Corbin Ball on Accepting Mobile Payments at Trade Shows and Events

Mobile-payment technology is starting to change how — and where — people do business. One arena in which services like GoPayment are making an impact is trade shows, conferences, and large meetings.

The GoPayment Blog recently spoke with Corbin Ball, a global tech consultant and meetings expert, about what role mobile payments play in these events.

GoPayment: Technologically speaking, how different are meetings and conferences today compared with those that took place 10 or 15 years ago?

Ball: The onsite meeting until recently was the “black hole” of event data management. We had technology to assist us before and after the meetings, but no good tools for planners, exhibitors, and attendees to access while walking around an event.

Then mobile technology and mobile social media started taking hold. We still are in the process of this adoption. Meetings will likely change more due to [these] technologies in the next five years than they have in the last 15.

Now almost everyone is carrying around a powerful computer in their pockets, which opens the door for increased interactivity, more attendee input, and a vast array of tools to make the onsite process easier at meetings. [These tools include] mobile interactive conference/exhibition guides, wayfinding, contact exchange, polling, surveys, customized agendas, group or group-segment alerts, e-ticketing/access control, micro payments, paperless conference binders, and much, much more.

Do you see many meeting organizers and/or trade show vendors using mobile payments at events?

It depends on the show. Public shows with vendors with lots of onsite sales are beginning to use mobile payments. But things are opening up for a whole new world of opportunities. Mobile wallets, passbooks, and more will change events — and society in general — in a significant way.

How have mobile payments changed the way that vendors at trade shows can do business?

Faster, simpler, more capable, and secure are good things. Decreasing the friction in the payment process will increase sales.

Beyond vendors, how else have you seen mobile payments used at meetings, conferences, or trade shows?

There are a number of point-of-sale needs, like registration, event bookstores, and tours/conference add-ons.

What’s your prediction for the use of mobile payments at trade shows and conferences in the future?

I think that mobile payments will become commonplace at conferences (and in society in general) in the next four to five years.

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