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Spreading a little ‘app-iness at #BIS2021

By Jo Whittle
2 December 2020

A cutting-edge app will enhance the experience for both visitors and exhibitors at the Business Innovation South Expo.

#BIS2021 sponsor Netshell offered to develop the app as part of its support for the event which is currently scheduled to take place on September 15, 2021 at the Hilton Hotel, West End, Southampton.

Netshell operations manager, Danielle Stevenson, has been busy working on the app to make it as user-friendly as possible.

At a glance, features will include:

  • Profile – more detailed info can be accessed
  • Appointment booking
  • Personalised agenda
  • Messaging – you can see when a potential contact is close by
  • Connection requests
  • Exhibitor profiles with company info and videos
  • Book a safe meeting space
  • Notifications
  • Feedback after the event.

“Creating the app has been an opportunity to include everything that we thought would be helpful for both delegates and exhibitors,” she said. “We’ve even been able to include the option to have a virtual digital business card draw and we can highlight special offers on the day.

“A month before the event, people will receive an email with a pin code that will allow them to start building their profile and booking appointments,”

Before work began, Lara Bull, the business women behind #BIS2021 gathered event experts from across the region to mine their collective experience.

Events organisers Shirley Wynne-Jones, managing director of Destination Southampton Conference Bureau and Ellen Stokes, managing director of Be Exhibitions shared their views along with global channel manager Nikki Webb from Custodian 360 who attends and exhibits at major events across Europe.

Bull explained: “This is Netshell’s second time of exhibiting at the expo and it’s wonderful that they are becoming involved in a more practical way which in turn will truly showcase the potential of their services and expertise – we are incredibly grateful for their support.

“The Expo App is being designed to help all exhibitors and visitors to register, manage their time, book meetings, manage connections/leads, connect, request information and advertise in the safest possible way.

“By talking to Shirley, Ellen and Nikki we were able to ensure we included their ideas so the app will help both attendees and exhibitors to gain the most from the day.”


Wynne-Jones said: ”The app will overcome the need for business cards and brochures – which is so important during the current pandemic and it is also great for the environment. While this app is being developed as a result of the current restrictions, I can see it being around for future events and being a useful part of event planning.”

Stokes, whose company designs and builds exhibition stands, explained there were many features of the app that would help to ensure safety is maintained at the event as well as helping visitors to plan their day.

“The app will be ground-breaking for the visiting side of the industry and will allow people to feel confident in attending business events.

“People attending can book networking appointments while at the show, and also book to speak to certain exhibitors face to face. I think that aspect is fantastic and helps everyone to network and make crucial business connections in a safe environment,” she said.

Webb added that the app would allow visitors to plan their visit so they can gain the most from the experience.

“From my point of view, we are all time poor. The app will allow the team at Custodian 360 to share their activity so we can be accountable to each other. The app will allow us to schedule meetings and we can share activity on our own page. It’s going to be a game changer,” she said.

In the run-up to the event, there will be FREE digital conference mornings with top speakers drawn from business, local government and academia giving talks on a broad range of key topics to help drive businesses forward or educate and inspire for future projects.

Booking is via the website – – and the conference dates are:

November 25

January 27

March 24.

To find out more about #BIS2021 or to book your place visit the website:

Or follow on: Facebook



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