Canadian mobile super-app transforms conference communications
November 20, 2013— Vancouver, British Columbia
From a modest début at the 2009 Sundance Festival to a powerful role at the 2013 United Nations (UN) Global Compact Leaders Summit, British Columbia-based QuickMobile has transformed the way the world does business at conferences and events. The firm's groundbreaking mobile app has made it easy for companies to load massive amounts of conference materials onto mobile devices and make changes as they happen.
"We can put all conference information such as the program, attendee list, speaker biographies, exhibitors and advertisers on this versatile app," says Patrick Payne, QuickMobile's CEO. "It allows delegates to search for and connect with others at the event, download the program and documents in real time and perform countless other functions including social networking, messaging and gaming."
Large enterprises like the UN and Fortune 500 companies that hold hundreds or thousands of meetings a year also find it more environmentally friendly and cost-effective than printing masses of paper, which become obsolete as soon as they are printed. Payne explains that companies with high meeting volumes have turned to QuickMobile for its multi-event platform—a master app that they can modify themselves for various events. He reports "amazing traction" in sales of this product, and foresees turning it into a broader corporate communications tool to boost employee engagement and connectivity.
Growth through support from NRC-IRAP
QuickMobile's current revenue growth of over 100 per cent annually began with support from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) a half-dozen years ago when it was a startup "with a few ideas, a bunch of dreams and about 10 employees." The employee base has since grown to almost 200.
According to Payne, several NRC-IRAP Industrial Technology Advisors (ITAs) shepherded them through research and development, provided sound business advice, steered them toward important connections in the telecom industry, and supplied some initial funding for research and development. "NRC-IRAP helped us bring together the people and resources, then get the product to market sooner." This also put the company 18 to 24 months ahead of its competition.
"One of the hardest parts of starting a business is gaining credibility and getting customers to believe in you. Being able to say you're getting support from NRC-IRAP is a huge bonus in attracting help from other life-giving sources of investment as well." - Patrick Payne, CEO of QuickMobile
The players: NRC-IRAP ITAs
ITA David Whitehead reports that NRC-IRAP supported QuickMobile at a time when mobile apps were in an embryonic state. "We convinced them to build a platform that ensured the app would work across several devices including Apple—and that put them ahead of the curve," he says. It also put the company in the spotlight at the 2009 Sundance Festival, which was a showcase for Apple and other "movers and shakers" looking for new technology.
"Being in the right place at the right time and ready to deliver on an opportunity are huge factors in a company's success," adds Whitehead. "QuickMobile was able to demonstrate their event app at the Accenture CIO Conference in 2010, as well as take advantage of the limelight by showing they could adapt it for any organization."
One critical step in the research and development process was quantifying the effectiveness of the product. "We helped them conduct studies at a couple of client events to determining the contribution the app could make to a business," says Whitehead. "This included measuring the extent to which access to quality mobile information increases attendance at sessions, testing attendee perception and gauging how the app enhanced the event experience." QuickMobile then used this information to market and improve the product.
"In addition to understanding a small firm's issues and challenges, NRC-IRAP gets where technology fits into the overall digital ecosystem," says Payne. "Combined with the expertise and responsiveness of the NRC-IRAP team, this is a huge advantage to Canadian businesses."
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