Using Online Tools To Create Offline Connections – Insights From MLOVE ConFestival Europe by Bizzabo

Guest post by Alon Alroy of Bizzabo.

2 weeks ago I attended one of the best mobile events of the year, the MLOVE ConFestival Europe. Wired Magazine has called it the “TED for Mobile” – it truly is. The venue, speakers, activities and attendees, can all be described as “inspiring”. Unlike many conferences and events I have attended, one can tell that this special event is not only about maximizing revenues; it is about the love for mobile and its future; It is about discussing how mobile can change our lives. It can clearly be seen that the organizing team is doing their job with great passion and joy.
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[App] Eventbrite’s New Apps Are An Event Organizer’s Best Friends

This post is sponsored by Eventbrite. Nonetheless, I find the product updates mentioned below quite useful as a conference organizer 🙂

There is a current trend in the events world –or at least in many of the events that I admire and are setting the baseline on how events should be– which is concerned with:

  1. Using [web] technology to make events more discoverable, sell better and help logistics run smoothly and painlessly both for the organizer and the attendees
  2. Making technology disappear (by making it invisible or eliminating it altogether) inside the conference room to create a more intimate atmosphere and allow face-to-face (F2F) interaction in it’s purest form

Today Eventbrite announced three products (one completely new, two improved) that further expand their services to help you with the first point mentioned above.

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[App] Using iPads to Replace the Conference Screen

I often speak about the need to challenge the basic assumptions of a conference in order to improve the event’s experience, and one of these assumptions is that you need a big screen so that the speaker can show his slides, etc.

A common deterrent to change the way an event develops is the lack of tools that conference organizers have access to, specially in events with small budgets. Now the “App Economy” is providing many of those tools at a very low price and Idea Flight (website, iTunes, twitter) is an example of his.

Idea Flight is an iPad App developed by magazine incumbent Conde Nast that enables a presenter to run his presentation from his iPad and have up to 14 other iPads following it through the same wifi network (or 3 in total via Bluetooth). While it’s not yet ready for being used in large conferences, it might become very useful in your next corporate meeting and maybe sometime soon enough it will scale up to allow more simultaneous users.

Idea Flight lets one person (the Pilot) use their iPad to control a presentation to an audience (their Passengers) to other iPads via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. This does not require additional cameras, equipment, dongles, connectors or wires. The transfer happens so the Pilot has complete control over whether or not the Passengers have access to a hard copy. As a Pilot, one swipes through their presentation at their speed and can lock and unlock the content for Passenger to browse at their will. Files can be accessed via Dropbox, iTunes file sharing, email, or Keynote.

Document Format

It currently only accepts documents in PDF format, which can conveniently be obtained by exporting a document from both Apple’s Keynote and Microsoft’s PowerPoint (and several other programs). Hopefully other formats will follow soon.

LinkedIn Integration

A nifty feature from Idea Flight is the integration with Linkedin profiles. Attendees can make their profile visible to the other attendees so that they can exchange their professional details without needing paper business cards.


The App is free for “passengers”, e.i. people that follow the presentation. To enable the “pilot” function you need to make an in-App purchase that costs 5.99 euro.


As I mentioned before, for the time being the App is limited to only one format (PDF), one device (iPad) and the amount of people that can be included in a presentation (15 wifi, 3 bluetooth).

Fixes to increase the usefulness

Hopefully, Idea Flight will soon be available for other mobile devices (tablets) but also laptops. I often carry my 11″ macbook air to meetings, instead of the iPad.

Prezi Finally Comes to the iPad (sort of)

The team behind the presentation software Prezi published today a free App to view Prezis on the iPad (iTunes link). While the application does not allow you to edit your files (they say it’s coming), you can download the ones stored  in your online account to show them on Apple’s tablet.

I’m a long time user (and fan) of Prezi and I tried it as soon as it was available. Unfortunately in the 2 presentatios I tried, the layout was all scrambled and the movements didn’t center on the frames correctly. Hopefully they’ll fix that soon.

Screen capture from the Prezi iPad App

From the official announcement on Prezi’s blog:

We’ll regularly update the Prezi for the iPad app. When using the current version please consider the following:

  1. Prezi for the iPad app allows you to show prezis that were previously created on your computer. The app does not have editor features.
  2. YouTube videos, PDF and SWF files does not work in the current version of Prezi for the iPad.
  3. When you open a prezi for the first time on your iPad, it can take a while to load depending on the size of your prezi. Even big prezis load super quick for the second run.

From TechCrunch’s post:

Right off the bat: we all know the iPad doesn’t support Flash, so not all existing presentations can be viewed in full if they contain Flash material such as videos. Apart from that, all presentations that were made in the past should be flawlessly viewable on the iPad.

  • When you open a prezi for the first time on your iPad, it can take a while to load depending on the size of your prezi. Even big prezis load super quick for the second run.
  • YouTube videos, PDF and SWF files does not work in the current version of Prezi for the iPad.
  • [news] TED Launches an iPad App to Keep You Inspired

    Today TED launched a free iPad App (iTunes) that expands their platform for spreading worthy ideas. The app is beautifully and intuitively designed.

    The App focuses on just one thing and that is watching talks, but does offer plenty of resources to search and discover new ones. Apart from the “featured” talks, you can search by themes, tags and through the “Inspire Me” button than will allow you to choose between TED’s own keywords (courageous, funny, persuasive, ingenious, jaw-dropping, beautiful, fascinating, informative, inspiring) and how much available time you have.

    Beautiful photos + Sponsor logo (Rolex)

    “The iPad presents a thrilling new platform for delivering a TED experience,” said June Cohen, Executive Producer of TED Media. “We rethought the user experience to take advantage of the portability, the touchscreen and the focused media time people have when they travel or settle in for an evening. We think TED fans will particularly love the “Inspire me” button, which creates a custom playlist to fill the exact amount of time they have free.” Via the TED Blog

    A feature that I suspect will be very popular amongst commuters and travelers alike is the “Saved Talks” which downloads to your iPad your own selection of talks for offline viewing.

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    Bump Adds LinkedIn to Improve It’s Virtual Business Card

    Bump (web, twitter), the mobile app for Android and iOs mobile platforms, has recently upgraded its service by adding your LinkedIn profile to the information you can share (or “bump”) with other people.

    As the official website describes, “Bump is a quick and easy way to connect two phones, simply bump them together. Share contacts info, pictures, calendar events, and even connect on social networks with just a bump”.

    Until now you could share your contact info from your own agenda/contact manager plus your Twitter and Facebook profile, meaning that when you bumped with someone they were automatically added to your agenda, Twitter and Facebook contact lists. Through the LinkedIn integration they have added probably the best business networking tool out there, tapping on LinkedIn’s huge user database.

    The new feature allows you both to send an invitation to connect on LinkedIn and find shared contacts on the LinkedIn network both from within Bump. For LinkedIn this is a good way to further sustain their leadership in the professional online networking arena.

    This feels like a move in the right direction if -ever- a digital tool will replace a traditional paper business card. Though I love technology and digital interaction, I don’t see it replacing paper cards anytime soon. The experience is still full of bumps -no pun intended 😉 – and not immediate. It also requires that both parts involved have a compatible platform (while iPhones and Android phones are quickly becoming the standard in a certain business environment, Blackberries still have a strong presence in the corporate world and Nokia also has a broad userbase… yet) and a rather geeky spirit. I’ve been carrying Bump (and other contact networking tools) in my phone for what feels like ages and I hardly ever used it [successfully]. Only at SXSW, which had a high density of the geeky kind did I see some people use it rather frequently (not me though).

    [Via the LinkedIn Blog]