Category Archives: Apps

Reduce your stress levels with our August webinars!

If you find organising Wi-Fi at your event confusing and stressful or you could benefit from some practical advice on making the most of an event app, then look no further than the webinars we have planned for you this August.

Webinar 1: Stressed out with Wi-Fi when using event apps?
Thursday 10th August, 11am – 11:20am BST

Hosts: Caroline Perriam & Joe Probert.

The number one barrier that our clients hit when trying to use event apps at their meetings is Wi-Fi. In this webinar our app consultants, Caroline and Joe, will share guidance on:

1. Assessment: How to take the stress out of discussing Wi-Fi with a venue and simple questions to ask that will determine suitability
2. Augmentation: What we can do to enhance a Wi-Fi network
3. Alternatives: A look at other engagement technology available if venue Wi-Fi is not up to scratch

To register for Webinar 1 please click here.

Webinar 2: 4 Event App FAQs – All aboard the Crystal life raft!
Thursday 24th August, 11am – 11:20am BST

Hosts: Dominic Freeman & Rob Curtis.

Captain Freeman and Commander Curtis at HMS Crystal, are here to throw you a life raft and stop you drowning in a sea of event app best practices. With over 25 years combined experience our two seafarers will guide you through choppy seas to calmer waters by covering 4 of the most commonly asked questions when implementing and deploying event apps…

1. How do I make my speaker presentations and panel sessions more engaging?
2. When should I kick start my meeting and energise my audience?
3. Why is no one using the app I have spent months building?
4. What do delegates think of my event?

To register for Webinar 2 please click here.

Our secrets revealed in our Event App Masterclass!

We were delighted to host our latest Masterclass at the stunning etc.venues Fenchurch Place yesterday.  Over 40 event professionals joined us to hear from our team of experts and gain valuable insight into how to successfully manage your event app before, during and after the event.

After some healthy vegetable smoothies and not so healthy croissants, MD Chris Elmitt introduced the Masterclass and gave away some top tips on how to familiarise delegates with event app technology.

The team focused on how meeting owners can encourage early adoption of event apps and increase download rates, and guided guests through a ‘best practice’ design and build schedule for their app.  We also covered areas such as managing the app at an event and how to keep the conversation going once the event is over.

Guests tested Crystal’s products first hand with live demo’s and interacted with the technology throughout, coming together at the end for an interactive group discussion using Crystal’s Collaborate tool.

We were thrilled to receive some great feedback from our attendees, with guests summing up the event in the word cloud below.

If you’d like to attend our October Masterclass please click here.  If you can’t wait that long then please join us for our forthcoming webinars:

10th August – Stressed out with event WiFi?  Understanding, overcoming and troubleshooting for event success. Click here to register.

24th August – Drowning in a sea of event technology?  Jump on the Crystal life raft! Click here to register.

How to ace polling and Q&A in large events and conferences

If you are looking for advice on how best to deliver live polling and Q&A at your larger events and conferences, our webinar is for you.

With multiple streams, large audiences, WiFi connectivity and numerous stakeholders to juggle, there are a lot of moving parts with large meetings and conferences.

Co-hosted with our partners at Meetoo, our 20 minute webinar shares some useful tips to help you get the most out of event technology, maximise engagement and ensure everything goes smoothly on the day.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

– Practical tips for maximising the value of Meetoo and ensuring success
– How a self-service tool like Meetoo can benefit from additional professional services
– How to guarantee audience engagement and satisfaction

Join us on Wednesday 28 June at 11am BST (UTC+1) or click here for your timezone.

Your hosts for this event are Chris Elmitt, Managing Director at Crystal Interactive and Dermott Madden, Customer Success Manager at Meetoo.

Interested? Register now.

If you cannot attend on the day you can still register and we will send you the recording.

We look forward to sharing our ideas with you.

7 Questions

7 Questions To Ask Your Conference App Provider

Not all conference app providers service and app are created and deployed equally.

If you care about your event and delegate engagement you will realise that a carefully curated conference app can enhance event messages, stimulate involvement and improve outcomes.

Crystal care about the organiser and delegate experience, and understand how to create and deploy an app to ensure high levels of delegate engagement.

Call us now on 020 3176 2000 and find out how Crystal Interactive answer these questions to deliver the best conference app experience possible.

1. When will delegates download the app?

We all lead very busy work and personal lives. Many people only focus on the next task or meeting, moments before they need to. Delegates are no different. They’ll have the date and venue in their calendar, maybe have thought how they are getting there, and not worry about much else.

In general, delegates don’t download conference apps in advance unless they have an incentive. Quite often a delegate won’t bother to download the app at all.

2. What size will the app be?

App file size is an issue when considering download times and available space on delegate devices. The bigger the app the longer it takes to download. Fine if you are online at home on a fast line, but a completely different experience at a conference venue with several hundred other people all using the same bandwidth.

3. What permissions does the app need to install?

Some conference apps request lots of permissions from the delegate/ device in order to be installed, this is incredibly off putting for delegates and will stop delegates installing the app.

Worse, does the app get installed from an unauthorised place – meaning different from an app store. No sensible mobile user wants to install an app from an unauthorised place.

4. Is venue WiFi and internet fast enough to support the app?

If delegates don’t download the app in advance, they will try downloading during registration or when prompted during the event itself. The venue WiFi and Internet bandwidth will be put under severe strain at this time. If the WiFi goes slow, delegates will give up trying to install the app and/ or will miss a vote or interaction.

5. Who handles the content and project management of your app?

Content management and version control can be a major time sink in the pre event phase.

Someone has to input the content and work out how the features are going to be used and the event flow. Who handles this?

6. How easily and quickly can I update event content in the app?

Some changes to the app will be quick and easy, other changes to the app could require the delegate to download the app again. Find out about the key content of your app and what the impact will be of adding, amending or removing for the following:

App text

Delegates/ Speakers/ Agenda items

Votes and Ask Questions

Slides/ PDFs/ Video

Features

7. How secure is your app?

Most apps are hosted online, so data passing between the app and the online server could be intercepted and read. Will the app contain personal or commercially sensitive data? What are your client’s data security requirements? And how does your supplier mitigate or prevent snooping or data loss?

Find Out About Our Approach

Call us now on 020 3176 2000 and find out how Crystal Interactive answer these questions to deliver the best conference app experience possible.

Let The Games App Continue Image

Let The Games App Continue

Games are big business. Gartner predicts the video game industry will have worldwide sales of $111 billion in 2015. Mobile games are the fastest growing segment and next year sales of $22 billion are forecast.

By comparison, Hollywood’s global box office takings were $36 billion in 2013 according to Hollywood Reporter.

People love playing games and this is especially true of delegates.

Collaborative and Engaging Games

We provide multi player, collaborative and engaging Games Apps to events.

I’m excited to say we’ve just released a new version of our successful Driving Games App. The objective is for the delegates using their iPad minis to control the speed and direction of a vehicle as it takes a journey from A to B as quickly as possible. On route, the audience needs to avoid obstacles such as cows and cones.

The new version adds the additional elements of keeping energy levels topped up and, if the vehicle crashes, calling out the support car. These new elements encourage greater involvement and teamwork. And they underline the need for collaboration and good timing and are key factors to game success.

Keep Games Simple and Fun

Why are our Games Apps so well received?

My colleague Jon Timms highlighted 3 key reasons: collaboration, fun with learning and participation in his excellent blog.

The other key ingredient is simplicity. I remember the first mobile game I played was Snake. The concept and controls were simple and intuitive. The addictive gameplay meant I kept coming back trying to beat my best score again and again.

When I think how I interact with my favourite mobile games now they only require 1 or 2 screen taps to play. This philosophy of simple interaction enabling satisfying gameplay is at the core of our Games Apps. This means delegates with no experience quickly understand the objective and how to play.

Gamification

Gamification is a hot topic in the workplace. We are exploring how individual and team rewards and bonuses can improve interaction and engagement with our apps. Event outcomes can be enhanced by rewarding delegates leaving them with a sense of achievement post event.

Play A Game At Your Next Event

We have the knowledge, gaming experience and passion to make your Games App come to life. We will provide your delegates with an Event App experience like no other.

Contact Lindsay on 020 3176 2000 or by email on lpowles@crystal-interactive.co.uk for more information.

Games App Image

Games App Drives Engagement

Engaging delegates is key to a successful event – and playing a collaborative games app is highly engaging.

According to the Entertainment Software Association 62% of gamers play with others, either in-person or online. So take advantage of the social and collaborative benefits of playing games at your next event. Having some fun will create a good atmosphere which in turn will improve outcomes.

You’re In The Driving Seat

Recently, I designed a custom Driving games app to encourage teamwork between 180 delegates.

The games app splits delegates into 2 teams, 1 group controlling steering with the other in charge of acceleration and braking. The aim of the game is for a car, controlled by the delegates, to reach company HQ in the fastest time possible whilst avoiding obstacles. The moving car is displayed in realtime on the mainscreen as delegates, using iPad minis, control the car’s direction and speed.

The games app was created to be a metaphor for how the company needs good teamwork to be successful. The delegates were so engaged with the games app they instinctively shouted encouragement to one another as they worked together to achieve the goal. The Driving games app worked so well they were eager to play again and beat their time.

One enthusiastic delegate said, “I haven’t played a computer game in years, much less a multi player game live at a conference – now that’s a first. The game itself was great fun, we had to work together to complete the journey and when we tried it for a second time, we smashed our previous time. What a result!”

Here are 3 reasons to use a games app at your event:

1. Collaborate

Having a collective goal encourages delegates to work together to achieve the desired objective. For example, working together to steer and accelerate a digital car ensures collaboration.

2. Learn and Have Fun

A games app provides fun whilst enabling a memorable learning experience for delegates. A games app can provide an enduring moment at the event remembered long after the delegates have left.

3. Participate

No matter how little experience a delegate has playing games our app makes it easy for everyone to participate. We accomplish this using simple and intuitive game play.

Play a Games App at Your Next Event

The Crystal team know how to deliver a games app to engage and delight your delegates.

Play a games app to give your delegates an engaging and unforgettable event moment. Our games apps are entertaining, easy to deploy, have great game play and are budget friendly.

Find out more about our games apps here and call us now.

Update on 1 October 2014: Read Ed’s blog about version 2 of the Driving Games App: Let The Games App Continue.

Update on 29 October 2014: Our collaborative Driving Game Engine is shortlisted for the Eventia Innovation Award.

Update on 28 November 2014: The Driving Game Engine receives Highly Commended in the Award for Innovation category at the Eventia Awards.

Eventia Award for Innovation Highly Commended Certificate Crystal Interactive

Silent Auctions

The Future Of Silent Auctions

The evolution of silent auctions has been staggering. From pen and paper with runners through to tablets and bidding stations. The technological progress is mind-boggling. This progress has had a huge impact on fundraising for charities.

The pace is being driven by innovative companies challenging the status quo, and with 300 events to our name each year, we’re quite comfortable predicting the future role of technology at events.

Smartphones and fundraising

Let’s look at the facts; 70% of the population own smartphones and 70% of donations on JustGiving come through smartphones. This tells us people are comfortable using smartphones to raise money for charity.

Smartphones and events

Although 70% of the population own smartphones, the demographic of guests at our events actually puts that closer to 90%. Put differently, for 10 guests sat around one of your dinner tables, 9 have a smartphone in their pocket!

Think of this as a ninefold increase in the number of individuals who are able to take part in the auction compared to before.

Dismiss the myth!

Myth: Smartphones distract guests from the event.

Truth: Honestly, if your guests are looking at their phones, then I’m afraid there’s something going wrong with the event!

Smartphones are used to access the Internet more than they are used to make phone calls. This means your guests are making a conscious decision to buy a device that allows them to be connected to the Internet for longer periods throughout the day. Instead of resisting what is a growing behaviour, capitalise on what is now second nature.

Get social!

Smartphones give us easy access to the Internet, which gives us easy access to being social! Smartphones and social go hand in hand. You may remember this infamous selfie at the Oscars earlier this year. Two million people retweeted Ellen’s selfie, demonstrating tweeting is simply part and parcel of a new way of communicating – so don’t get left behind.

Make social media part of the smartphone and event offering.

Silent auctions and smartphones

I’m not saying mobile is the only answer, because it’s not. However, offering guests the ability to access your silent auction site – even before the event – on their own devices democratises your silent auction. It gives more guests access to the auction and consequently increases the number of guests who can take part in the action. Crucially, it’s completely risk free and doesn’t cost any more money! It’s a genuine example of a win-win.

Get in touch with me, Mark Robertson, to find out more about our smartphone and iPad silent auction service Giving Live.

References

Mobile Marketing, 2014

Marketing Magazine, 2013

JustGiving PDF, 2013

Daily Mail, May 2013

Event Technology

5 More Reasons Our Event Technology Is The Best (Part 2)

In the second part of my two part post, I identify another 5 key reasons why Crystal Event Technology is the best available for event owners and their delegates.

In this post, I focus mainly on our engineering and server performance and scalability.

1. Continuous Improvement

We strive to offer our clients the latest and greatest new Event Technology features.

So when we find a feature or process that really works at an event we package it and include it as a module or enhancement in the next release.

We aim to do major releases every 4 weeks, but in the fast paced world of events, it’s been known to be every 2 weeks!

2. Capacity for 30+ online events and 30+ local servers at the same time

Our Event Apps run on our own online and offline servers, supported directly by our team of engineers. And just in case of any problems, we have their mobile numbers on speed dial!

3. Apps hosted all year round and inside our clients’ networks

An Event App is not just for the event.

A growing trend is for our clients’ apps to be hosted all year round. Our Deploy Anywhere Event Technology allows us to support private apps hosted within our customers organisations and behind external firewalls allowing the highest security and governance of our clients’ data.

4. Our Event Technology Servers are Virtual Event Appliances (VEAPs)

Every Event App needs a server that acts as a hub for all of the connected devices to exchange data and content.

Each Crystal event is created as a virtual appliance meaning that the event app server is completely dedicated to the client and event. The key advantage of the Virtual Event Appliance (VEAP) is that an Event App is built on our very latest, pre-tested environment.

The benefits of this approach are that we can reliably construct amazing, high performance Event Apps that are secure and keep all data private to that client.

5. Reliable deployment of changes right up to the event

Virtual Event Appliances (VEAPs) allow us to host an Event App online and then transfer the entire Event App efficiently and reliably to a local server for the actual event. This is one of the reasons why Crystal are best placed to accommodate client reviews and change requests right up to the event itself.

Use The Best

To find out more about our scalable, robust and best ever Event App technology please get in touch with me on 020 3176 2000 or drop me a line by email.

Read Part 1 of my blog post here.

Crystal Event App Technology - Conference App

5 Reasons Crystal Event App Technology Is The Best (Part 1)

It’s easy to spot the great interface design and powerful features in our Event Apps but there’s also a lot of clever technology under the bonnet. In the first of a two part post, I explain some of the key reasons why Crystal Event App Technology is best in breed.

1. Designed for Vote Now

Over the years we have found that one of the biggest challenges for interactive software is handling the Vote Now scenario where hundreds of people all push the Submit button at once.

Our Event App Technology has been designed from the ground up to handle Vote Now scenarios for several thousand devices.

2. Great Team of Engineers

Apart from our excellent graphic designers and app developers we have a team of 5 highly skilled software engineers working on the core technology constantly improving Crystal Event App features, performance and security.

3. Enterprise Security

Unnecessary security can often be at odds with a great delegate experience and not all events require it. But security isn’t an afterthought for us.

Our Event App Technology is built to enterprise security standards and has been designed to conform to the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) 2013 standard for unauthenticated web threats, plus we offer a multitude of options that determine how users securely authenticate through the login process.

4. High Performance Event App Technology

Our apps push the design and performance limits of our iPads and network and are built using the same real-time communication technology proven by Facebook and Twitter.

Unfortunately real world public and mobile networks, firewall filters, plus a zoo of legacy smart phones and desktop browsers conspire to break apps (and not just ours). That’s why we like to use our own kit wherever possible.

Fortunately for Bring Your Own Device events and tricky network conditions we can quickly tune the app to ensure that all the features keep working at the optimum performance for the environment.

5. Works Offline

It can be difficult and costly to network large spaces reliably so we have developed an offline capability that allows our web apps to operate in areas where there is no WiFi coverage. This allows us, for example, to capture surveys and feedback when offline then synchronising the inputs when the delegates return online (usually in plenary).

Use the Best

We work hard to ensure that our Event App Technology provided to our clients is the best as well as tried and tested. You can trust us to make sure you and your delegates have an amazing Event App experience.

Read Part 2 of my blog post here.