge. However, until there is an app fix that heats cold meeting rooms, you should still plan to pack a sweater or two…

If you ever wonder where the Q2ebanking team is, you can find a list of tradeshows and conferences we are attending here.

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