August 22nd, 2017 by Deborah Siddiqi
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A leading global association of tradeshow organizers and the exhibition industry has recognized Grip as one of the top event apps this year.
UFI, which comprises 725 member organizations in 85 countries worldwide, awarded Grip its 2017 ICT Technology Award in July. The Technology Award honors outstanding digital tools designed to make the next generation of exhibition professionals fit for the future, and recognizes new technologies that support the exhibition industry. The theme for this year’s Award was: “Digital Innovation – What will be our solution for the future?”.
Grip, which also won last year’s IMEXPitch, stood out from the competition with an innovative product which offers an event networking app that has established more than 60,000 connections (and counting) for thousands of professionals.
Presenting at the UFI European Conference, Co-Founder and Grip CEO Tim Groot explained that the idea for the product emerged when the organizers of Cannes Lions 2016 wanted a smoother and more engaging way for attendees to network. Grip’s solution was to design a standalone custom event app using Artificial Intelligence to power a matchmaking API (Application Programming Interface) to deliver the best networking recommendations in a fast and friendly way.
Put to the test at the 15,000-attendee event, the Cannes Lions networking app established an average of 8.4 connections per user and more than 20,000 connections over a few days, enabling hundreds of face-to-face meetings, meaningful connections, and creating a huge positive impact on the event experience.
Also presented were
According to UFI, “presentations from the finalists were of an excellent standard, making the selection of an overall winner a very challenging assignment”. However, Grip’s presentation was “clear, comprehensive and met all the requirements needed for the tool to be considered a winning solution”. Other finalists presenting to the UFI’s Digital Innovation Committee in Cologne, Germany, included Messe München GmbH, ExpoPlatform, and Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Center.
“The UFI Technology Award is one of the most prestigious technology awards in the trade show world.” says Tim Groot. “We feel honored to be chosen as this year’s winner among so many great companies, and it’s great to see that the judges share our belief that technology can vastly improve networking and deliver an improved return on investment for exhibitors by leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence.”
“We are looking forward to presenting our solution at UFI’s Global Congress in Johannesburg later this year and will continue to push the boundaries of technology at trade shows.”
Grip’s win comes hot on the heels of last year’s IMEXPitch award, a competition for event tech startups to showcase themselves to event organizers and marketers from around the world. It’s run as part of IMEX America, the US’ largest annual meetings industry trade show, featuring the largest hosted buyer program in North America. Grip also won the standing-room only audience poll at IMEXPitch, and will be displaying at IMEX later this year.
UFI’s Awards recognize and reward successful result-oriented initiatives in the exhibition industry in areas ranging from digital innovation, human resources, marketing and operations and services to trade fair poster design and sustainable development. UFI represents around 50,000 exhibition industry employees globally, and works closely with its 58 national and regional association members. Over 900 international trade fairs bear the UFI approved label, a quality guarantee for visitors and exhibitors. UFI members continue to provide the international business community with a unique marketing media aimed at developing outstanding face-to-face business opportunities. More information on the UFI is available at www.ufi.org.
The venue rocks. The catering and entertainment are going to be exquisite. The scene is set for a great event. Or nearly. Behind the scenes, your event company’s revenue is affected by a poor event networking experience for your conference attendees.
Consider this – with rising costs, exhibitors and marketers have to think hard about their ROI when deciding on which event to attend. Increasingly, they’ll put their money where they’ll get the best leads – quality over quantity – so the best meeting organizers must provide the tools for attendees to achieve their networking goals.
But up to this point, the benefits of event networking – especially for event organizers – haven’t really gone beyond fuzzy notions of ‘exposure to prospects’ and ‘creating the right atmosphere’ for meaningful connections to occur. And only the biggest event companies, it seems, can afford the time and eye-watering sums it takes to manually professionally matchmake attendees.
Whatever the company size, there are sound business reasons for providing a networking app – real-time flexible matchmaking, scalable personalization, enabling quality lead captures, and using cost-efficient AI. Here are the details:
It’s no longer enough to throw delegates together or dump an attendee list on them and hope that they’ll ‘mingle’. Even manual professional matchmaking – expensive and manpower-intensive as it is – may not be enough.
For Grip, a curated networking experience involves an evolving list of the best people to meet, based on social media profiles, mutual interests and app usage patterns, amongst other things. Pre-event meetings with Grip happen after both parties have indicated a mutual interest in each other’s areas of business, and agreed to a timeslot.
On location, attendees network in real time. That means that they can ‘swipe right’ (that’s a ‘Yes’) on individuals on their personalized list whom they’d be interested to meet. Depending on how they interact with that list, a fresh set of contacts could be suggested during the event. It’s virtuous cycle of recommendation and improvement.
Efficient matchmaking, the way Grip approaches it, saves precious time with mutually agreed-upon, personalized matches. It’s particularly suitable for hosted buyers and VIP guests as it respects the privacy of these attendees by empowering them to decide on the extent of the connection they wish to establish. And avoids time-wasters in unrelated businesses trying to game-fill their meeting calendars.
It works on both scales – Grip has enabled more than 40,000 connections from tech events in the first quarter of this year, from relatively small VIP events to 4YFN, the startup business platform of Mobile World Capital Barcelona.
Help attendees capture ‘quality’, not ‘quantity’ leads by personalizing B2B networking. Unlike most lead capture apps, Grip is not restricted to exhibitor, location of booth, or platform. And Grip’s personalized networking feature ensures that only the most suitable prospects are identified and recommended. 55% of Grip’s users recently indicated that they made a ‘Handshake’ connection that they would not otherwise have made, with Grip.
You’ll find that a little AI goes a long way. Comprising advanced algorithms, contextual vectors and natural language processing, Grip is the first event networking platform powered by Artificial Intelligence, and is a great example of a startup punching above its weight in terms of handling tens of thousands of attendees at hundreds of events globally.
Hosted buyers are all about efficiency. While they appear to enjoy a relatively charmed event experience, they are primarily serious about their business, coming to events with the goal of avoiding time wasted otherwise on online searches, email chains, and phone calls.
For event organizers, therefore, matchmaking hosted buyers with exhibitors should prioritize efficiency; a hosted buyer’s meeting app, for example, should be about balancing B2B networking exposure at the event with generating relevant, good quality leads.
What does efficient matchmaking mean on the ground? It’s about saving precious time with mutually agreed-upon, personalized matches, offering a curated experience before, during and after the event, and respecting the privacy of hosted buyers by empowering them to choose whom they wish to connect with.
All these aspects of efficient matchmaking involve personalization. And the only way to offer a high degree of personalization on a large scale, with hundreds or thousands of hosted buyers, is through Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Here are a few ways Grip, powered by AI, offers an event app for hosted buyers meetings that helps event organizers personalize event matchmaking –
Grip’s pre-event professional matchmaking solution is to have attendees register using a social media account of their choice (such as LinkedIn), with our Artificial Intelligence engine then matching relevant parties. For event organizers, it’s goodbye to reams of spreadsheets and data-entry.
Pre-event meeting scheduling happens within hours rather than days. This happens after both parties have indicated a mutual interest in each other’s areas of business. Hosted buyers can ‘swipe right’ on individuals on their personalized list whom they’d be interested to meet, or left ‘skip’, if they’re not. Depending on how they interact with that list, a fresh set of prospects are generated, and so on. It’s a virtuous cycle of feedback and improvement. Once the other party also swipes ‘Interested’, it’s a ‘Handshake, and both parties can agree to a timeslot and location to meet. This can be changed or rescheduled as required.
As a first layer of privacy, Grip’s AI carefully curates the prospects shown to attendees. Hosted buyers and Exhibitors retain as much anonymity as they can handle.
Exhibitors need only to swipe ‘Interested’ on those prospects they reckon to be good quality leads. This sifts out opportunists in unrelated businesses trying to stuff their meeting calendars for a post-event report.
Hosted buyers have their own, unique set of digital content the moment they open the app, with personalized recommendations of which speaker best suits their interest. (Smart) Attendee Lists mean no more ‘networking roulette’ with whom they might meet.
On-location, hosted buyers enjoy real-time recommendations. That means that, in the midst of the event, the AI recommendation engine acts as a virtual concierge, making recommendations in real time, and learning from the hosted buyer’s interaction with it to source new prospects for their personalized list.
We are Grip, a professional networking app for events. Grip empowers professionals to achieve their networking potential. The Grip matchmaking app connects delegates, speakers, and exhibitors in a fast and simple way.