EventPilot: Event App for Super Sized Events [Review]
EventPilot: What Is It?
EventPilot is a native event app for Android and iOS, with a complimentary web version for other devices and an optional desktop itinerary planner which syncs with the app.
The app has features and functionality specifically designed for events with 1,000 – 40,000 plus attendees. Event planners for associations and scientific and medical meetings will be particularly interested in its capabilities.
In writing this review and learning about what it can do there was a frisson of excitement as EventPilot seems to have thought about everything for this specific market. It is hard to imagine how event planners of modern events on this scale can manage without this event technology. Likewise the benefits for attendees to unlock greater benefits from attending the event through use of the app are very clear. For both eventprofs and attendees it appears to be an essential conference companion for events of this nature and which we are eager to tell you more about.
The Main Categories of Features Are:
Attendee Scheduling and Learning
Comprehensive schedule planning and advanced search features allow pinpointing of sessions, posters, abstracts and exhibitors based on exact criteria. Attendees can access slides, take notes, contribute to discussions, ask questions and give feedback within the app.
Event Planning Tools
Sophisticated import and merging tools for sessions, abstracts and other data. Event planners can look at analytics and session feedback and send out alerts to specific target groups or based on location.
Detailed listings and location for exhibitors and the opportunity to increase booth traffic through advanced search and gamification options.
One of the most important and most used features of any event app is the schedule. Multi day events with hundreds or perhaps thousands of sessions need to be easy to populate and to view and it is vital to get this right. EventPilot has the most advanced agenda tool I have seen to date.
The attendee can populate their bespoke agenda items by searching and adding sessions to their personal calendar via advanced search capabilities. If they cannot choose which sessions to attend at a specific time they can be added and shown side by side as a prompt to remind them to choose at a later time. The schedule allows the event planner to highlight suggested sessions at the top of the app to encourage attendance, for instance at keynote plenary sessions. If a delegate wants to add numerous posters or oral presentations to a specific time slot these are noted as a block and can even be viewed on the location plan to show a logical way of visiting them. Although the schedule can be exported out to an attendees regular calendar such as Outlook or Google they will struggle to display a complex schedule as clearly as it is shown within the app.
If there is a gap showing on the schedule it is easy to search for what is going on at that time, as well as seeing at a glance when lunch or breaks are scheduled. If an attendee joins a session and decides it isn’t for them they can immediately see other sessions running close to their current location at that time. The app has an automatic time zone adjustment so even if you somehow forget to update your phone you will still receive reminders about your schedule at the correct time. It also auto jumps the agenda to the current day, which are neat little tricks to help your jet lagged attendees!
The app integrates with various event software including registration providers, abstract management systems, and exhibition management tools. This facilitates easy communication, uploading and merging of data with the planner’s preferred systems, rather than having to start from scratch. Alternatively single items can be added manually and imports can be done from CSV files, Excel, Google spreadsheets and so forth. EventPilot provides templates and the structure for dynamic import, as well as support as required. The app is also compatible with non event industry specific services such as SurveyMonkey, PollDaddy and Google Maps.
EventPilot has the latest technology for indoor proximity awareness via iBeacons and outdoor GPS location alerts. You can easily set a welcome message at the airport advising where to go for transport to the show or an alert at the event which encourages attendees to visit a booth nearby for the chance to win a prize or notifies a last minute room change. You may want to prompt attendees to complete the survey on the last day as they leave the venue or send a targeted message just to your speakers with some important information.
The app truly enables events to go paperless. Instead of a heavy and unwieldy conference guide and overview of abstracts all content can be accessed via the app. This is a massive saving to the event budget and also a huge consideration for environmentally conscious organising committees. There is a clever tool on the EventPilot website which enables you to calculate the approximate printing costs which could be saved, as well as the time taken to “stuff” delegate bags and the total CO2, waste and paper production water savings. There is also a revenue generator to give an idea of how much revenue could be raised via the app through sponsorship, ad and exhibitor opportunities.
The advanced boolean search features allow for specific pinpointing of sessions, posters, abstracts and exhibitors based on exact criteria, in a way that a hard copy show guide and abstracts publication could not. Filters can be applied to searches, for example to include specific products and services from exhibitors or to list booths by aisle. Likewise it is possible to specify only beginner or advanced sessions to be shown on specific topics to match the attendee knowledge level. Items can be categorized in multiple different ways and colour coded as required by the event planning team.
WiFi in most venues is still not up to scratch and at an event with thousands of people attending it is particularly likely to fail. Essentially the app does not rely on having a WiFi connection, the data is fully accessible offline, which is essential, although understandably it does increase the size of the app slightly.
The speakers slides are uploaded to the app by the AV technicians in the speaker ready room, again illustrating that the app is built for the higher end of the market and not for small, one day events. For smaller events it is however possible to add the presentations yourself via the CMS. If you have sessions with new research which is embargoed until the start of the session you can set within the app for information not to be shown until a specific time.
Presentations can be bookmarked and notes can be written directly on the slides. Notes and all other content from the app, such as favourites, contact details, etc can be emailed to the attendee in an event report for access after the event outside of the app.
The app auto fills the event hashtag when sharing to social media but alternatively attendees can join in private conversations via the app specific to the session they are attending. This enables more in-depth discussions which would be impossible via social media. Attendees can also be reassured that they can communicate with other attendees without their contact details being shared. Email addresses are kept private unless the individual chooses to share with another attendee via the digital business card QR code reader.
Organizing an event with thousands of attendees is a massive undertaking and attending as an attendee can also be overwhelming. EventPilot has taken many of the pain points and overcome them to create a valuable event companion. They are also so confident in their product that they offer a 4-star plus guarantee for reviews on the app stores.
Attendee Scheduling and Learning
- visual schedule builder
- interactive timetable to easily fill gaps in the schedule
- highlight a number of conflicting sessions as a reminder if you are unsure which one to attend
- ability to view other sessions nearby
- boolean search
- interactive offline maps to navigate rooms, booths or posters
- full text abstracts available offline
- access to all session materials including PowerPoint slides
- note taking
- moderated Q&A and session specific commenting
- polls/ARS integration
- peer finder for networking whilst keeping contact details private
Event Planning Tools
- advanced data import and merging
- configuration is possible to the smallest detail to customize how data is sorted
- support via a project manager
- push data updates at any time via the CMS
- native iOS and Android apps
- complementary web app
- optional online itinerary planner which syncs with the app
- analytics into usage and engagement
- location based communications and targeted alerts
- session evaluations and satisfaction surveys via the app
- sponsorship and ad opportunities to generate revenue
- ads are compliant with rules for the pharmaceutical industry which can’t be shown in certain places
- global in-app search includes exhibitors
- highlight booth location on the map
- indoor positioning to show your location
- exhibitors can include links, videos, images, presentations and other collateral
- gamification or scavenger hunts to increase footfall
- prompt attendee action with location-based notifications
- digital business cards and sharing via QR codes
- built in social media sharing
- analytics to evaluate ROI
Who Is It For?
EventPilot knows its market and is purpose built for large conferences and conventions. Event planners of multi-day events with thousands of attendees will benefit most from the features and functionality. It will be of specific interest to scientific congresses, medical meetings and technical events.
Pros and Cons
- the visual calendar and schedule planning options are outstanding
- the app is fully accessible offline
- even the largest of events can go completely paperless
- the app file size is bigger than other event apps to account for the offline content
- no native version of the app for Blackberry or Windows Phone
- if something goes wrong with a 3rd party integration people can assume it is the app itself, when it is actually an issue with the integrated tool
Pricing and Plans
Pricing is dependent on the exact configuration required for your event, with different versions and features available. Contact EventPilot for a free consultation.
The EventPilot app is built for complexity and scale and to cope with the demands of large events. If you are running an event with less than 1k attendees this isn’t the app for you as the functionality will be wasted. For anything above this though I am sure this will be a strong contender and EventPilot is well worth your consideration.
Disclosure: Reviews are paid for placements. While Event Manager Blog receives a fee to extensively look at the tool and review it in detail, the content of the review is independent and by no means influenced by the company. If you have any question please use the contact us section.