Third Party Data Integration

What is integration when it comes to your apps? Many organizations and companies use a third party database that hosts their data – be it an abstract management company, registration company or Association Management System – to pull in data from specific modules – for example, the entire registration list of who has registered for your upcoming event. In order to pull in all of that information into your mobile app there needs to be integration set up. This saves you much time and potential headaches because it means you are only entering your data in one place rather than having to enter the same information in multiple places – your database, our content management system, etc.

So exactly how does integration work? How do we pull the data from one place to another? Essentially, we build a “bridge” between our database and your third party database. Then we set up a periodic check for updates so that any updates you make in the third party database are automatically reflected in the app/our content management system.

If you have info in a third party database – be it posters, schedule, attendees, exhibitors and more – it can easily be integrated into your event or year round app. The main reasons to integrate your data into an event or year round app are: 1) if you have an extreme amount of data and/or 2) you have data that changes very, very frequently. With integration, you have a single source for data and you don’t have to double enter information into the event app CMS. Integration saves time.

Some good uses for integration are: registration, posters, user logins, personal schedules, attendee profiles, attendee list, schedules, speakers and exhibitors. Integration is particularly cost effective when you have multiple events because as you build the integration it just needs to be tested for future events and not created from scratch. We can integrate with any third party database. Some examples of companies that we integrate with include: Cvent, Scholar One, Confex, Attendee Interactive, Expo Tracker, ACGI, Experient and more.

Still confused. Here are some terms you need to know when it comes to Integration.

1. API – An API (Application Programming Interface) allows communication between two or more platforms to transfer specific pieces of information. In the mobile event app world, this allows important pieces of data such as schedules, attendee profiles, etc. to be made available to 3rd parties.

2, Cron Job – An automated procedure used to periodically check the database and pick up updates at a designated interval of time.

3. Web Services – Allows the exchange of data over the internet from different applications and sources.

4, XML, JSON and REST – The three different formats that a web service can send data in. Each format is sending the same data but some vendors have a preferred format.

5. Table – A table is a set of data made up of specific fields. For example, you may have a Table for your session data. The fields that make up that Table may be, “Session Name”, “Session Time”, etc.

6. Field Mapping – Each database will have different fields with different field names. It is important to understand how each field is structured and named to appropriately pull the data to the correct place.

7. Database Call – In order to pull data and updates, the receiver makes a “call” to the host database to retrieve information.

8. Deletion Flag – A deletion flag is used to tell the receiving database that a record (such as a session) should no longer be active. Instead of completely removing the record form the original database, a deletion flag should be sent.

9. Unique ID – Every record in a database, whether it is a session or attendee, has a unique identifier to prevent duplicates. This is particularly necessary when, for example, two attendees have the same name or there are multiple versions of the same session.

10. Show Code/Event ID – This typically comes into play when you have more than one event’s data stored in the same database. The Show Code or Event ID allows you to pull in the data only related to one particular event.

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