We've always tried to make our BriForum conferences different from standard conferences. Of course this is most evident in our approach and our technical content, but we also try to focus on a great overall conference experience for attendees. (i.e. fun venues, fast WiFi, the custom video player engine, etc.) This year we're proud to announce that we're completely getting rid of the spiral-bound paper conference guide and replacing it with a Flash-based digital guide.
The main window of this guide will be the session schedule. You can select the conference day and then scroll through the session list to see which sessions you want to attend. You can also click on a session to read the details of that session and the presenter. (When you use this app during the conference, it will actually look at your computer's time and timezone setting and will automatically jump to the current day and hour.)
You can click on the "Presenters" tab to see a list of all the presenters. You can click on them to see their bio and which sessions they're each giving.
We're also incorporating an "Area Guide" tab with information about the venue, the party, and the conference in general. And of course we'll also have a "News" tab that will have information about, ohhh, I don't know, maybe a one-hour schedule delay due to a venue fire?
Perhaps the coolest thing about this digital conference guide is that in addition to having the version that runs live via the BriForum.com, we'll also have Windows and Mac locally-installable versions. These local applications will get their data from BriForum.com as well, but they will also run offline. The idea is that you can install the local version onto your laptop before you come to BriForum, and then you can pop your computer open real quick to see the schedule without having to worry about getting online and everything.
For old school people, we will be printing simple one-page schedule overviews at the event for each day. But this digital schedule will be running on several monitors throughout the venue as well as on all the terminals in the Devon-IT thin client lab. (And we'll still have all the schedule signs outside of each room and stuff.
This digital conference guide is just the first step in our larger plan for the technology we use at BriForum. Moving forward, this app will be used by attendees for posting blog entries and for rating sessions. It will also integrate with our new Flash video player for viewing session videos and allow people to attend the conference remotely. So stay tuned!