Every year, the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) brings together its members and automotive manufacturers, industry leaders; affiliate companies and retailers for the NADA Convention and Expo. The event typically attracts approximately 21,000 registered attendees. In late 2012, show organizers were on the verge of contracting with a third-party mobile application provider. When they were tying up loose ends with the new vendor, planners made an interesting discovery.
One of the obstacles that all event organizers who use technology face is the integration of stand-alone applications with existing event management platforms. In most cases, enabling the smooth flow of data from one platform to another is possible with some advance planning. a2z, NADA’s event management platform provider, offers web tools that make integration easy. But, in this instance, a pre-show discussion revealed that the data transfer would have been more labor intensive than organizers were led to believe.
The mobile app that NADA selected would have required registration, exhibitor and conference data to be manually transferred (Excel spreadsheet style) from a2z’s platform to the mobile platform rather than simply “called” over the Internet. This kind of data exchange could have led to synchronization delays, data discrepancies and decreased functionality for the matchmaking and networking tools already in place. Because the incompatibility was only discovered eight weeks before the show opened, organizers had to scramble to find another solution.
NADA planners scrapped plans to go with their original mobile app selection and used a2z’s ChirpE Mobile App solution instead. ChirpE was fully compatible with the portfolio of a2z software products that NADA had used for years. No additional programming or data transfer was required. The challenge for the 2013 event, however, was getting ChirpE Mobile App up and running in the short time frame available.
Under normal circumstances, the graphics are in place and ChirpE is ready to go well before the eight-week pre-show milestone for a show. Nevertheless, a2z’s team went into overdrive and got the app up and running in time for the annual event in Orlando.
"a2z worked closely with NADA's show management team to address concerns and overcome some of the initial challenges related to some requested upgrades to the mobile app, and the overall final product exceeded expectations. a2z did a phenomenal job and was tireless in their commitment to produce the best possible end product." explains Connie Mikels, Director of Expositions.
Despite the short window in which to introduce ChirpE Mobile App to attendees and exhibitors, post-show metrics revealed the app's widespread adoption:
- Total registered attendees: 21,000
- Total event app users: 9,855
- Total native iOS app users: 5,501
- Total native Android app users: 2,031
- Total mobile Web app users: 2,323
User numbers only tell part of the story. Some of the most impressive evidence of ChirpE Mobile App’s popularity came in the form of views:
- Number of exhibitor list views: 15,195
- Number of session list views: 89,395
- Number of dashboard views: 67,444
Because ChirpE Mobile App is synchronized with registration and a2z’s online floor plan and conference software, the mobile app for NADA’s 2014 Conference and Expo was already in place and being marketed to exhibitors and attendees well before the January meeting in New Orleans. In fact, it received a four-star rating in the Google Play and Apple stores shortly after it was released.
ChirpE Mobile App is one of several fully compatible, multi-platform (web, mobile, kiosk) applications from a2z that are used by NADA. In addition to the ChirpE Mobile App, organizers also used the ChirpE Photo Booth application for the first time in 2013 and kept a couple booths in place for the 2014 event.
"a2z’s ongoing partnership with NADA continues to strengthen and evolve because a2z is always looking at how they can expand and enhance the end user’s experience to create a real 'WOW Factor'! And since a2z’s portfolio of software products synch seamlessly behind the scenes, it’s great not having to worry about additional programming or data transfer which makes things so much easier and more efficient from our perspective." says Connie Mikels.
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