Chatbot-First Event Management Software for Time- and IT-Starved Conference Organizers
Chatbot-First Event Management Software for Time- and IT-Starved Conference Organizers18-Apr-2019
Event management software (EMS), which automates the tasks associated with planning a conference, has been available for at least a quarter century. In the beginning, developers focused on core logistical tasks, such as agenda building, project management, speaker and content management and (for meetings with a trade show component) floorplan and booth sales. That’s changed.
As the competition became more formidable, many EMS developers added new platform features. Registration and website building were among the first enhancements to be added, followed by event mobile apps, marketing automation, and more specific data and analytics capabilities (ROI calculators, for example). Spice Factory elected to move in another direction. It developed Sava Events, a chatbot-first event management software platform.
A better way to compete
Event chatbots, conversational interfaces that allow attendees to ask and receive information about a conference using the text messaging capabilities of smartphones, make sense as an extension of an event management system. They are popular. Attendees don’t have to download an app to use them, and they act as an on-demand communication channel between the organizer and the attendee, which is especially important in the absence of an event mobile app.
Nino Rupić, business developer at Spice Factory, describes why chatbots were of interest to Spice Factory. “One of the best ways to communicate with an audience and save organizers time is to build a chatbot. It provides attendees with all the event information they need through channels they already use like Facebook Messenger,” he says. Sava Events, for example, connects whole pages of conference content to the chatbot with a click.
Chatbots are not new for Spice Factory. As a full stack digital product agency that works with enterprise and startup clients across multiple industries, it is tasked with innovation. And in addition to Sava Events, Spice Factory built another proprietary chatbot product for the banking industry. Both bots leverage popular messaging platforms, including SMS text, Facebook Messenger, and Viber.
Most event chatbots, such as EventBots by Sciensio and bots from atlasRTX, Eventumbot and others are standalone chatbot platforms. As a chatbot-first EMS, Sava Events offers event organizers a different pathway to a chatbot experience. All the information entered into the EMS—schedules, speakers, locations, tracks, session descriptions, social activities, and sponsors—is accessible via the chatbot. No re-entry or migration of content is required, which saves time and reduces the burden on the IT staff.
Beyond the standard event chatbot
Standing up a chatbot using conference information is part of the workflow in the Sava Events platform. However, organizers can also add other information unrelated to conference content into its conversation automation dashboard. “It works like an FAQ panel. [Organizers] can predict what additional questions people will ask: where is the parking lot?, when does lunch start?, or what is the Wi-Fi password? They can loop in human support if they need to,” explains Rupić.
Spice Factory built other bot capabilities into the Sava Events platform too. Attendees can set reminders, customize their schedules, rate speakers and sessions using the bot. They can also use the chatbot to ask questions of speakers during a presentation, a capability similar to second-screen apps. Speakers and session moderators can use Sava Events to filter and organize audience questions utilizing a laptop or mobile device.
A chatbot is one way that organizers can use Sava Events to communicate with attendees, but a native mobile (container) app is integrated with the platform as well as digital signage capabilities. What all of this “pre-integration” alludes to is that Sava Events can replace many on-site point solutions like third-party mobile event, polling, second-screen, and Q & A apps, and allow organizers to distribute content to multiple devices via a single dashboard.
Although Rupić refers to Sava Events alternately as an event management system and an attendee engagement tool, it may be more useful to think of it as a fluid software organism. Data entered into the back-end flows into devices or the event website easily. It can, through an application programming interface (API), integrate with other software applications like registration, and features like the chatbot or Q & A can be carved out into modules and sold separately. At a time when the event industry is inundated with technology, organizers need options that are flexible, affordable, and multi-functional. Sava Events fit the bill.