Feb 04, 2013When I launched RFID Journal in 2002, I was a journalist with exactly zero business experience. With no MBA degree or even time spent on the business side of the publications for which I had worked all my life, I was pretty much flying my first company blind. I figured I should just try to give our customers as much value for their money as I could. That meant posting high-quality news stories on our Web site and inviting objective end users to speak at our events. That philosophy has served RFID Journal well over the past decade, so we have stuck with it.
Our latest value-add is the RFID Connect smartphone application for attendees at our annual RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition (see RFID Journal Releases RFID Connect Smartphone App). In case you are unfamiliar with RFID Connect, it was launched four years ago as an event-planning and social-media tool. Folks planning to attend LIVE! can log on and search for the sessions they want to attend, the exhibitors they want to visit, and the speakers and other attendees they want to meet, and then add these items to a daily planner. It's been a great success. End users find it very valuable, though most exhibitors have failed to use it to generate leads (I have not been able to figure out why).
We invested in building a custom RFID Connect smartphone app because we believe it will enable LIVE! attendees to get more value from the event. The app, created for the Apple iPhone and Android mobile phones, synchs seamlessly with the RFID Connect site. If you add an exhibitor to your to-do list on the Web site, it will appear on the to-do list on your phone. Add a meeting to the smartphone app, and it will appear on your online calendar.
There are a lot great things you can do on either the app or the Web site. You can search for sessions that mention, say, "asset tracking," "logistics" or "medical devices," and add those sessions to your daily planner. You can search for exhibitors by name, by product category—passive high-frequency (HF) tags, antennas or middleware, for example—or by the industries served, such as health care, manufacturing or retail. What's more, you can add these to your to-do list as well.
One of my favorite features of the phone app is the interactive exhibit hall map. You can view the floor plan and click on any booth to read that exhibitor's profile. Even more useful is the ability to highlight the exhibitors you added to your personal to-do list on the map. You can also highlight vendors by the products they offer, or by the industries they serve. So if you are a health-care executive interested in a real-time location system (RTLS), for instance, you could either highlight all booths serving health care or all offering an RTLS solution.
The app also makes it easy for LIVE! attendees to participate in some special contests and programs, including voting for the best new product exhibited at the event (as part of our RFID Journal Awards), voting for the Coolest Demo Contest winner, rating sessions attended and entering our Passport Program (a chance to win prizes for visiting booths).
The app is available at Apple's App Store and at Google Play. We've created some how-to videos to show attendees how to use the application, though it is intuitive. I expect that it will become a valuable tool for attendees—and that, for me, is what it is all about.
Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor's Note archive or RFID Connect.