Gather Digital Builds 'Discoverable' Apps for Events Industry
EventsInAmerica.com (EIA) spoke with Ben Comer of Gather Digital at the IAEE Expo! Expo! show in Los Angeles.
EIA: What is Gather Digital?
Ben Comer: Gather Digital is a leading provider of mobile apps for events, conferences and member organizations. We’ve been in business since 2009, so we’re one of the first providers of mobile apps for events as well as member organizations. To date, we’ve developed over 600 of these types of apps and we work with a combination of corporations, non-profit associations and academic institutions.
There are a number of app developers out there, why Gather Digital?
We work with both very large and very small organizations. The reasons why our clients come back to us is our great level of customer service and support. With all of our clients, whether they are small, state non-profit associations or large multinational corporations, all of our clients are assigned a dedicated project manager. We have a robust, proven technology and we couple that great technology with excellent support and service. That’s been a winning combination for us.
But in the last 6 years since you started your company, there’s been a sea change in new technology, new improvements….how do you keep ahead of the curve?
Keeping ahead of the curve really comes back to listening to client’s demands. So when we’re working with corporations, corporations tend to be very forward thinking. They’re constantly pushing us in new directions; challenging us to improve upon our platform and hone, enhance and add additional features. We take that advice and feedback to develop a greater product.
What trends do you see evolving for the events industry in 2015 and beyond?
I’d say two big trends. One is the use of i-Beacons. I think more event organizers will be adopting that technology of location-based services. The other is continuing-education tracking and reporting. So we are seeing that. This is something that’s within our app. Clients have had a great experience with it. I think we’re going to see a little more consolidation. Rather than having different providers and different services for a variety of tasks, I think meeting planners are going to be looking for more of a one-stop-shop when they’re searching for solutions for their organization and their attendees.
So specifically for Gather Digital, what improvements, new products, changes do you see rolling out in 2015 and beyond?
For us, we’re going to see improvements in 1-to-1 meetings functionality, so when you have an attendee who is scheduling a 1-on-1 meeting with an exhibitor or a vendor, we'll have really improved and honed in on the connectivity and interaction.
And another improvement will be use of a feed of activities, as well as photo feeds, for attendees to engage in the conversation around an event, providing commentary, sharing feedback and adding their voices even if they are not necessarily present at the event.
What one or two things should an event planner or an event owner know about Gather Digital?
When they take a look at our app and see how the app is laid out and structured, event organizers love the fact that our apps are what we call ‘discoverable’ – the information is easily discovered by the attendees. We’re not just presenting all the different bells and whistles at someone’s face when they immediately open the app. What we find is this: For attendees who really want to engage, they can further engage. For more casual users, they don’t feel intimidated.
I think it’s also worth noting that we’re on the cutting edge when it comes to continuing education credit tracking and reporting. We can say, this is not only nice to have but we have cases where we’ve legitimately helped organizations save time and ultimately save money. And that’s a win-win for everyone involved.
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