Native vs. Web App is Key Decision since Wi-Fi at venues is too expensive and not meeting demands

Native vs. Web App is Key Decision since Wi-Fi at venues is too expensive and not meeting demands

IAEE releases white paper: Wi-Fi and Mobile Challenges in the Exhibitions and Events Industry

Reading the white paper by IAEE, not much seems to have changed during the past 5 years when it comes to Internet access at venues – it’s too limited and too expensive. Demand will only increase with the expected rise in tablet sales over the next couple of years. IDC is forecasting a 54% increase this year over 2011.

While the majority of facilities seems to be open to renegotiate the price, free quality Wi-Fi outside of common areas is not going to be available soon. Based on the responses in the white paper, some facilities don’t even offer connectivity at all.

Realizing these challenges, the choice between an Internet hungry web app for your event versus a native app that works without Wi-Fi is the most important decision. This choice determines if your attendees have a great app experience or end up using a printed program out of frustration. If you are reviewing conference apps, here are some tips to ensure the app is going to be useful at the event:

  • Can you download session materials such as PowerPoint presentations for access and note taking during the session?
  • Are scientific and medical abstracts included in the app so Wi-Fi is not required?
  • Do images get cached to enhance the rich experience of the app?
  • Turn your phone into airplane mode to simulate the venue. Can you still build your schedule? Navigate maps? Take notes?
  • Does the app render itself useless while it’s trying to get data updates over a slow connection?
While some web apps are developed for caching and offline access, there are many limitations in features, performance, and the amount of content (web apps have a size limit for caching). Many of our EventPilot apps handle thousands of offline research papers which is not feasible in web apps. If you haven’t tried a real native app, simply search for Catersource or ACC.12 in the App Store or Android Market.