This is what happens when you bring the game to the conference

What if an event got you so excited you wanted it to go on for as long as possible? Would you be more willing to attend a conference if you knew you’d be having fun the entire time while learning new things and meeting important contacts? We would be thrilled.

Using a similar engagement system that companies use to motivate employees and customers, events have turned to gamifying the entire experience. This includes using gamification elements such as points, badges, rewards and leaderboards. We’ve shown how companies can use these components while tapping into intrinsic human needs to create a fun and engaging experience.

IDC used this principle in its Big Data, Analytics & Cognitive Systems Conference 2016 on 6 December in Kuala Lumpur. The multinational market research, analysis and advisory firm tapped SelfDrvn Enterprise for its expertise in engagement and gamification systems, to provide a platform to keep event attendees engaged throughout the event.

“The gamification and event engagement of the IDC conference was quite effective from the delegates’ point of view. It allowed them to ‘battle’ and kept them ‘awake’ by collecting points and badges from the gamified activities. From my personal experience, the advantage that the IDC MY app has over the previous few conference apps that we have used is its gamified activities.” — JC Ting Pang Yau, IDC’s ASEAN Events Manager

The IDC MY app, powered by SelfDrvn, featured gamification elements such as points, badges and rewards — claimable for real-world prizes. The idea was not to turn the event into a game. Rather, it was to create a more satisfying event by integrating gamification principles to better engage attendees, exhibitors, vendors and sponsors.

JC Ting Pang Yau, IDC’s ASEAN Events Manager explained that the aim of gamifying the event was to provide a digital experience for event attendees. “The app enhanced the digital (paperless) platform and experience, and allowed attendees participate in more gamified activities, compared with the programs and onsite experience of traditional conferences.”

Some of our favorite features were the integrated digital feedback, Message In A Bottle (MIB), and real-time notifications. Imagine going for a quick lunch and that one presentation that you so much wanted to listen to starts because you forgot to check the time. The notifications made it easier for attendees to know what was happening and when.

With MIB, attendees could give feedback to IDC based on survey questions and other users can rate the responses received to give IDC a better idea of what attendees think. The system also generates a word cloud of popular words or phrases, making easier for organizers to visualize trends.

Other functional features include a news feed, where attendees post real-time updates, feedback and comments, as well as Stepathon, which allowed users to compete against each other for the highest number of steps during the conference.

We go to business events to learn new ways of doing things and to connect with other people. Gamification aids that connection, bringing people together to share an experience in an engaging and satisfying way.

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