If you're attending a professional conference or symposium, you can expect to do a lot of walking around, meeting and greeting, professional networking and intensive learning. Unfortunately, you can also expect to be saddled with a lot of paper: venue maps, agendas, speaker bios, training manuals and product information. For years, the events industry has been working towards the goal of 'green meetings' that manage with little or no printed collateral for participants to schlep around. Unfortunately, getting a ubiquitous, easy-to-use and relatively inexpensive solution for this challenge has proved elusive.
Enter the big brains at Parliant, a longtime Mac developer based in Ottawa, Canada. For the past three years, CEO Kevin Ford and his team have been quietly testing, tuning and deploying one-off implementations of just such a 'paperless conference' solution for big-name customers like the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Canadian Media Production Association -- you can see the results on the App Store today.
Deployed on the iPod touch or iPhone, the conference apps install quickly from the App Store and then perform a full data download over Wi-Fi to fill in all the necessary content: agendas, exhibitors, maps, product details and attendee contact/social networking capabilities. The apps even include exhibitor ads, helping defray the costs for conference organizers. Parliant worked with customers to organize and convert all their content for use on the app platform.
Ford's confidence in his white-label solution is now at the point where Parliant is ready to offer this platform to the market at large. Conference Companion is now available for deployment by meeting organizers, based on a modular configuration; you only purchase the features you need. For large events and professional meetings, it's a huge step forward in the elimination of the paper schlep.