LAS VEGAS -- Veterans of ConExpo say they've never seen anything like the embrace of social media at this year's event. Tudor van Hampton, ENR's Midwest bureau chief and equipment editor who has covered many shows over the years, agrees.
The Twitter updates are flying from thousands among the estimated 120,000 attendees, and the ConExpo Facebook page now counts just under 3,000 followers (who "Like" it). Not a bad uptick since the page went live for the show. (ENR's own ConExpo page has a collection of reader photos from the event, a Twitter feed of all the #Conexpoconagg comments, blogs from the ENR team and more user generated content as well.)
As a newbie to the show this year, wearing all the wrong shoes for the show floor, I was psyched to download the ConExpo mobile app on my iPhone to guide me on daily treks from one end of the show at the McGraw-Hill Construction booth in the South Hall to the other end at the Hilton Center near near the North Hall.
The app, developed by mobile software outfit Core-Apps, helped me find exhibitors' booths, but using the map feature to locate them on the ground proved a bit clunky. And, although it touts real-time updates, too many real-time updates can create one chatty app that can be prone to lock-ups, which happened with me a few times.
But I would wager that app sponsor Cummins is pleased with the exposure it got on the app.
Still, an overall positive tool for events such as this when you're lugging alot of stuff around. Here's my Like/Needs Work list:
1. Event listings: descriptions are pithy and helpful. I can't share it easily, but I can rate it and the note-taking feature is nice.
2. Horsepower to Kilowatt converter: Perfect for attendees. Just a nice tool.
3. Events listing: great to see a search function in the events area to find areas of interest to you. You can also sort by tracks, which speeds up your search.
4. Twitter feed: connects you to the rest of the attendees. With no photo-sharing function, this was the key social media tool on the app.
1. Transportation info: great that you know the times that shuttles are running, but attendees need to know where to pick up shuttles, and which ones go to hotels and which take you around to different show halls. Adding that to the app would be great.
2. Maps: Loved seeing the maps on the device, given the growth of GPS on mobile devices and its rapid adoption in the construction industry. But they still needed some orientation features (north, south, streets that surround the specific halls) to help the user know where they are so they can know where to go.
3. Blackberry version didn't respond in sections. But kudos to the makers for offering the app on all the major smartphone platforms.
As you can see from the shot of my app below, it was updating all the time, so much so that it froze up.
But overall, a positive experience and a great job organizing the show information for a handheld device.