In January, DoubleDutch, A San Francisco-based mobile event company, completely rebuilt its app, complete with a new interface and offline mode.
“We’re really seeing a shakeout in the mobile event landscape,” says DoubleDutch CEO Lawrence Coburn. “The field of 60 or 70 event apps has narrowed to six or seven main ones getting most of the business.”
To stay current, DoubleDutch re-wrote its entire app platform for the iOS7 operating system, creating a new backend to take advantage of the latest system upgrades.
“In early 2011, an activity feed on a phone was a radical idea,” Coburn says. “Other companies were trying to take a paper schedule or event guide and make it mobile, while DoubleDutch focused heavily on social networking.”
The hot buzzwords of today—gamification, interaction and analytics—were included even in early versions of DoubleDutch, helping planners optimize events for attendees and exhibitors.
Another new feature, called iBeacon, offers indoor positioning, powered by a low-level Bluetooth signal that can be used to track attendee location and provide geo-targeted information.
“We’ve also finally embraced a full offline experience,” Coburn continues. “Even without Wi-Fi attendees can submit information that will be cached locally and posted later.”
Coburn also sees the concept of “contextual computing” playing a larger role, which means that the app takes time and location into account in its functions. For example, if you open the schedule page before a particular event has begun, you can add it to your agenda, but if the event has already concluded you can review notes or submit feedback.
Coburn reports that business is booming at his 80-person company, and he believes the room for expansion is still huge, as many events still rely primarily on paper. In upcoming years he expects to see substantial growth in the association market and among trade show groups.