The Active Network Inc., which offers a suite of Web-based technologies to manage meetings and events, has announced a major upgrade and integration of its toolset. Over the next nine months, the company’s Active StarCite strategic meetings management technology and its Active Conference event marketing technology will be combined into a modular, rebranded product called Smart Events Cloud.
“We’re bringing together the great functionality of Active StarCite, which is a leader in strategic meetings management, with our Active Conference technology, which is a leader in event marketing activity. The vision is to pull in those large marketing events, which traditionally have stood outside the strategic meetings management programs,” says Anthony Miller, vice president of industry strategy and business development, Active Network Business Solutions. “What people are looking for is to consolidate all that activity in one place, so they have the data and can get a 360-degree view of their event program.”
Smart Events Cloud will include sourcing, budgeting, spend management, approval workflow, and more from the Active StarCite technology and draw in tools for registration, exhibitor management, call for papers, online communities, lead management, mobile, and more from Active Conference.
As the integrated Smart Events Cloud rolls out between November 2013 and July 2014, the company says highlights will include a new user interface, an improved dashboard for large events, and a new small-meetings solution. In later updates, the system will become more customizable, allowing users to pick and choose the meeting and event modules they need on an event-by-event or enterprise basis. Active also plans to add new communication and e-mail modules, and more comprehensive analytics tools.
J.R. Sherman, senior vice president and general manager of the Business Solutions Group at Active Network, illustrates the benefits of the integrated system: “Think about an organization that works with us to run a marketing conference and then decides it wants to work with us to implement a strategic meetings management program. Today they would have to open up a new contract, build a statement of work, go through separate pricing, and then implement a product that may not look the same and may not have the data flowing into the same place as the marketing conference.” What they’re working toward, Sherman says, is when that event client wants to begin an SMM program, and it’s just a matter of turning on certain modules in the system. The user interface will look and feel similar and the data from the events can flow together.
San Diego–based Active Network, founded in 1998 to provide registration services for recreational sporting events, has expanded to cover business events, community activities, and outdoor events. It purchased StarCite in 2011, the same year it became a publicly traded company. However, Active Network is again becoming a private company. Earlier this month it agreed to be acquired by private-equity firm Vista Equity Partners for about $1.05 billion in cash.