It seems that the whole world was attending or following the happenings at IMEX America last week in Las Vegas. This was my second year to attend, and I have to say, I’m still exhausted, and yet exhilarated by the energy, the knowledge, and of course the hugs and kisses that were given by old and new friends.
One thing that I was truly excited about and looking forward to was the first tech startup competition that IMEX organized this year. Not only was I going to be able to see innovative event tech in motion, I was also one one of the chosen ones to judge this competition.
I was extremely lucky to meet up with Miguel Neves, Senior Online Community Manager for IMEX, about this new initiative to bring you greater insight on what it is and the ideas behind it:
Tell us a little bit of this new initiative that IMEX America is taking with the tech start up competition?
In this initiative we are trying to showcase some great event technology startups that may not be ready to take a booth, but have some great ideas. I have been to a few event technology events recently and these types of competitions can be really exciting. Anyone participating can get a lot of ideas for new technology in a short span of time. For some of these companies I hope that this can open some doors for them and showcase them to the wider industry.
What was the criteria?
- Innovative-ness of the technology (is it a game changer, is it something new, or is it the same thing all over again?)
- Difference to other products in the market
- Practical use of product
- Ease of implementation
- Cost of usage
- Is the problem that it is solving relevant to the industry?
- User adoption to date
Who are your collaborators on this initiative?
We couldn’t have done this without Julius Solaris and his team at Event Manager Blog. He has great contacts and it’s been a pleasure to work with him.
How many entries did you get? And any new trends you are seeing with new event tech?
We had 27 different entries, so of them with some really different ideas. I like to see startups looking at new approaches to integrate data and new technology in very useful ways. There are definitely trends in social and sharing being very important, but also exciting ways to use data. These are not apps that replace paper, some can really improve processed for both planners and attendees.
So how did you end up with the short list?
We worked with the Event Manager Blog team on our criteria and just worked through the entries. We had a little grading system and we looked hard at both the entries and the startup’s website.
Was it tough choosing these 10? What were you really looking for in the solutions that were submitted?
It was hard work, but we feel we made good choices. Pricing was actually a big part of the decision, we felt that the cost of usage should be clear and openly disclosed. We were looking for fresh ideas that really made sense to us. Sometimes a concept can get off track and with our event experience we did weed out startups that may be offering solutions to problems that may not need solving, so to speak. Most had great ideas, so we were generally really impressed.
Do you see IMEX using some of these technologies that were submitted for future shows?
This could be a possibility. Our hosted buyer appointment system is complex, but with technology becoming easier to integrate all the time, this is becoming less of a problem.
Who would benefit the most from looking at these emerging tech companies?
Any event professional who is looking for the next big thing, particularly planners looking to integrate new technology for his or her events. Many startups can create a real “wow” effect just by how they can impress attendees. This is a desired effect at many events, and some of these startups can do just that.
Who are the judges?
Me, you, Julius, Brandt Krueger and Liz King. (An all-star team)
Do you envision IMEX doing this again for Frankfurt and America?
One step at a time, but I would hope so, yes.
Check out the chosen startup companies in the competition:
Attendify’s platform gives event planners tools to create and manage branded event apps that boost attendee, sponsor, and exhibitor engagement.
Crowd Mics – App available on iOS and Android.
Crowd Mics turns smartphones into wireless microphones for live events. This audience response system includes text commenting and polling.
Eversnap helps events & groups collect all their guests’ photos & videos in one online album via iPhone, Android and Web Apps.
GruupMeet® is the sophisticated and collaborative event management solution that simplifies logistics and streamlines meeting execution
InitLive takes a mobile-first approach to managing your team on the ground. We handle scheduling and communications so you can focus on other critical tasks!
Simplify how you manage events and details with 26+ online tools in one convenient app.
sli.do – Also available for Google Glass & integrates with Prezi.
sli.do is an audience engagement platform that makes it super-easy for anyone in the audience to ask questions and vote in live polls.
Speaker Sponsor is a new way for sponsors and speakers to profit from a mutually beneficial marketing agreement where sponsors pay you to speak!
*THE Winner* Speecheo
Enhancing the attendee’s experience, Speecheo allows speaker and event organizer to understand what works in a speech.