There is no doubt that technology is increasingly a vital presence at any conference or event, and it is incumbent on event planners and PCOs to keep up with the trends. Several of our Alliance partners are playing an active role in leveraging conference technology by creating their very own in-house tools. Two stand-out examples are the MICEapps, designed by Ace:Daytons Direct, and Congress Corporation’s MICEnavi.
MICEapps (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibition Applications) is an all-in-one integrated solution, comprised of 50 modules in a single integrated platform. The app uses a central API Key subscription mechanism that allows users to subscribe to different "App" modules related to the MICE industry. The "app" modules are designed to work as stand-alone or in conjunction with other modules for a more sophisticated solution that provides a seamless experience for participants, speakers and exhibitors, as well as for the organisers themselves. In short, MICEapps is a secured and seamless cloud-based application:
- MICEapps can manage everything from pre-event registration, cultivation, event engagement and post-event heatmap data analysis.
- Its pre-event registration feature has the flexibility to integrate membership API, and now we have moved forward with the latest single sign-on (SSO) which we have applied to associations that have their HQs or Regional Office located outside of Singapore.
- Single sign-on (SSO): A property of access control of multiple related, yet independent, software systems. For example, members can now use the same login credentials given by the association to apply for their conference registration via the MICEapps registration portal with auto-validate membership rates and populate his/her membership particulars during the association conference registration via MICEapps.
- During the onsite event, Ace:Daytons Direct plants iBeacons (devices that emit a Bluetooth identifier) for nearby personalised push notification, tracking, and heatmap generation. Each iBeacon heatmap is featured with an app-in, with which every MICEapps user can track the traffic via colours to show the “crowd” as well as the exact number of people who have received notifications or information in each iBeacon device area within the exhibition hall or the respective exhibitor booth. This provides an accurate ROI measurement for both exhibitors and organisers.
The initiative to create MICEApps came from the shortcomings that Ace:Daytons Direct experienced with other solutions designed by outside firms unfamiliar with the needs of the conference industry, and thus lacked user-friendliness. As far back as the year 2000, the team at Ace:Daytons Direct created its first web solution for the 7th World Congress of Endoscopic Surgery. Version 2 of this web solution, including the necessary online applications, was created and applied to the 3rd World Congress of Nephrology (WCN 2005).
Ace:Daytons Direct’s very first mobile app was created in 2013 and used in the FIATA World Congress of that year. In 2014, MICEapps won 1st Prize in the MICE coLab organized by the Singapore Tourism Board. It took the team a solid year to complete the first version of MICEapps, which was officially rolled out in 2015. MICEapps version 2.0 continues to evolve and, in 2017, with MICEapps integrated with the services provided by Ace:Daytons Direct, the company won the Singapore Tourism Awards’ title of Best Business Event Service Provider.
MICEapps is also extremely secured—the app is hosted in the most trusting hosting environment, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Singapore server with autoscaling desired capacity. The AWS infrastructure includes firewall and antivirus protection. Ace:Daytons Direct performs quarterly security & OS patching with vulnerability scan and daily backup, as well as AWS load balancing across available zones.
Most importantly, the team at Ace:Daytons Direct is available 24/7 to address any issues that may arise, and boasts competent and committed technical staff who are onsite to ensure that every area involving the MICEapps solution is well taken care of.
The application’s robust functionalities combined with the impressive range of technical support, make it a popular staple for many congresses and events, and many notable events have applauded MICEapps’s versatility and performance, including ITB Asia 2017, for which MICEapps received rave reviews from the industry players; including the Borneo Convention Center, Kuching, Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands Singapore.
Nancy Tan, founder of Ace:Daytons Direct, says that while MICEapps was developed in-house, it was designed with all MICE organizers in mind. “One of the most satisfying aspects was being able to create our proprietary all-in-one integrated platform that not only caters to our in-house PCO full-service requirements, but also suits the various requirements of different MICE stakeholders around the world.”
For details on MICEapps, please visit the website www.miceapps.com
Another Alliance partner that has taken a tech initiative is Japan-based Congress Corporation, the creative force behind MICEnavi. A tool that is particularly pertinent for academic meetings with wide-ranging programs, MICEnavi enables users to view and search program and abstract book data on the Web and create a personalized agenda. The tool has been adopted by many organizers for both national and international events held in Japan and is currently the most popular app for medical association meetings in the country.
MICEnavi offers many functions, including:
- Live sessions (can tap to display by “10 min. later” or “10 min. earlier” as well)
- Schedule: a personal schedule for the conference, which can be synced with a delegate’s own Google or Apple calendar function
- Floor plans (interactive with what session is going on live, and interactive with session locations, etc.)
- An advanced search feature
- Program (indexed and can filter)
- Speakers (can instantly search and display a speaker’s sessions)
- “My Abstracts” – A collection of personally selected abstracts that are saved in the delegate’s own account/device.
- Information on sponsors’ websites and related sessions
- Interactive technology for gathering votes/answers to questions (“Answer pad”) and tweet-like comments even from attendees not present at a particular session
- Area guide (i.e. restaurants, shops and other spots of interest that are in the vicinity of the venue)
- Exhibition information
- Digital poster session
- Luncheon seminars: issuance of e-tickets, real-time availability, etc.
MICEnavi has its beginnings in 2006, when Congress Corporation received a special request from a university professor who was organizing an academic meeting: he wanted to create a system through which one’s conference schedule could be managed online, including a function to search/browse the conference’s scientific program. Congress Corporation took up the challenge and got working.
In 2007, the company launched operation of the browser system for desktop PCs. The mobile app was launched in 2011.
Initially, the tool was created with the goal of allowing conference participants/organizers to manage their own schedules during an event, hence the name was “My Schedule.” As more functions were added, the purpose of the tool became wider to offer convenience and a paperless experience for conference participants. “My Schedule” has since been re-branded as MICEnavi.
One recent event that benefitted from the app was the 71st Annual Congress of Japan Clinical Ophthalmology, held in October 2017 and attracting some 9,000 attendees. MICEnavi was utilized not only for registration for sponsored seminars and educational courses, but also for distributing digital posters and downloading educational course texts. Considering that at every past edition of the event, course texts represented a cost of several million yen (1 million yen is approximately $9,000 USD), the digital distribution provided by MICEnavi saved the organizers a substantial amount of money.
The app was also used at the World Ophthalmology Congress® (WOC) 2014 Tokyo, attended by 20,000 people from around the globe, the largest ever international medical meeting in Japan.
Congress Corporation’s initiative has received wide recognition, not only from the conference organizers and participants that benefit from the features of MICEnavi, but also from the conference industry. Yoshihito Takahashi, an IT conference director and specialist with Congress Corporation, won IAPCO’s 2015 Innovation Award.
Kaoru Shibuta, Executive Managing Director of Congress Corporation and concurrently President of the group’s IT solutions company, MICE One Corporation, has high expectations for the future development of the company’s meeting technology: “We are currently progressing collaboration with leading technology companies both in Japan and overseas, with the dual aims of developing more cutting-edge, attractive features for the app and expanding our service scope to encompass more events and exhibitions. Our ultimate objective is for MICEnavi to be true to its name, the app of choice for all aspects of MICE.”
For details on MICEnavi, please visit the website https://www.micenavi.jp/
For general information on the World PCO Alliance and guidance on how to integrate event technology in your next event, contact us!