Event organizers and planners have for years tried to get a better handle on the effectiveness of meetings. There's also been an ongoing push to make events more valuable to attendees by getting them more involved with the content via things like voting on conference topics and post-session surveys.
But a lot of that manual and one-way communication is all so 20th century, according to Certain Software, a SaaS-based provider of event management software. The company released its Certain Meetings 6.0 this week that includes a Certain Mobile application for mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry), giving attendees access to real-time event information, such as changes in the schedule, speakers or dinner venue.
The application also lets attendees provide feedback to speakers and event management, while also saving on the expense and management of the paper-based forms traditionally distributed at events.
"Typically, attendees at a meeting are passive, but now we're giving them a way to provide immediate feedback on everything from event logistics to meals to the quality of the hall," Peter Micciche, CEO of Certain Software, told InternetNews.com, adding that the application lets event planners determine what level of feedback they want. "We're all becoming empowered consumers and attendees sitting at a meeting now have a voice too."
Certain Meetings 6.0 also integrates with Google analytics giving event planners ready access to stats on Web activity related to the event site to get a better handle on what's working and what isn't.
The software can also be used to help manage virtual events. "The economic downturn has affected travel budgets and so a lot of companies have embraced virtual meetings," said Micciche. "We see that as a complementary and a permanent addition to the event business and we support it."
For attendees, features include instant voting capability that could occur, for example, at any point in a presentation and the ability to create personalized meeting agendas. Certain Meetings also automatically shuttle tweets from Twitter on an event directly to attendee's mobile devices to keep them updated.
When an attendee registers for an event, he or she can also be giving the option with a click to let friends and colleagues know that they're attending and follow them on services like Twitter, Facebook, AOL's Instant Messenger and LinkedIn.
Micciche said the Certain Meetings 6.0 suite is designed to let executives from all lines of business answer the key questions: "How did it go?" and "How did this affect our bottom line?" and "Was it worth it?"