The DallasMarket mobile app, a tool to help buyers and exhibitors navigate the Dallas International Lighting Market and keep up-to-date on Dallas Market Center (DMC) news and events, will turn one year old at the January 2013 market.
The app offers interactive maps, searchable company and product category databases that are constantly updated, and even a My Market function that allows the user to maintain a calendar and “favorite” showrooms for later, enabling a new and improved market experience.
Fewer and fewer people are picking up the traditional print directory, according to the man behind the app, DMC’s Vice President of Corporate Services Stephen Dumas. “It has many limitations, beyond its size, that the app does not. We can add a lot more information without making the product unwieldy or cumbersome.”
For instance, if hunger pangs hit and you have no granola bars in your bag, use the app to search for the nearest food vendor. If you see a great product and want to share it with your social media circles, connect to Twitter via the app. And when your buying mission is done for the day and you want to mingle with other marketgoers, find out when and where daily events are being held.
Dumas says that DMC started to discuss the idea of creating an app a few years ago for a couple of reasons: The traditional directory is often out-of-date the moment it’s published, and DMC wanted to appeal to the younger buyer and exhibitor. Dumas points out that DMC was seeing a dramatic increase in the amount of mobile hits on its website during shows — so much so that the carriers couldn’t keep up with the demand.
“We needed a way for the attendees to access our data even if the cell phone networks were clogged,” Dumas says. “It was probably our number-one complaint at market. Our app works whether you have a connection or not. We took it to the next level this past June when we added a campus-wide Wi-Fi system to further support the efforts.”
Beyond connectivity, Dumas says the app has allowed DMC to greatly expand its merchandise categories as well as put forth more accurate information.
“We’re finding that exhibitors are using their downtime to browse through the app and are expanding and fixing their showroom information much more frequently,” Dumas explains. “Dallas was the first to roll out a website in the early ‘90s and it has occasionally been an uphill battle to convince people to update their showroom and product information online. There’s something about the app though that has really helped people pay attention to their information.”
Several new features and improvements to the app are expected to roll out in the future. The DallasMarket app is available for free for the iPhone and iPad. As of October, it's also offered for the Android platform.
Tech helpers will be on hand in the World Trade Center atrium at the January Dallas Market to assist with downloading or navigating the app, or to assist with other technology questions.