Apps for the Future
Our World | On 15, Dec 2011
Back in the day, be it Star Trek or Inspector Gadget, TV shows set in the future attempted to dazzle us with previously un-dreamt of technology. With the launch of the iPhone (a mere 4 years ago) it appears that the key to accessing all of these sci-fi gizmos is already in our hands.
With every key player launching their own Smart Phones following the iphone’s success, what inevitably followed the insatiable human need to use these devices for social interaction (and apps which make your face look fat / old / ginger!) are practical, business applications which will have a huge impact on travel, meetings and events.
Nearly everything we do in this industry requires a cohesive and comprehensive communication strategy and Smart Phone technology, combined with a multitude of Apps, has opened up a whole new world – which seriously appeals to my inner geek!
Claire’s already written about the ‘translator specs’ which Sony has been working on. In the same area is the almost magical ‘Wordlens’ app which combines your mobile phone camera and quite frankly what can only be fairy dust, so that a PowerPoint slide, poster, signage you are looking at appears in your viewfinder in your preferred language – translated instantly from the original text. Fantastic for personal or business travel and a dream for multi-lingual events or congresses.
There really is no limit to the amount of information which can be available at our fingertips on event specific apps – both significantly improving the delegate experience and also making the Event Planners life a little simpler! There’s even some great, low cost solutions for creating your own app with basic templates, links and resources to get you started.
A number of hotels already use some wonderful apps for their guests to control pretty much every aspect of their stay. You can view and order from the room service menu as you are waiting for your luggage – just to make sure you can eat and run when you arrive. Wake up call? Just use your phone. Need an ironing board? Log the request using an app. Instant, tailor made service available wherever you are, 24 hours a day.
Experts predict the next step is that your phone will become your room key – controlling not just access but your air con, lights, safe and do not disturb sign.
Tesco in Korea have recently launched an entirely QR code based store with photographs of the product and the related code. You scan away in the ‘shop’ and then your groceries are delivered to your door. Imagine the logistical savings and increased sales if your delegates could simply walk around the exhibition / product launch or even just a ‘virtual warehouse’ set up in a syndicate room and place their orders directly with your warehouse there and then.
Whilst events are quickly catching onto the power of the QR code, I’m afraid to report that the technology to replace this might already be here. You know the TV ad with the guy who jumps down the water slide through the city on his way home? And how he just ‘bips’ his card near the machine to pay? Well, that combined with Google Wallet (recently launched in the States) and your phone will double up as your credit card.
The other Google development is ‘Google Goggles’ which uses images to search for information – so view a cityscape using your phone and it will identify where you are, what’s nearby and anything else you want your delegates to know. Or photograph a car and find out what the media thinks, get consumer reviews and compare prices across the market.
Apparently, face recognition is only a short step away – doing away with that “where do I know you from” conundrum in seconds and massively improving the networking opportunities at any kind of event.
It looks like Mr Spok, Penny and Bones the dog weren’t so far off with their video watches after all!
Sarah Threlfall, Events Team