Events bring people together, and people attend a given event for certain reasons. Ryan Costello, founder and CEO of Event Farm, tells us about HOVER, the company’s newest offering that gathers all of the data a corporate or branded event organizer could ever hope to capture – easily and seamlessly. And keeps the check-in lines moving.
Tell us about the product.
HOVER is the first NFC activation platform specifically designed for corporate and branded events that fully integrates into an event invitation and registration platform. HOVER serves as the foundation for a variety of engagement apps that will be created to allow brands to collect valuable data and have that information integrate back into our guest management software, while at the same time interacting and engaging with their attendees at the event.
- Streamlined Activation: By integrating HOVER into the Event Farm invitation, registration and mobile guest check-in system, we’ve solved the challenge of activating guests on-the-fly at the door. We can activate guests in real-time using off-the-shelf mobile devices, which means… less lines and quicker activations!
- Smarter Hardware: We decided to build HOVER on the Droid platform so that our clients don’t have to use expensive proprietary hardware.
- Brand-ability: By using the High-Def graphic capabilities and screens of Android based tablets and smartphones, brands are able to create beautiful and brand specific interactions and activations.
- Data-Focused: HOVER is built to capture guest engagement data in the most non-intrusive and experiential ways through opt-in methods like tapping a bracelet or badge on a tablet. This ensures that the data collected is based on a meaningful and deliberate action by an attendee.
- Quality of User Experience: User interactions are meant to be simple and straightforward; leveraging the familiarity of touch-screen tablets plays to the inherent curiosity guests have when seeing one, and the simple gesture-based commands make up the activation and ultimately collects data.
- It’s a series of Apps: Think of it like this… We register guests online before the event. Then when we check them in at the door and “activate” them, they spend the event interacting with a variety of HOVER apps, ranging from an access control app to a drink order app, photo booth app, survey, sweepstakes….There are limitless possibilities to creating in-event engagement.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
In the past, NFC and it’s big brother RFID have been used primarily at large festivals, concerts and consumer activations. Our goal with HOVER is to serve our client base of recognizable global brands and events with a NFC solution that is tailored for and easily deployable to the more traditional events market – a market that is virtually untapped in the corporate and branded events space.
What is the business model?
The great thing about HOVER is that it is an extension of our existing registration and check-in platform. Clients will be able to add HOVER to their event by determining the types of activation apps (access control, survey, photo booth, etc.) and then the quantity of each of those activations within the event. This model allows us to easily budget and determine the types of engagement suitable for each client use case.
We’ve been hearing about NFC for a long time now. Are we at the tipping point in terms of adoption now? If yes, why?
Yes, we are definitely at the tipping point in terms of NFC adoption. In the beginning of NFC development, event professionals were reluctant to accept NFC technology, as the concept wasn’t familiar or easily deployable. With NFC being incorporated into almost all Android devices today, which serve as the engagement side of HOVER, and the decreased price of NFC assets (stickers, badges, bracelets) that are provided to the attendees, NFC is an actual reality that can transform events now, rather than just a technology of the far off future.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within 6 months?
We are lucky to have a loyal and adventurous client base. Since the launch of HOVER at BizBash in NYC, we’ve already been awarded our first activation. Our plan within the next 6 months is to deploy the HOVER platform across a variety of events, showing the flexibility and brand ability of the platform to create engaging attendee experiences and the value of the resulting data. We hope to prove the merit of HOVER through these experiences and will build case studies to inform event professionals how they can benefit from emerging NFC technologies that are more easily incorporated into the world of traditional corporate events.
Why did you launch in New York?
We announced the release of HOVER at BizBash IdeaFest NYC 2013. Surrounded by so many meeting and event professionals, the environment was one that inspired and cultivated innovation, much like New York itself. NYC has always been on the forefront of the event industry, navigating unchartered territory. As HOVER is an emerging event tech unlike others, we wanted to debut it in a community that reflected that.