by by Hunter R. Slaton | July 01, 2009

0709SC BlackberryAudience response systems with handheld "clickers" might soon be a thing of the past. Two companies -- one a startup, the other an established name in such technology -- have developed web- and text message-based solutions.

Poll Everywhere ( pioneered text-message voting for meetings two years ago. "We were the first to look at clickers and realize that this could be done on a cell phone much more cheaply," says CEO Jeff Vyduna.

How it works: Presenters download a PowerPoint slide with special coding from Poll Everywhere. When the presenter asks a question, the live voting results display on that slide. Attendees vote one of three ways: by text message, through Twitter (by tweeting to @poll) or via a Poll Everywhere website ( No on-site hardware is needed.

Veteran polling company Turning Technologies ( recently launched a free polling response application called ResponseWare for the iPhone and BlackBerry. To vote, participants must download the application to their phones; vote tallies display on a special PowerPoint slide. Attendees who do not have an iPhone or BlackBerry can weigh in using a laptop or a web-enabled cell phone via (Polling still can be supplemented with traditional clicker votes, if desired.) Mike Broderick, CEO of Turning Technologies, says by using the ResponseWare application instead of clickers, meeting planners can cut their polling expenses by more than half.