In our Winter 2017 issues, we’re featuring the tech companies that were part of the 2016 ibtm America TechCollective in partnership with DAHLIA+. Because we can only fit so much in print, read on here for our full interview with Scott Cohen, chief revenue officer, Conferences i/o.
Conferences i/o is a real-time audience engagement platform that can be integrated into any event app and focuses specifically on ARS (Audience Response System). Check out this quick promo video.
What are some of Conferences i/o’s outstanding features for meeting/event planners?
Conferences i/o is a web-based application that increases audience engagement and learning outcomes around the globe at meetings, conferences, training/review courses, workshops, etc. The platform performs at real-time hyper speeds and its main features include Social Q&A, Polling and Session Evaluations.
Social Q&A allows attendees to both ask questions and up-vote other people’s questions. Questions then re-order in real-time so when it’s time for Q&A, speakers know which questions are most important to the entire group ... not just those willing to raise their hand.
Using our Windows PowerPoint or Mac Keynote/PowerPoint Add-In, speakers can embed Polls directly into their presentation and attendees are able to respond in real-time on their own device. Results are projected on-stage in real-time.
Attendees can provide real-time feedback by submitting a Session Evaluation, resulting in higher response rates and more accurate data than standard post-event email surveys. It also enables planners to collect feedback on a per-session basis, not just the overall event. All data can be exported to an organized report for convenient analysis.
Planners can also: fully customize to match their brand, easily integrate into any mobile event app, use both in-person and/or online with virtual attendees.
The benefit to attendees is they can participate in seconds using any web-based device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.) without downloading anything. The benefit for planners is an average 5x-8x increase in participation and engagement (as reported by our customers), real-time insight and data exporting, and higher ROI.
What was the inspiration for starting Conferences i/o?
While in college at Michigan State in 2002-03, our Director of Product and co-founder Dave Mulder noticed a student taking notes directly on a PowerPoint file rather than what everyone else did (printed out the notes). In that same class students were also asking useless questions and wasting time.
The idea came out of classes the following school year when students started bringing laptops to class. That’s when the vision came about of leveraging the devices people were already bringing with them. The 2007 release of the iPhone and the subsequent rise of smartphones created an opportunity for that vision to be realized.
While the idea was originally conceived for the classroom, we discovered a major pain point in 2012 at educational meetings and events—attendees don't learn by just sitting in a chair listening. They learn by actively participating and staying engaged, which is the foundation of our technology and came to be known as Conferences i/o. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, we're serving clients and events of all types worldwide.
Do you have any numbers/figures/percentages you can share related to the technology?
Used in 185 different countries Used in more than 1.5 million sessions worldwide Used by over 1.3 million people worldwide Over 115,000 questions asked using Social Q&A