Thinking of Holding a Paperless Meeting but Can’t Justify it? Get Two Calculations that Will Help
Jan 30, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

Imagine,  if you will, a conference where there are no paper programs, exhibitor manuals, session handouts, or surveys. There is no paper. Period.

Sounds great, right? You and your staff don’t have to spend tireless hours printing, collating, punching and assembling binders AND then shipping them to the conference. Somewhere, somehow you know with all the interactive technology tool rentals available there is a better way. But how can you justify the spend? Surely, it is going to be very expensive to rent iPads and the apps to go on it. Right?

EventPilot, an organization that markets a mobile app for scientific and medical meetings, recently came out with two calculations that can help justify the use of mobile devices both from a carbon footprint and revenue standpoint. By sharing this methodology, hopefully you can plug in your own numbers and sell a paperless meeting to your boss, board, and staff members.

CO FOOTPRINT CALCULATOR

The major benefits of integrating mobile technology into your conference are:

  1. The attendee can have all the documents in a central location, including PowerPoint presentations
  2. Speaker information includes bio, photographs, video and any other information can be easily accessed
  3. Evaluations happen on-the-spot
  4. All exhibitor information and mapping of the trade show floor is readily available
  5. Real-time conference updates can happen across all devices
  6. The iPad is light and can usually last all day without being charged
  7. Connection to social channels, email and the Internet are an icon away.

Here is one example of a carbon footprint calculation:

Number of attendees: 1,000
Total number of sheets of paper per attendee: 100
Average printing cost per attendee: $8
Average tote bag cost: $2

 Total CO2 savings: 6,100 lbs.

Minimum waste savings: 1,200 lbs. 

Total number of hours to stuff tote bags: 17 x $35/hour = $595

Total cost for Shipping and Handling: $1,200

Minimum cost savings: $11,336

REVENUE CALCULATOR

The question on every planner’s mind is who is going to pay for the hardware and apps that reside on the mobile device? Unless your meeting is extremely small and you know for a fact the apps you are going to use are prevalent across multiple mobile devices, you will want to stick with one mobile platform (think rent iPads). It will save you a lot of time when you are trying to configure the right Wi-Fi network support for your program as well.

Here are some possible revenue opportunities for your meeting:

Type of Sponsor Number Investment Total Value
iPad 1 $5,000 $5,000
Wi-Fi Splash Page 1 $5,000 $5,000
App Sponsor 1 $5,000 $5,000
Rotating Sponsor Ads 10 $500 $5,000
Featured Exhibitors 10 $250 $2,500
Exhibitors with Social Media Links 10 $500 $5,000
Timed Ads 6 $600 $3,600
Total Revenue Opportunity $31,100

Of course, you will have to take into account the cost to rent iPads and the apps. Some apps are going to be free and some apps are going to web-based so the attendee can download the app themselves, thus saving staff and vendor time.

AV Event Solutions, a SmartSource Computer and Audio Visual Rental Company, is available to serve your AV needs if you are event planning in California. They have iPads, Wi-Fi network arrays, and much, much more! Contact them today for more information!

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