SmartSource Rentals Blog


The Best of Event Technology in 2010: Part 1
Nov 29, 2010 by DeDe Mulligan

BizBash Magazine conducts a yearly evaluation of the best and most creative uses of technology for the year. Below are some of the ideas they thought to be the best and will certainly be used by the event meeting services industry in 2011 and beyond.

Wireless Handheld Devices

Instead of paper bid sheets, attendees of the 2010 Leukemia Ball and the William & Mary D.C. Alumni Association Auction received an Apple iPod (which can be rented) pre-loaded with every auction item including description, value, bid increments, photo, and donor information. After browsing the silent auction area, guests could view all the items on their handheld device and continue to bid from anywhere at any time throughout the event. When outbid, guests received a flashing red alert on their device giving them the option to up their bid.

The results were substantially higher revenues, despite a down turned economy, and more fun and excitement for guests.

At the end of the auction BidPal, the software provider, automatically notified winners of what they had won and how to check out, while an instant check-out report categorizes each bidder’s items for event meeting services organizers.

At New York’s Robin Hood Foundation fundraiser each guest was giving a wireless audience response system. The room was divided into three teams, creating competition between them. Total team pledges were posted plasma display rentalon large-sized plasma screen rentals, helping spur competition by alerting each attendee in real-time as to which team was in the lead. These real-time updates encouraged those who could afford to continue donating to open their wallets just a little bit more.

In just 18 minutes of competition, over $72 million was raised for the fight against poverty by the crowd of 3,100 attendees. More importantly, audience participation increased from a typical level of 3% to an astonishing level of 72%. All in all, the foundation raised $87.8 million dollars, a new fund raising record.

Projection Screen Rentals

At the 2010 MTV Movie Awards, there were dynamic sets of layered projection screens. "We were really excited about the set this year in that it was largely rooted in projection," said executive producer Audrey Morrissey. "It was a very interesting blend of projection surfaces and brick-and-mortar physical set pieces. The screens were cutout in architectural shapes and the images we projected onto those surfaces were in fact architectural surfaces unto themselves with a lot of depth. I don’t know that many places that are using projection as architecture. Since it’s projection, we could create several looks and the whole place changed on a dime. We’re loving the effect—its very all encompassing, very impressive, epic feeling."

At the 2010 Winter Olympics, Samsung created a pavilion that allowed guests to take photos and have them projected on the sharing projection screen. These screens also served as live feeds for Olympic events and demonstrated 3-D technology.

If you are in need of creative state-of-the-art event equipment rentals, contact AV Event Solutions, your California Meeting Equipment provider.

Part 2: The Year of the iPad will be posted on Wednesday, December 1st.

Six Key Factors in Planning a Successful Holiday or Year-End Event
Nov 26, 2010 by DeDe Mulligan
Holiday Party

So you have the responsibility to put together the company holiday or year-end party. Below are some things you may wish to consider as you go about planning this festive event.

First, look at last year’s numbers. How many people came to the holiday event? How much money did you spend on food, beverage, entertainment, audio visual, and location? If it is all broken down, great! Plan accordingly and get the budget approved prior to planning the event.

Second, what can be improved from last year? What did the employees think of the event? What was great and what was flawed? I attended a formal corporate holiday event and the temperature in the room was 60 degrees!  While I was freezing in my sleeveless dress, I noticed many other women were as well. I attended an event the year following where the music was so loud the employees could not socialize unless they screamed or spoke into each other’s ears. In both cases, people left early and it definitely impacted the “fun” factor.

Third, who is going to be invited to this event and what is the purpose?  Is this an employee only celebration? Employees and significant others? Families? Clients? Determine exactly who will be invited to your holiday party and the purpose. Is it to recognize and appreciate your staff? Your clients? Both?

Fourth, determine where you want to hold the event.  In order to save money, many companies hold the event at their location. However, take into consideration the total attendance and plan accordingly.

Fifth, what kind of food and beverage are you offering?  Is this going to be a sit down affair or just appetizers? What about alcohol?

Sixth, what can you do to kick it up a notch? One thing to consider is expanding the budget by renting audio visual equipment. There are many ways to make your event more special and visually appealing. Below are some suggestions to consider:

·         Music or Entertainment: Should you have it? Should it be live or recorded? Background music or for dance party atmosphere? How many hours? There are many choices in this arena, so carefully exam your budget. A couple of inexpensive but fun options may be: a Karaoke machine if you think your attendees might like to sing or putting together great music on an iPod and renting a sound system to amplify the music.

·         Microphone and Stage: If you are having a large event and want to make several announcements or give out year-end awards, a microphone and stage is very important so everyone can hear and see the celebration.

·        Light Equipment Rental: Lighting can create warm and inviting ambiance at the party. It can be used to spotlight someone getting an award. Dance floor lighting can provide more fun while your attendees are on the floor!

·         Projector and Screen Rental: Powerpoint presentation equipment can be used as “A Year in Review” tool highlighting photos, video clips, and significant events and people that have made a difference. These types of presentations are often welcoming to the attendees.

AV Event Solutions offers all types of sound and lighting rentals, projector and screen rentals, wireless microphones, and so much more. We are ready to make your holiday party a blast!

Happy Thanksgiving
Nov 24, 2010 by DeDe Mulligan

From all the Staff at


We want to THANK YOU for your business and wish
you a very Happy and Safe Thanksgiving Holiday!

Apple iPad or Tablet PC: What Should You Rent for Your Next Event?
Nov 22, 2010 by DeDe Mulligan

iPad rentalTablet PC rentalThe Tablet PC is finally taking off after many years being dormant within the event meeting services industry. 
When Apple kicked off the portability craze in January by unveiling the iPad, it racked up a lot of buzz and event planners around the country are starting to utilize this technology.

Which one should you use for your next event?

A Tablet PC is a computer in form of a notebook except it allows the user to write on it through the use of a stylus or touch screen. The ones that have a monitor with pen or touchscreen are called slate while a Tablet PC that includes a keyboard is known as convertible technology. The Apple iPad is a slate while the Windows platform has either style. For event planning, selecting which one to use (or rent) will depend upon attendees needs. 

Choosing the right tablet hinges on a few key features: size, weight, and operating system and applications.  Both Tablet PCs and iPads are designed for portability however, the iPad offers a 10-inch multi-touch screen while Tablet PCs screens offer digital pen input and size ranges from 10 to 13.3 inches, with the newly announced Samsung Galaxy Tab being the smallest Tablet PC at 7 inches.  Weight is another consideration with the iPad coming in at 1.5 lbs while some Tablet PCs can weigh as much as 4.5 lbs.

A less obvious but equally important consideration is the operating system. Most Tablet PCs, like the  HP’s Slate 500, are specifically geared toward business users. The HP Slate runs Microsoft’s Windows 7 and has a USB port for connecting to printers. Some tablets are based on Google’s Android mobile platform while the Apple iPad has its own propriety operating system.  

Here is a brief side-by-side comparison compiled by  


Apple iPad

Tablet PC Platform

Touch Screen Size


7 to 13.3-inch

Operating System


Windows 7 or
Google’s Android

Camera and Microphone


Yes (newest one)


1.5 pounds

.5 to 4.78 pounds




Battery Life

Up to 10 hours

Up to 3.5 to 9 hours


Still confused about which unit to rent – Tablet PC or iPad? AV Event Solutions, your Event Rental Services organization, can help out! Give us a call to quote the best solution for your budget and attendee experience. 

8 Great Reasons to Rent iPads for Your Next Event
Nov 19, 2010 by DeDe Mulligan

iPad Technology: Will It Work For Events? The short answer is yes! But I can see you need to be convinced…so below are eight great reasons you may want to rent iPads for your next event:

  1. The iPad has a large screen allowing for bigger fonts which equates into easier readability for all types of attendees.  This means conference guide and exhibitor guides can be on the iPad, making the event paperless.
  2. Rent iPads and the Agendas, Calendars, and One-to-One Appointments are all in one place. The iPad creates personalized agendas for attendees, quick and easy access to conference schedules, including speaker bios, and presentation materials.
  3. It can incorporate multimedia into every presentation by allowing multiple photos and video clips for the attendee to enjoy.  Electronic Exhibitor guides can contain video demonstrations of products. Electronic Conference binders can contain speaker videos.
  4. Rent iPads for maximum speaker interactivity. This technology allows attendees to enter real-time questions to the speaker directly. Attendees can see which questions are in queue thus avoiding duplicate questions. In addition, speakers can update presentation materials on the fly.
  5. The Apple iPad allows you to take notes, further eliminating the need for paper. With built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, attendees can email their notes to a work or home computer allowing the conference services organization to eliminate the need for paper, thus being completely green and making the meeting green.
  6. At ½ inch thick and weighing only 1.5 pounds, an iPad is completely portable. It is also a lot easier to carry around an event or conference than a laptop or binder.
  7.  Speakers, Sponsors, and Tradeshow Vendors can bring gaming to a whole new level. Companies and Speakers can create demos, games, or quizzes — getting attendees engaged.
  8. Rent iPads and gain unlimited Sponsorship Opportunities. A sponsor can have their company logo on each Apple iPad. There can be commercials between sessions on each iPad. The sponsor of each breakout session could start and end each session with a commercial. The possibilities are endless.

Bottom Line

Rent iPads to change the way that attendees experience events.  iPad’s biggest impact on events will come from showing sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and event meeting services organizations a new way to use technology to gain the attention of your attendees. In addition, consider the cost and time of printing, shipping, and stuffing binders full of paper that attendees need to carry around from session to session. Wouldn’t it be a lot easier just to hand them an iPad?

Rent iPads from AV Event Solutions to amp up your product launching events, meetings, and tradeshows.

6 Key Benefits of Digital Signage on Computer Kiosks
Nov 17, 2010 by DeDe Mulligan

Touch Screen Computer KioskInnovative digital signage solutions are available on touch screen computer kiosks, which incorporate a screen and computer. They make sense in locations where conference services attendees can benefit from self-service information such as event agendas, city guides, or venue services.

These kiosks are versatile in that they can be added with many options which enable them to fulfill more them one role. Examples of optional extras are:

·         Printer (Full or Micro Size)

·         Keyboard

·         Camera which can create photo strips, CDs, file sharing or slide shows

In addition, computer kiosk rentals can be connected to a variety of peripherals, including WiFi connection, allowing users a wider range of applications over the Internet, including the capability of checking their email.

Computer kiosks can be in a variety of locations including:

·         Reception Areas

·         Information or Registration Desks and/or

·         Hotel, Conference, or Convention Venues

The benefits of the touch panel kiosk are immense as it can provide users with a fast and easy method of gaining information they require without having to wait in line for a person to answer the question whether it is what time a various session starts to where is a good place to eat.

The benefits of Digital Signage on computer kiosks are:

Improved Attendee Experience

As an event planner, you can put more information in one location. This information can be dynamic as the conference or event progresses. Touch screen kiosks allow for interactivity with the attendee and easy navigation to the information they want 24 hours a day.

Lower Costs

An event services company can distribute materials to the attendee with limited onsite assistance. There will be no printing or delivery of several hundred or perhaps thousands of agendas. Previous print sponsors can be re-purposed to digital signage at potentially the same cost but higher profit margin to you because there is no printing involved in program materials.

Increase Revenue

Conference services organizations can add new revenue stream from advertising because they are not limited to a finite number of sponsors. Because computer kiosks can now show video, as well as, photos there is an opportunity to increase sales on existing products or services especially in a tradeshow setting.

Increase Brand Awareness

For a product launching event, digital signage is more noticeable, allows for unique presentation of the brand and messaging, and video motion allows for trailers and teasers prior to the launch building up interest about the new product.

Reduce Wait Times

Computer kiosk rentals provide self-service registration or check-in capabilities and access to information from multiple location points within the venue without additional staffing and are available 24 hours a day.

Improve Communication

At a conference or event, providing current information to attendees is a key component to the success of the event. Touch screen kiosks provide information in an attractive form through the use of photos, color, and/or video. Because attendees can be receiving real time content, the information is more relevant to attendees and can be altered based on the time of day, weather, speakers, or other factors.

Looking for kiosk rentals? Contact AV Event Solutions, a California meeting equipment organization that can provide you with the kiosk technology that will make your meeting, special event, or convention stand out!

Audience Response Systems better than Paper Evaluations: Survey Says
Nov 15, 2010 by DeDe Mulligan

Audience participation has come a long way in today’s high-tech environment. Attendees can now participate in sessions real-time from their seats, using an iPad, laptop, or wireless audience response system to provide feedback to an event meeting services organization and the presenter.

During a session using wireless audience response systems, small or large groups gather for a presentation projected onto a large screen. Each attendee is given a wireless unit and the survey facilitator asks questions. Audience members select a response using their audience response rental unit.

Livelier interactive sessions are possible using real-time polls to get audience feedback — complete with instant PowerPoint slides illustrating trends and results. Audience members can also text ideas to a presenter for brainstorming or Q&A. It’s a more democratic approach because the least shy person — or the one with the loudest voice — no longer has the upper hand. Anonymity enables discreet discussions and feedback about sensitive topics.

“Audience response is so critical in our industry and it has changed so much in the last few years,” says Jim Spellos, CMP, founder and president of Meeting U. “It has gone from a really expensive approach to one that at least theoretically should be connecting with your smartphone to be able to utilize it in session.”

Wireless Audience Response Systems are a greener approach to feedback surveys. The technology can replace paper surveys and the manpower to tally the results. You get the feedback while it is fresh in the attendees mind and you can see how many attendees have responded to each question real-time, thus encouraging close to 100% participation with each question.

Audience Response Rentals lend themselves to getting information you would normally not get until a post-event survey, which could be days if not weeks after your event, if at all.

“What better way for us to find out how people like what we’re doing, how much people like or dislike the conference, than to really get a sense about what people feel at the time they are feeling it,” says Spellos. “Imagine being able to make a mid-course correction in terms of content or programming or timing because the audience really doesn’t like the way the session or the event is going. Now that is an extreme example but if you think about it, it has a lot of power for the meeting professional who understands those tools and can harness them properly.”

Audience Response System Rentals can be used in a hybrid meeting as well, where part of the audience is at the face-to-face meeting and part of it is at a virtual location. Consider, Forest City Enterprises Inc., who uses wireless audience response to improve their decision-making. They use the anonymity of the technology to gain input from the entire team.

Let AV Event Solutions, a California Event Meeting Services Company, assist you in your selection of wireless audience response systems. Take advantage of this technology, it ease-of-use and data gathering capability to gain feedback from your audience, get a wide range of opinions, and deepen the engagement of your attendees.

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