“Paperless” is an awesome concept. But, it only occurs when the economics work.
Take any number of conferences or events that provide participants with presentations, background materials, venue information, floor maps, details on local attractions and so on. More often than not, that information is printed, copied and bound as part of the registration packet provided at sign in.
Such events can generate thousands – even tens of thousands – sheets of paper, plus a lot of time and energy spent collating and packaging the materials. There’s also an inconvenience factor for participants associated with lugging around a binder from one conference session to the next.
Why not go paperless, you ask? This event material was likely either created by computer or pulled from an online site. So, why couldn’t someone just make the information accessible via participants’ mobile devices?
They can, for a price. Solutions that allow administrators to compile the information and package it in an easily accessible mobile location are available today. Unfortunately, they can cost anywhere from $5,000 to more than $20,000 – economics that keep many events in paper. Some of these solutions are really cool “apps” – well, cool until some participants on site haven’t installed the app or uploaded the most recent upgrade.
Like any innovation, ultimately prices will come down, functionality will be tweaked and more solutions will appear on the market. That change, coupled with the saturation of mobile devices, will eventually cut out event binders – not trees.