Introducing The Tinder Of Corporate Conferences
If users—mostly the ones who are 18 to 24 years old, male and single—think that the new networking mobile app for business professionals, SummitSync, behaves suspiciously like the dating app Tinder, they would be correct. The interface looks familiar because one of the firm’s advisors (Dinesh Moorjani) is also a co-founder of dating app Tinder. The similarities end there though. SummitSync moves corporate event organizers beyond simply facilitating a connection and into the elusive realm of attendee and enterprise return on investment.
To use SummitSync, attendees simply login with their LinkedIn credentials, select the conference (the developer pre-loads events into the platform) and swipe right (interested) or left (not interested) when attendee profiles appear. After both parties agree to connect, in-app messaging, access to email, calendaring tools and enterprise customer relationship management (CRM) systems become available. In April, the app will be also be able to access location services and Google Maps on mobile devices so that users can find each other.
SummitSync, which launched February 9, differs in many ways from traditional event-mobile apps. It doesn’t provide the conference agenda, exhibitor list or map of the meeting space. The app isn’t provided to attendees at the behest of the conference organizer (necessarily). In fact, it’s designed so that attendees can download the app once from the Apple or Android app store and use it at all the events they attend rather than having to download separate “official” apps for every conference.
Making it easier for business professionals to connect at conferences is only half of the value proposition of SummitSync for organizers. It actually solves a larger problem. The app automatically records the interactions between attendees and business prospects in the company’s CRM (Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, and SAP). Capturing contacts that would otherwise evaporate into thin air helps the company determine whether the staff it sent to a conference was productive and on task or that the corporate conference it held was a good return on investment.
SummitSync is offered free of charge to users and conference organizers for the first year. After that, organizers will have to pay a fee to unlock the CRM connectivity and data that the app collects. Because the app reaches down into LinkedIn, there is a lot conference organizers can learn about the demographics of the attendees and companies that are engaging at a conference. And since the app is delivered across a wide variety of conferences, it can provide benchmarking metrics across an industry or across the events for a single company.
There are both pros and cons of SummitSync. The company has done a good job of checking off the list of must-have features for an event-centric app: the app is kind to a smartphone’s battery life, it caches data in case the WiFi or cellular service is less than stellar in the venue. For added firepower, the app has a patent-pending algorithm that can predict which connections are most likely to produce successful business outcomes. On the other hand, it is a separate app that users would have to download (once) in addition to the official conference directory app, but that doesn’t seem like a big ask for millennials or any age group.
There are some excellent attendee-networking applications already on the market for events. Most of them require the buy-in of conference organizers in order to market the app to attendees and integrate it with registration data. Several use LinkedIn as the common connection denominator, but none have post-event CRM integration. “The goal is to internalize opportunities so the enterprise can continue to engage,” says SummitSync CEO and Founder, John Corrigan. If Tinder’s popularity is any indication, the app is off to an auspicious start.