m-powering the MICE Industry

Pallav Barah, Founder & CEO of AIDAIO, shares his insights on event technology and consumer engagement in an interview with T Radhakrishna of Elets News Network (ENN). The interview is featured in the eGov magazine’s April 2016 edition.

Read the complete interview here : http://egov.eletsonline.com/2016/04/m-powering-mice-industry/

After the successful launch of its first product ‘Carrot’ – a native mobile app for events, conferences, concerts, exhibitions, weddings and corporate events, AIDA has seen a keen interest from brands who want to continue conversations with their audience long after the event, and in creating memorable in-venue experiences. Pallav Barah, Director & Co-founder of AIDA, shares the company’s plans and technology products, apart from why consumer engagement is more than just marketing, in an interview with T Radhakrishna of Elets News Network (ENN)

How did the concept of Carrot evolve and what went into the making of the product?

Carrot is an idea that was born in a conference. We at AIDA observed a significant lack of digital connect at some of the conferences we attended. We spent three months speaking to event industry managers, attendees and sponsors to understand the dynamics, pain points and needs of the Indian event industry. We created Carrot keeping in mind the challenges in the event industry, including the lack of / minimal wi-fi connectivity at events, as well as the last-minute updates required to be made. The first Carrot app was sold even before the company was set up, and within six months of launch, Carrot was shortlisted under the Best Event Technology category at MICE – Asia Pacific Awards 2015.

When did it go live? What are the unique features of Carrot?

Carrot was launched in Novmber 2014 with a vision to bring the focus back on attendee engagement, and nurturing private social communities at events. The core value proposition of Carrot is the ability for event managers to design, theme and publish on their apps within one hour. Carrot is powered by a cloud-based backend that provides great flexibility and agility to event managers to manage last-minute changes, turn on/ off features, and even access content when there is no internet. Due to this flexibility, Carrot app can be used for any kind of event – business or technical conferences, medical conferences, networking events, exhibitions, trade shows and even weddings.

The backend also provides powerful real time analytics for event managers to monitor and react to the pulse of the event. Recently, Carrot launched some multilingual apps to empower event managers to publish content in more than 25 languages – Indian and Global. Its various interactive features increase audience engagement through polls, surveys, games, private chat, etc. We also have smart integrations with EventBrite to manage ticketing and registrations and with Uber to create a seamless channel for attendees to not just find the event venue but also book their ride to the venue.

What are your expectations from Carrot?

We expect Carrot to democratise event technology and enable every event big or small to adapt event technology solutions. Today, the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) industry in India is growing fast. More and more events have started to place the right emphasis on audience engagement, and to create an experience that converts passive attendees into brand ambassadors and influencers. This change is not possible without creating an interactive, conversational channel that can help the event brands hear what the consumer has to say, and react to it quickly. AIDA’s vision is to lead this change, and create the right technology that can complete the high touchpoint human interactions, without compromising on ease of use and consumer experience.

What is the roadmap for growth of AIDA?

AIDA has launched three products in the event technology and attendee engagement space within a span of 15 months. Carrot – native white-labeled event app; Ice – interactive digital games for product activations; and Hashout – live projected slideshows and social walls, are all geared towards creating a wow experience for attendees at events, and providing flexibility and real-time insights to event organisers. The road ahead for AIDAIO is to continue to provide end-to-end solutions, which can seamlessly cover the end-to-end experience of an attendee right from the time an event concept is created to much after the event.

 

AIDAIO Launches Ice : Games for Product Activations & Experiential Marketing

There are umpteen ways to increase your brand’s market reach, but at its very core, the power of brand marketing hinges on the relationship between your brands and its consumers. Brands have harnessed the power of consumer influence through captive messaging and employed appropriate media platforms to nurture a brand image.

Product launches and activation events are one such place where your brands hold a higher visibility. They play an important role in increasing your audience engagement. These events provide a window for consumers to experience the brand and connect with it. In addition to it, exhibitions and trade shows also allows for a greater scope to showcase brands, capture leads, and build a relationship with consumers.

To accelerate the event experience, brands introduce different type of fun games as a part of their customer engagement programs. It delivers their brand experience with a sense of surprise – an unexpected but a fulfilling encounter.

But many-times, these games are either paper based or bulky to carry around to even consider any customization. Also, they don’t present a quick and easy way to capture leads. What good is an engagement program where the process of capturing valuable insights has not been streamlined?

This is where AIDAIO’s new product, Ice, can complement and elevate the brand experience.

Ice is a collection of interactive digital games, launched by AIDAIO, with the goal of increasing attendee engagement and brand recall in exhibitor booths, conferences, activation events, product launches. Some of the games available are Spin wheel, treasure hunt (with iBeacons), Quiz, PicZle – picture puzzles, Hangman along with many more upcoming games.

Ice is available in Android and the iOS version is coming soon. Ice games are designed for iPads and tablets. Exhibitors and experiential marketers can choose one or more games, design and theme the games with their brand, and even configure the rules of the game!! Games can be now be setup and rolled out within a few hours.

Ice gives complete control of interactive audience engagement at the stalls by digitally capturing leads and providing valuable insights.

Download the Android app here. You can sign up to view demo of the game, and even request for a specific game for your upcoming event.

Our games. Your gains. Give Ice a spin now.

Go Global with our newly launched Multi-lingual apps

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We are happy to announce the launch of our Multi-lingual event app in languages such as Tamil, Hindi, Spanish, French, Bengali, Telugu, Gujarati, German, Dutch, Portuguese and many more… Now you can make the best use of your event app by engaging your regional and global attendees with content in the language of their choice. With over 95% of digital ad spent on English media and 200 million of the 402 million Indian users consuming internet in regional languages, there is an immense scope for regional language content in your apps.

What makes Carrot’s multilingual app unique is that you don’t need to manage or download a different app for every language. Event managers can publish content in every language they wish to activate. Attendees can download the event app, choose from the languages supported and Voila! They can view and interact in the language of their choice. As per a recent survey conducted by Economic Times, about 24 million internet users consume content in vernacular languages. More engrossing is the fact that about $20 Billion worth of content is consumed by Indians in local languages. There are more than 24 languages in Europe and there is a wide variety of languages spoken throughout Asia providing content that is relevant to the regional preference is key to reaching and engaging your audience.

By eliminating language barriers, it is evident that these multi-lingual features are of great value to delegates from across the globe. Events can now be more inclusive, and embrace the diversity of the attendees, without compromising on attendee experience or engagement. Carrot Apps leverage on this aspect and help events Go Global or Go Regional!

To know more on how to leverage multiple language support for your next event app to the best of your advantage, get in touch with us.

More power to your event with smart event technology

 

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Events are vibrant places to be in. The lively energy, dazzling displays, engaging conversations, lasting relationships and effortless networking are fostered by a beautifully woven magic, the result of hours of work and meticulous attention to detail by event managers.

In today’s digital world creating such memorable experiences cannot be limited to the ambience, aura, and performances, but needs to be extended with technology that recreates the very magic that the event epitomises.

Carrot event mobile app was launched to recreate these magical experiences.
According to Mangalam Nandakumar, founder and COO of AIDAIO, the company that created Carrot, “Last year, Carrot mobile apps were used by events that range from conferences, corporate events, exhibitions, concerts to weddings. We believe that the greatness of event technology is not in being a mere replacement of paper. Gorgeous design and smart technology has to blend in to recreate an event’s magical experience. Every event has its own personality and unique brand value. Technology needs to mimic and match the essence of any event.”

Events are highly volatile wherein schedules, speakers, sponsors are subject to change often. Event mobile apps rarely provide event managers the kinds of control or agility that can help them respond and react to these changes. Keeping the agility in mind, AIDAIO recently launched a secure cloud based platform to help event managers take complete control of their event apps with ability to design, theme, publish content and gain real time insights. Carrot’s unique focus on interaction and experience design is helping events create a new level of engagement and personalised experience for attendees – leading to more brand value, actionable intelligence, productivity and revenue.

Mangalam adds – “We want to provide a secure place for event communities to grow and thrive all year round. Today’s social networks provide tools for discovery not for deep engagement. Carrot offers a cost effective solution for event organizers to create brand ambassadors by targeting attendees with real time contextual content without being intrusive”

Besides traditional event app features Carrot provides unique features like
● Activity feed to aggregate buzz around community posts, announcements, and news besides a powerful chat option to talk to event organizers and community real-time.
● Interactive features like polls with images, timed quizzes, photo contests, online & offline gamification with beacons.
● A flexible multi-blog and pdf-document feature to highlight informative relevant content.
● Push and track text and image push notifications with quick actions.
● Best-in-class gorgeous templates to design apps that match theme and branding of the event.
● Easy-to-use control panel for event managers to organize event content, moderate user content besides better real-time insights to track event ROI.
● And for the first-time ability for event organizers to schedule and publish content in a jiffy from the app itself !

“Discovery is constant and desire to engage is instant. Intuitive mobile technology and smart engagement without compromising event experience are the need of today’s event world.” said Mangalam.

Carrot, powered by AIDAIO’s powerful, cloud based platform can now empower Event Managers to Recreate the Magic at their Events.

CII lists AIDAIO as Top 10 Promising Start-ups

This article first appeared in CII Innovation & Entrepreneurship

CII Industrial Innovation Awards 2015 CII Industrial Innovation Awards were instituted by CII in 2014 to recognize and celebrate innovative Indian enterprises across industry segments. These premier awards seek to recognize and honor the Indian Industry’s brightest stars and to identify the top Innovative Organizations in the country. They give an opportunity to companies to shine and be known nationally and internationally for their Innovative products and services. The second edition of CII Industrial Innovation Awards this year has been a grand success because of the high quality of applications, the doubling in the number of entries, the robustness and thoroughness of the evaluation process and the presence of an illustrious constellation of experts in technology, business and innovation space as the Jury.

From this year onwards, a special category of Start-ups, in addition to the regular category, has been introduced in the CII Industrial Innovation Awards. Under start-ups category there are two types of awards – for Best Manufacturing Start-up and Best Service Start-up. The overall winner in the start-up category is being given the Grand Award which is the Most Innovative Start-up of the Year. In the regular category, a total of 150 entries were received this year out of which the jury selected top 25 most innovative companies. From these 25, 4 companies are being given special awards under various categories. In the start-up category, the number of entries received was 50. Out of these, the jury selected top 10 most innovative start-ups. Out of these 10, 2 start-ups are being given special category awards.

In the regular category, the evaluation criteria gave 40% weightage to innovation, 40% to impact and 20% to innovation framework. In the start- up category, the weightages were 40% for innovation, 30% for market opportunity and 30% for impact. The jury members included Prof. Devang Khakhar, Director, IIT Bombay; Prof. P. P. Chakrabarti, Director, IIT Kharagpur; Prof. Rishikesha T Krishnan, Director, IIM Indore; Prof. Y S Rajan, Dr Vikram Sarabhai Distinguished Professor, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO); Mr Prabhat Ranjan, Executive Director, Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC); Prof. H P Khincha, Adviser, Dept. of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Science (IISC), Bangalore and Prof. S.P. Kothari, Deputy Dean, Gordon Y Billard Professor of Management, Director, MIT India Program.
Award ceremony

A total of 43 awards will be given today. These include 25 awards in regular category; 10 in start-up category, 6 in special category and 2 awards in the grand awards category.
Top 10 Start-up Awards
1. Capital Numbers Infotech Pvt. Ltd.
2. AIDAIO Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
3. Right Track Admizzionz Campuz Pvt. Ltd.
4. Finmart Advisory Pvt. Ltd.
5. GT Silicon Pvt. Ltd.
6. Ananya Seeds Pvt. Ltd.
7. Yoma Multinational Solutions
8. Casa Brands India Pvt. Ltd.
9. Cyborg Cyber Forensics & Information Security Pvt. Ltd.
10. Feel Good Design.
Regular category
1. Arteria Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
2. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd.
3. Carborundum Universal Ltd.
4. CoreEL Technologies (I) Pvt. Ltd.
5. Cotmac Electronics Pvt. Ltd.
6. Efkon India Pvt. Ltd.
7. Elcome Integrated Systems Pvt. Ltd.
8. JK Lakshmi Cement Ltd.
9. Jyoti Cero Rubber.
10. Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd.
11. L&T Electrical & Automation.
12. Manatec Electronics Pvt. Ltd.
13. Max Life Insurance Company Ltd.
14. Neogi Technologies and Research Pvt. Ltd.
15. Robert Bosch Engineering & Business Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
16. Southern Agro Engine Pvt. Ltd.
17. Sterlite Technologies Ltd.
18. Hotel Suryagarh, Jaisalmer.
19. Tata Chemicals Ltd.
20. Tata Steel.
21. Uflex Ltd.
22. Vedanta Ltd.
23. Wipro Ltd.
24. Zen Technologies Ltd.
25. Zydus Cadila

Special category awards There were 6 awards in this segment, of which there were 4 awards in regular category (the other 3 categories in 2015 did not have any winners and there were 2 winners in the start-up category)

1. Best Start-up in Manufacturing category (Ananya Seeds Pvt. Ltd.)
2. Best Start-up in Service category (Right Track Admizzionz Campuz Pvt. Ltd.)
3. Award for Manufacturing sector – Large enterprises (Zydus Cadila)
4. Award for Manufacturing sector – Large enterprises (Uflex Ltd.)
5. Award for Manufacturing sector –Micro & Small enterprises (CoreEL Technologies (I) Pvt. Ltd.)
6. Award for Service sector Large enterprise (Robert Bosch Engineering & Business Solutions Pvt.

2. Grand Awards (includes both regular and start-up category)

a. Most Innovative Startup of the Year (Right Track Admizzionz Campuz Pvt. Ltd.)
b. Most Innovative company of the Year (Zydus Cadila)

Want to build the next WhatsApp? An idea & two people is all you need

This article first appeared in The Economic Times

August 13, 2015 – BENGALURU: There is an app for everything today: to study, to order groceries and to even call a valet. Two people could build an app, given the vast resources available today. There are even courses that help non-coders build apps. But can they sustain it? Unlikely, say experts. Akshay Kingar, who runs Foofys, an app development firm in Bengaluru, says the first step in developing apps is to spot big problems.

“WhatsApp identified that people needed to talk to one another, without paying. Flipboard improvised on the “flip” action. They might not be the best looking apps, but they stick, because they solve a very big problem,” said Kingar, whose firm works with Prana Healthcare Enablers, Happily Unmar-ried, among others. His firm was picked as the best startup in the Mobile Applications Conference in 2012.

Compared to creating websites for PCs, developing mobile apps is a different ball game. “Website keeps you in a bubble. Even if a website crashes, it is blamed on the browser or the net connection. Not so for an app,” said CEO Pallav Barah of aida. io, which is developing a platform to turbo charge the app development process.

Android and iOS platforms lay down the frameworks where one can build an app. But even before that, a bit of groundwork always helps. For instance, when Foofys was asked to develop an app for hyper local gaming communities, Kingar immediately set up several WhatsApp groups, just to understand what sportspersons talk about before the game. He observed their behaviour for about 20 days, and then started sketching out the specifics of the app. The user experience team conducts research, observe behaviour, while the user interface folks build the first prototype. They create a ‘wire frame’ or a bare-bone structure on a paper or on a software, laying out the elements, mapping out what buttons lead to which actions. Once this “prototype” or skeleton is clear, the team of developers and designers enter the Android or iOS environment. If the app is more than just a calculator or a flashlight, and needs to fetch data from servers like a Facebook or Flipkart, technologies like Java, PHP, Ruby on Rails, Python come into the picture.

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Foofys said it takes at least five people to work on an app full time — the user interface/user experience person, an Android developer, a tester, a coder (who works on Ruby on Rails, Java and related technologies) and a project manager (in case of services firms). There is no step-by-step approach or a hand-over phenomenon.

Everyone works in parallel, and rapidly tests the app, before they release it to the Play Store. It takes about two months to develop an app. Foofys, which is an established firm, charges `3-4 lakh to develop a basic app for clients, while the maintenance could go up to `7 lakh a month. Starters can make do in much less amounts. Once released, it is important to talk about it on social media, blog about it and create awareness.

“It should be a two-way street — app developers should create awareness and desire among users to get the app,” said Manish Maheshwari, founder of txtWeb, which he exited to Intuit. Most startups and developers forget that an app is a means to an end and are often under the impression that a founder needs to know how to make apps.

“Mobile application development, per se by itself, is not a barrier to starting up. What is key, is the business model that the app is built around,” said Piyush Shah, chief product officer at mobile ad network InMobi. But do you ever stop working on an app? “You never stop tweaking it,” said Pallav Barah.