Not to be outdone, the PhoCusWright Conference has released its iPhone app available for download now through the App Store.
The PhoCusWright iPhone app was developed by Quickmobile, a firm based in Vancouver, BC who specializes in the development of mobile applications.
I have known the CEO, Patrick Payne, for a few years and we have had the opportunity to meet at a number of travel industry conferences during that time.
Several of the conferences have started dabbling with mobile websites but this is the first conference I have been to that has truly embraced a mobile application.
"At QuickMobile we specialize in Travel," he says.
"This iPhone app for the PhoCusWright Conference demonstrates how mobile applications can deliver information that is timely, relevant, personalized and valuable - and of course it really helps if there is an element of fun too."
The PhoCusWright iPhone App Main Menu.
At first glance, the app looks like a digital version of the conference program. In many ways it is, but it is much more than that.
According to Payne the app has actually replaced over 70 pages of content in the hard copy program reducing printing requirements and costs.
In many ways, the app is a greener alternative to the traditional printed program. I asked Payne what his inspiration was for developing the app, he responded with:
"The ultimate objective of the mobile application is to optimize and enrich the conference experience. The question is - how do I best spend my limited time at the event and how do I connect with the people that could make a difference in my business? This application certainly makes it easier to accomplish those goals."
The app menus in simple and inviting, covering all the important information an attendee would need access to without the need to carry a bulky bound document. But it is the real-time features that I find the most exciting.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the PhoCusWright conference is the interactivity with the speakers and the SpeakOut feature where attendees can submit their questions to panelists.
In past conferences this was done with proprietary software and most recently with Twitter.
With the iPhone app, attendees can now send their SpeakOut questions directly from the application.
The benefit is that the question is stored in the app along with the other Speakout questions.
The app allows you to link your Twitter account.
Everyone knows that one of the important parts of the PhoCusWright Conference is the people.
Well, okay some may argue that it's the presentations too, but I am a communicator, so making new connections and meeting new people is what I enjoy most.
The features I think is most exciting are the communication tools that allow attendees to search, find, and message attendees without revealing private information.
The messaging function, for example, allows attendees to use a familiar email style interface that is preloaded with attendee data so you don't need to know everyone's email details.
"The iPhone application not only benefits the attendees with the program guide in their pocket and access to real-time features like What's On Now, the social networking communities and other people at the event but is also valuable for the conference organizers and sponsors who can reduce traditional printed materials, provide leading edge interactive tools and showcase their products and services."
The messaging functionality is familiar and easy to use.
This is going to be a very interesting conference indeed. In this time of cost cutting, green technology, and mobile innovation, it is exciting to see a
Conference like PhoCusWright leading the way with an app that is more than just a glorified program but a set of truly useful tools.
Kudos to both PhoCusWright and QuickMobile on leading the pack.