This is a case study from Constantine Korovkin, Co-founder/CEO, Limefy Inc. More information about Event Manager Blog’s case studies.
Networking is one of the most important objectives for people attending events, however connecting can be a terrifying prospect for some and even tarnish the perception of your event if it isn’t worthwhile and well executed. So how can technology help your attendees to get more from networking opportunities? Here is their case study.
The 2016 Seattle GeekWire Startup Day continued an annual tradition, bringing together entrepreneurs, investors and other ‘geeks’ that contribute to the thriving US Pacific Northwest startup community. Seattle GeekWire magazine is the most prominent tech media in the area, therefore this event gets a lot of attention and networking is an important focus.
- An annual entrepreneurial bootcamp
- 1-day programme, with presentations, networking and a startup demo zone
- Over 600 attendees
Why Smart Badges?
Ensuring a top-notch attendee experience and networking is the key to any event’s recurring success. That, plus inherent bias towards emerging technologies, prompted Seattle GeekWire to try Limefy’s technology at the event.
Seattle GeekWire, as many other event producers, wanted to increase attendee engagement and have a way to measure the event effectiveness. This was particularly important for the Seattle GeekWire Startup Day since throughout the startup journey, one person can be the difference between failure and success, which makes business networking an essential component in the world of entrepreneurship.
However, starting a conversation — especially for a more introverted founder — can prove to be extremely difficult. Seattle GeekWire wanted to help overcome the difficulties of networking and help engage attendees with each other in a more meaningful way, making each individual a participant rather than an observer.
How Were the Objectives Achieved?
LiGo smart badges were given out after registration and attendees used the LiGo mobile app to program the device.
Attendees were able to select a profile: who they were attending the event as; who they wanted to meet and talk to. As the attendees walked around, LiGo badges lit up in the same color alerting the two people that they were looking for each other and should start up a conversation. The mobile app also helped pinpoint who the match was with by providing a picture of the person and more information about the “match” such as their LinkedIn profile.
Ensuring your attendees are talking to the right people is priceless, but perhaps the greatest value of using smart badge technology is in its potential to improve event planning. As an event organizer, having data at your fingertips to tell you how successful your event was and how to improve it could mean the difference between a widely successful event and a flop.
LiGo was able to produce a few interesting data points at the Seattle Startup Days event. People who came to the conference specified their affiliations and interests, highlighting a few trends. Being a conference about tech and startups, the most popular categories had something to do with startups, business development and angel investing. However, it was interesting to see that there were quite a few industry professionals seeking jobs, and moreover, there were recruiters attending the conference as well.
Another interesting view was comparing “supply” and “demand” for categories. Since attendees specified both their affiliations and what they were interested in, we were able to see if people could actually find what they were looking for.
It is natural to expect that investors were in short supply, but it was somewhat surprising to see that recruiters were in short supply as well. This is the kind of information which could be used to improve the next year’s event, ensuring adequate recruiter representation.
Another set of data gave the networking success rate per attendee type. Whereas the previous data showed us a comparison of “what was offered“ at the conference against “what was sought for”, this set showed how well the attendees in a given category were able to meet their goals, answering questions such as “How many recruiters were able to find the cloud specialists they were looking for?”, “Did all the investors meet a startup representative?”, “Did all the startup reps who were looking for investors meet one?”
LiGo provided answers to these questions, identifying a good success rate for investors and recruiters. Job-seekers were not doing so well, on the contrary, and startup employees mingled a lot with their own kin.
LiGo helped create a total of 9,459 matches at the Seattle GeekWire Startup Days event and helped bridge the gap between all sorts of people looking to engage in productive conversations and generate new business opportunities. Founders were able to quickly identify and talk to investors about their ideas, business service providers were able to locate the startup founders that needed their help, and recruiters were able to find engineers and technologists that matched their needs.
Takeaways for Event Planners
Good event networking is top priority for most event planners. Here are some things to think about.
- Not everyone is comfortable with networking. Think about how to make it easier for all.
Some attendees describing themselves as “introverts” found the LiGo app to be particularly useful in helping them learn what they have in common with the other participants prior to engaging — this helped to avoid awkward conversation starters. The LiGo experience not only served as a visual cue of a match nearby, but also helped excite the crowd and create an engaging, casual conversation environment around the event floor.
- Helping to facilitate the right connections at your event is good for everyone.
Good conversations can lead to business opportunities, job offers and investment. Success stories keep people coming back to your event.
- When using eventtech it can provide key data and reporting to help you to improve the event.
Before choosing event technology work out what data would help you to make improvements to the event and choose a technology partner that can help you deliver.
There is no doubt that the world of IoT is rapidly expanding into events industry and smart badges are here to stay. Similar to how key cards have replaced physical keys in hotel industry, it won’t be long until every badge at a conference will be a smart badge, unlocking a lot of data about the event dynamics and enabling event professionals to provide better experiences to their attendees.