• What information changes can be distributed during the conference?
    Any conference data that is on the device can be updated at any time before during or after the conference. You change it on the server and it is then automatically delivered to the devices as they connect to the show's Wi-Fi network throughout the day. Experience indicates that changes to schedules, documents and mass emails can easily be accommodated throughout the conference.

    Parliant’s innovative sync system invisibly updates devices whenever the attendees use them inside the conference center where wireless networking is available. Attendees receive their social messages and device updates without any manual actions required.
  • How can attendees work effectively with such a small screen?
    The screens in Conference Companion are custom designed to present as much data as reasonably possible on the small-size screen of the iPhone and iPod Touch. Information screens present a suitable amount of information with suitable text sizes, maps are designed with simple touch controls for panning and zooming, and lists of information are designed for easy scrolling and searching. We have also augmented the user experiences with a full suite of automated search tools.

    The conference program can be viewed one day at a time, or over the entire conference. Lists of sessions can be limited to a particular subject area to create manageable lists of interesting sessions even from the largest conference programs. Keyword searching helps people find the exact session they may be looking for in seconds.

    The application provides features that paper books could never do. With the simple touch of a button, the user can be taken from a session abstract directly to a speaker’s biography; another touch of a button lets the attendee send that speaker a message. From any session or exhibitor booth listing, there is one-touch access to the map for that location – the attendee goes directly to the right map with the exact location marked, and another touch on the map takes the user to a detailed zoomed-in map to help navigate complicated spaces. These features make the Conference Companion solution faster than flipping back and forth in a conference program booklet.

    Now you can find, sessions using search by day, time slot, by conference organizers grouping, by title. You can find a speaker and list all sessions they are involved with. You can review biographies of speakers to help you decide if the session is worth you valuable time. You can even type in a few letters and words and have them matched in session descriptions or titles. Once found, and evaluated you can add a session to your personal schedule.

    There is also a similar set of tools to help you find, review and select people, be they attendees, Speakers or exhibitors you wish to add to your list of "be sure to contact or visit".

    Personal scheduling features allow the attendee to get an at-a-glance list of just those sessions, exhibitors and other activities that they have selected for themselves.

    The compact size of the attendee device combined with optimized screen experiences and sophisticated search features make the small device screen superior to paper in many ways.
  • Is Conference Companion a software application or a web service?
    Conference Companion has the advantages of both approaches.

    The Conference Companion iOS application for installation on your iPod touch, iPhone or iPad stores the conference information locally on your device but quietly updated in the background via the Show's WiFi network. If the server, the internet or the WiFi die, with Conference Companion, the user experiences a graceful degradation of services. Since the application and the show data are stored on the handheld device, the user only looses the ability to receive schedule updates or social networking messages, features that did not exist before this app anyway. Contrast this approach to a Browser based solution where the network becomes unavailable for any reason the browser based solution comes to a complete halt with zero information available to the attendees.

    Conference Companion has been written to ensure that all attendees have uninterrupted access to all content at all times that it is convenient to them. Having an application that provides all information when no network is available allows attendees to use the device everywhere they go, including at their hotels and in restaurants where the application continues to provide the user with all the essential features needed to get around the conference, like maps and schedules.

    While Conference Companion permits linking to live web sites from within many features of the application as desired, such as advertising, exhibitor listings and general conference information areas, and these features use an integrated web browsing experience, no "core" features of the application require any Internet access to operate.

  • Does Conference Companion run on any other platform besides iPod Touch, iPhone and iPod?
    It is our intent to support multiple mobile devices, but to date we have focussed on getting it right on a single platform. Writing then testing a new feature on multiple platforms and technologies would have slowed the innovation process down dramatically. Happily we are approaching the end of that very dynamic process and have converged on an optimal set of field proven features and procedures.

    More than half of our work has been on the back end servers that no-one sees or are even aware of (if we do out job right). These are the servers which collect and organize and distribute all the meeting information, to all mobile users. We have worked long and hard to develop tools and procedures to bulk import of your data from your existing tools. We have also developed web browser based tools for you to modify or add content as it arrives at your doorstep. All this central server work will be reused for the other handheld platforms.

    We are now in the phase of repeating the mobile app portion on other platforms. Which platforms we do, and in what order, will be dictated by our customers. Your feedback and opinions in this area are welcome. Contact us.