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Streamlining Macs and PCs at Your Next Conference or Event

March 24, 2015

byod

Congratulations! You have made the decision to go green at your next meeting by letting attendees Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to run conference apps and participate in paperless surveys.

Although this all sounds like a natural way to enhance a meeting, the BYOD process requires careful planning, communication and flawless execution by the event organizer. The coordination of multiple devices — including iPhones, iPads, laptops, tablets and Android phones — can be tricky if the questions aren’t asked.

Four Streamlining Questions to Ask

1. What devices are your attendees bringing to the conference?
As part of the registration process, include a short survey to determine the following from conference attendees:

  • What type of laptop, tablet and/or smartphone they will be bringing — this is often best answered by a multiple choice question that includes model numbers rather than a “write in” option.
  • What operating system/versions are loaded on these devices?
  • With regard to speakers and exhibitors, what devices do they plan to connect to (e.g., LCD projectors, plasma monitors, video walls)?
  • Will they be bringing their own hot spot or MiFi unit?

Remember, all device drivers are not created equal and may very well be incompatible from one computer to the next. For example, the first-generation iPad does not support the latest edition of iOS, thus restricting the type of apps it can support.

Having this information well ahead of time will help shape the technological considerations well ahead of the actual event.

2. What apps will your stakeholders use? 
Once you know what your attendees plan to bring, now you need to find the right apps to support them. While most apps are Web-based and Web-responsive, not all are. Plus, Web-based apps are constantly polling the Internet for updates and can be bandwidth-intensive.

To combat this, make certain any event apps are supported on Mac and PC devices, as well as smartphones, if they are part of the application mix.

Are your presenters bringing their own computers? If so, what apps will they be displaying? Again, you need to make certain your LCD projector “talks” to their computer. Don’t assume anything — while sometimes attendees view technological questions as a little painful, it’s worth it in the long run to ensure a seamless experience.

3. Will the Wi-Fi infrastructure be fast enough to support your event?
Once you have a solid estimate regarding the number of devices, the types of operating systems and app needs, schedule a chat with IT support to ensure there is enough WI-Fi infrastructure to support all needs. Also be sure to ask about peak usage — and how the team will be monitoring bandwidth needs for crucial times.

4. Will you have a help area? 
There will be some attendees who require no help accessing the apps and using the hardware while others will struggle. Having a dedicated area to help with any technological needs is a nice — and essential — touch. Be sure you have experts on hand for all types of technology present at the event.

While both Apple and Microsoft products have their strengths and weaknesses, streamlining the meeting process ultimately comes down to proactively addressing any compatibility and connectivity issues you might have at your conference​

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