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March 6, 2018

Portugal: Event Apps Will Change...

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pedro varela

There is an ongoing change when we talk about technology for events that can transform the way we handle this process.

Let's start by explaining the two concepts that currently exist in the event application market: the white label app and the universal application.

White label apps are those where, for each event, there is an application with a name, icon and image of its own. This is replicated by the number of clients, which in turn result in events. Typically, this has been the model most customers followed. Whenever there is an event, which can even repeat every year, there is a specific application for it.

The universal application, as opposed to the model described above, is that in which all events are within the same application, with each client preserving their data and privacy being completely respected. However, this app is unique, with the same name and icon that identifies it. Its customisation only happens from this phase, that is, when an event guest enters the credentials to access its content.

One simple way to understand, and with sensitive data, is Google's email application: Gmail. It is the same application for all clients (business or personal) and then each page has its custom features. The same happens with Slack, TeamBook, Trello and so many other applications that have long followed this business model. Because it is business models we are talking about and their influence on how technology suits events.

Currently, the most frequent business model has been white-label apps, which, historically, follow the traditional model of the business world. A classic approach that already happened to brands when they started deploying mobile applications. A brand, a concept, an app.

However, with the so-called "new economy", with the importance of applis in the "cloud" and what this allows, the trend is to converge in a model already used in so many other cases, in which the application is a "container" of all events.

Last June, DoubleDutch CEO Lawrence Coburn had already lifted the tip of the veil in a text he posted on his LinkedIn after a meeting with Apple.

Why Apple? The answer is quite simple, given the importance of this partner in the app universe.

Also last June, Apple hosted its annual developer conference, the WWDC, where important announcements are usually made. And last year did not break the rule. It was there, and at Coburn's meeting with the American giant, that it became clear Apple is getting ready to change the rules of distribution of apps in its digital store. In the specific case of events, it is very clear: the way to follow is the universal app and increasingly distancing suppliers from white-label apps, that is, a specific app for each customer.

Taking into account that Apple can determine how this unfolds, it would not be the first time it had set the course for a particular business. As a leading player in the world of applications and information technology giant, with all the lobbying capacity it has, it is more than clear that what is now a possibility will soon become mandatory.

By now, if you work in the event industry, you will be asking if this is really the best option.

Only time will tell, of course, but if you look around for the business apps that are used by customers around the world, the fact is that event apps are following a parallel path, which brings added problems to those who distribute and develop applications.

Those who distribute, such as Apple and Google, will no longer have several approval processes in place. The universal app is approved, it will only change when the product itself is modified, and what changes is each event content. In this case, those who develop or manage content are those responsible. For both suppliers and end customers, who organise the event, there are clear advantages in the approval process. It will be simpler, for example, to manage participants registration or to produce each guest's credentials.

So we go back to the beginning of this text and the specific case of the product for which I am responsible. Embly, in the market since 2015, has been tested by dozens of customers in more than a hundred events, and is prepared for this crucial change, which can happen as early as 2018.

We are preparing an Embly universal application that will be able to host customised events from each client, ensuring data privacy and elevating events to another level of interactivity.

Pedro Varela
Embly Business Manager

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