If you’re trying to decide whether to build or buy a mobile app for your next event, you’re not alone. It seems that nearly every organization has a team of technologists that claim they can build just about anything with enough time, money and human capital… or can they?
We’ve heard a lot of stories from clients who have come to us after attempting to build their own event apps. Many have said that building even the simplest of event apps has resulted in unforeseen consequences.
Here are 5 things nobody told you about building your own event app:
Native app development is always changing
It’s important to understand the complexity of building native apps for each major device platform, namely iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone. Each one uses a unique operating system (that is always changing) and requires a completely different and constantly evolving software development environment.
In other words, each operating system is in a different stage of development at any point of time. This means your developers and support team have to be prepared to support the old and the new because you have no control over what devices people will bring to your meeting or event.
Attendees show up with all kinds of devices
These days no matter what kind of event you are hosting, attendees are likely to show up with devices that may only be a few weeks old or possibly five years old.
So what’s the big deal? Each device type has a different size, screen resolution, navigation standard, hardware capabilities, and security and privacy options. In addition, many attendees come to events equipped with corporate mobile devices, each with its own unique firewall, encryption, security, email and permissions settings established by employers.
If you build it yourself, you have to take all of these devices and considerations into account.
You’ll need an expert in app distribution
Once you develop your event app, you need to get it into the hands of your attendees. That requires an understanding of how to release your app on the app stores for each device platform, each with its own terms, approval processes and timelines.
If you want your event app to be listed privately on the app stores using an enterprise license, you’ll need to follow a different process. Remember that no matter how much time and resources you dedicate to building an event app, they must always be completed and submitted properly and on time. Delivering one day late is simply not an option.
The possibility of a security threat is real
To ensure your content remains safe and secure, you’ll need to build a mobile solution that integrates with your organization’s security policies and standards – something that can pose a real challenge to your development team.
Start by putting permissions in place to ensure attendees only gain access to information they are authorized to view. You’ll then need to make sure your developers have the skills to build apps that utilize encryption and secure data handling, and can meet software verification tests and security standards such as PCI compliance.
Before deciding to build your own app, ask yourself these questions: Would my app pass a third party security audit? What would we do if you had a security breach?
You’re always going to need help
No matter how great your event app is, take the time to carefully assess the service and support you’ll need before, during and immediately after your events. Don’t settle for anything less than an attentive support team that will help you manage content, respond to changes and support requests on the fly, and help you interpret your results. When the event kicks off, the last thing you have time for is troubleshooting the mobile app. It just has to work.