Due to the rising popularity of Foursquare, Gowalla and related apps, location based services (LBS) is quite the buzzword both in consumer and technology circles. Logically, the ability to “check in” at venues, connect with friends/associates and make new contacts has relevance to events and event planners.
Let’s highlight some of last week’s articles and blog postings on this topic.
Trade Show News Network
Michelle Bruno (@michellebruno) wrote an article in Trade Show News Network (@TSNN_com_US) titled “Checking Out ‘Checking In’ for Events“. The article references Foursquare and Gowalla and then profiles a technology provider named Double Dutch. According to its web site, Double Dutch provides “White label geolocation apps for your brand”.
Michelle references a key point regarding hybrid events, in which event planners support both physical and virtual venues. Michelle writes, “If a virtual event is also taking place, live attendees can check in at the online and offline events for more recognition”.
Tracking and supporting check-ins across physical and virtual locations can build a more cohesive and compelling hybrid event. In fact, it can serve to bridge the physical and virtual venues.
Virtual event platforms should look into this. In fact, I blogged about location based services and virtual events previously.
In Cisco’s Virtual Environments blog, Dannette Veale (@dveale) writes about virtual technologies that Cisco has incorporated into their Cisco Live (@CiscoLive) annual conference. The 2010 Cisco Live event concluded recently – the physical component was hosted in Las Vegas, while a virtual component ran concurrently.
Disclosure: My employer (@INXPO) provided the virtual platform for Cisco Live
Dannette describes an innovative use of Foursquare by Cisco Live’s event planners – a type of scavenger hunt, in which conference attendees received a clue (via social media channels) about a check-in location. The first 75 attendees to check in at that location (and complete an additional task) would receive buttons, which could be used to redeem a daily prize at the Cisco Store.
The contest generated 802 checkins and allowed conference attendees to network and make connections with one another.
SCVNGR, “a game about doing challenges at places”, this week announced the social check-in. Two or more users can bump phones (or, wave them at each other in close proximity) and check in at the same time and place. There are many ways event planners can leverage this technology.
In a trade show, attendees could be encouraged to perform social check-ins with each other – or, with exhibitors. In a user conference, the social check-in could be used as a back-drop to a game that encouraged attendees to network with one another. In a corporate setting, social check-ins could be used to encourage team building.
The concepts of “check ins”, location awareness and location tracking have natural uses for events. While they’re a great fit for physical events, think about tie-ins between physical and virtual for your hybrid event. And, think about ways in which “location tracking” (in a virtual event) can create connections, engagement and interaction.