Every year in November, Las Vegas is virtually overrun by thousands upon thousands of IT enthusiasts for the fall Comdex convention, and with the event spreading across most of the desert casinos and event halls, providing attendees with up-to-date information has been virtually impossible.
To approach the Herculean task of providing attendees with conference information and logistical changes, Comdex organizers this year will use EnvoyWorldWide Inc.'s MessageBlaster system to alert attendees by fax and E-mail before the event, and by wireless devices during the show.
While Comdex is expect to attract up to 250,000 attendees this year, the messaging service is being tested with only 6,000 to 10,000 attendees who pre-register for the conference and pavilion activities of Comdex. Show organizers hope to make the service available to all in years to come.
"So many people are here at Comdex, and they start to panic about where to be. We're trying to drive people in the right direction and make it easier for them to know where to go," says Debbie Jackson, attendee outreach manager for Comdex. "It's been easier for me as a manager to get these messages out. It's a matter of writing the E-mail. Knock on wood, so far, it's actually been a great success."
MessageBlaster is a hosted service. Comdex organizers and other users are connected to a co-located Envoy site that distributes the messages. In addition to converting messages for E-mail, fax, pager, and short-message systems, the company is working with NetMorf Inc. to support Wireless Application Protocol devices.
Comdex will be first test of the NetMorf system with MessageBlaster. Although WAP has seen slow acceptance in the United States to date, EnvoyWorldWide sees a better future.
"WAP is a nice way to be able to receive messages," says Dave Page, chief operating officer and co-founder of EnvoyWorldWide. "The fact that there are not that many using WAP today doesn't mean that we can't offer that service to that group of people."