SmartSource Rentals Blog


4 Cutting-Edge Event Audio Visual Rental Items
Jan 31, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan

According to BizBash magazine, below are 4 cutting-edge ideas for interactive technology tool rentals at your next special event or meeting.

plasma screen rental#1: Large Video Displays and Motion Graphics
Graphics can be shot in 4K resolution (which is 4,000 pixels). This is the highest resolution format in the market and has the depth and clarity that can rival live performances. With 65-inch plasma screen rentals placed in strategic places, your next event could truly be mind blowing! The event rental services company can coordinate the video content, server, screens, and sound systems.

iShadow Shadow Box# 2: Interactive Lighting Projections with Multi-Touch Surfaces

The Shadow Bar tabletop has images created by computer-generated sensors that are triggered by movement, like the wave of a hand. The images are completely customizable and options can include corporate logos, products, words, or decorative pictures. Seeing is believing, so be sure to check out the video.

vcube#3: Combination of Furniture, Lighting, and Video
The V-Cube, which is 19" high by 24" wide and acts as a table, offers event meeting services organizations the ability to produce and play preproduced messages and images on 4 LCD screens and offers a built-in DVD player or USB port. LED lights have 16 color options and dimming control. An external video feed can be plugged into the V-Cube for multiple video sources, as well as, live feeds.

#4: Signage Software
This software can display customer ads and event information on many platforms including touch panel kiosks. This type of platform can also be used to broadcast live steaming feeds from social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare. Meeting planners can update the signs through the Internet or their mobile phone and attendees can email photos or text messages directly to the planner. This type of program can also collect attendee email addresses or Social Media connections to aid in future marketing. This application is ideal for trade shows, conferences, and any large event.

AV Event Solutions, your California event services company, is here to help you with any cutting edge solutions you need. We are a rental company committed to making a difference at your next event.

6 Key Questions to Ask Before Considering a Virtual Event
Jan 28, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
Virtual EventYou have decided that 2011 is the year to hold your first virtual event. You have read all the articles about these type of meetings and think your audience is ready to participate in the virtual world.

Before you start down the yellow brick road, you need to come up with a sound strategy and implementation plan that will reap the ROI you and your organization wants and the educational value your attendees need.

I have developed a listing of questions you need to consider before setting up the interactive technology tool rentals. Here they are:


  • …are you trying to accomplish with a virtual event? Are you trying to save money, reach new attendees, and/or hold a product launching event in several countries at the same time?
  • …challenge is your organization solving by holding a virtual event?
  • …forces are pushing you toward it?
  • …do the attendees want from this event?
  • …will success look like?


  • …are the attendees interacting? Are they at their own computers or gathered in a large meeting space?


  • …will your first virtual event start and conclude?


  • ….will be invited to attend this meeting?
  • …will answer the questions and concerns virtual attendees may have as they arrive?


  • …can virtual event rental services technology address the challenges facing your attendees?
  • …are you going to train your attendees to interact with your organization through this new medium?
  • …will sponsors be included?
  • …will you promote the event, build the buzz, and encourage attendees to sign up?
  • …will they join in on the meeting?
  • …will elements such as fun, education, networking, and trade show access take place?
  • …will success be measured?


  • …are you doing this?

According to Event Marketing Institute’s 2010 Eventview Snapshot study, marketing executives that were surveyed said the following:

  • 80% said their top business priority was to generate new revenue;
  • 50% said they needed to find ways to increase event attendance, brand awareness, and reduce costs; and
  • 33% said they needed to generate new leads.
With the focus on generating new revenue, increasing attendance, reducing costs, AND generating more leads, it seems that virtual events make sense and are here to stay. The question isn’t "Should we go virtual?" but rather "How do we add a virtual component to our event?" said Michael Doyle, Chief Executive of the Virtual Edge Institute.

AV Event Solutions, a California event services company, is here to help with your next virtual event. We can assist you with the right equipment, strategy, and technology to make your event outstanding.

Why Incorporate ARS at Your Next Conference or Meeting
Jan 26, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
Audience Response System (ARS) Rental
Have you ever noticed how much more you learn when you are involved in the learning process?

You have heard of Audience Response Systems (ARS), but you are probably wondering…

Is it worth the investment or will it be a distraction?

In a recent poll of corporate event planners, over 40% of the audience at their meetings felt the event or conference was "a waste of time" when lectured to by a presenter. In the same poll, 90% of those planners said that will be using Audience Response rentals in future meetings they plan because attendees are more engaged, ask questions related to the presentations, and are generally excited to be at the meeting.

Powerpoint presentation equipment can be easily integrated with ARS that allow presenters and trainers to ask attendees interactive questions. These questions are usually typed into a PowerPoint slide and posed to the audience. The audience then uses their hand-held keypads to respond to the questions in real time. Once the system receives all the responses, this data can be displayed in graph format real-time or stored in a report for future analysis.

Audience Response System rentals are simple to set up, easy to learn, and very intuitive. ARS components consist of the following three things:

  • Software
  • Radio Frequency Keypads and
  • USB Receiver
Who Uses Wireless Audience Response Systems?

Presenters to:

  • Make their lecture interactive
  • Reinforce key presentation points with knowledge based questions
  • Poll the audience on what they think about the subject matter
  • Adjust presentation quickly
  • Allow audience members to respond honestly and anonymously
Trainers for:
  • Pre- and post-training testing
  • Engage participants in competitive games
  • Team building exercises
  • Real-time feedback on ideas and topics
Event Meeting Services Organizers to:
  • Survey the audience about the event
  • Eliminate paper surveys by conducting speaker evaluations electronically
  • Provide feedback among participants even with hybrid meetings
  • Allow audience members to participate anonymously
Sales Managers to:
  • Evaluate the team’s product knowledge and sales profiency
  • Survey prospective and current clients about decision making timeframes
  • Gain anonymous feedback during product launching events
Human Resource Managers for:
  • Conducting employee polling about new or existing policies
  • Use as a screening tool for new hires
CEO or Board of Directors for:
  • Voting and Elections at Annual Meetings
  • Eliminate paper ballots and vote-counting time by conducting elections, by-law, and amendment changes electronically.
Benefits of Audience Response Systems
  • Increases Presenter’s Effectiveness
  • Keeps Attendees Engaged in Presentation or Training
  • Identifies the Audiences’ Understanding of the Topic
Incorporate wireless Audience Response Systems into your next meeting or conference and the attendees will stay more focused and alert, maintain a higher level of interest, and participate in the presentation. Let AV Event Solutions work with you to design your audience response program and your next event will be a real winner! 
Predicting a Positive 2011 for the Event Industry
Jan 24, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
Meeting Professinals International (MPI), IMEX, and the International Special Events Society (ISES) are all predicting that meeting volume, the number of attendees, and increasing value and ROI will be the priority throughout the global event meeting services industry in 2011 versus 2010.

For FutureWatch 2011, MPI garnered insight from more than 450 industry professionals in 20 countries and from 67 MPI chapters. "After two challenging years for the business of our industry, we’re back with FutureWatch 2011 responses indicating material growth in activity of 8 percent. FutureWatch 2011 also indicates that this is the year where recent industry forays into virtual events and collaboration through social media will become increasingly mainstream. Thinking outside the room to drive performance through connectivity is becoming entrenched," said Bruce MacMillan, President and CEO of MPI

Year-to-Year Trend in Projected Meeting Statistics
Year to Year Trend in Projected Meeting Stats
FutureWatch 2011 predicts the following:
  • An 8% Increase in the Number of Meetings;
  • A 5% Increase in the Spend Per Meeting;
  • A 2% Increase in the Number of Attendees;
  • A 2% Increase in Planners’ Budgets.
The other interesting note regarding international travel is the following:
  • US Organizations plan to have 87% of their meetings in the US. The 2nd choice, with only 6%, is Europe.
  • Canadian Organizations plan on having 82% of their meetings within the Candian borders. The next place they are likely to travel to is the US, with 11% of the meetings.
  • Europian Organizations plan to have 82% of their meetings in Europe. 10% of their meetings will be planned in the US.
IMEX Global Insights Report

IMEX surveyed 45 senior event meeting services professionals to gain their input regarding the state of the industry for 2011. Optimism is high with these survey participants who thought 2011 will bring a rise in events and budgets, green initiatives, and more virtual meetings.

Here is a summary of some the report results:

  • 58% of the respondants said the number of meetings will increase this year.
  • 42% said they are fully committed to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
  • 25% said demonstrating Return on Investment (ROI) from meetings and events, in detail, is their most important priority.
  • 18% expected a significant increase in their budget this year.
ISES Forecast 2011

Penton Media, conducts an annual survey on behalf of the ISES Advisory Board. They divided their respondants into In-house Event Services Company Professionals and Independent Event Professionals. Below, are the results of the survey from the in-house event professionals:

When asked about the number of events said the following:

  • 41% will stage more events in 2011 than 2010
  • 40% will stage about the same
  • 10% are unsure and
  • 9% will stage fewer events
When asked "What are the greatest challenges facing you this year?" said:
  • 64% are projecting reduced budgets
  • 53% feel an uncertain economy will affect their events
  • 25% will be dealing with shorter lead times
  • 23% will need to demonstrate ROI and/or value
  • 21% are uncertain about their own company finances

With reduced budgets and shorter lead times, let AV Event Solutions, a California Event Equipment Company, help add value to your event experience without adding a lot of cost to your bottom line.

When Should AV Companies Start Marketing to Meeting Planners?
Jan 21, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
Meeting Planners - When Should AV Companies Starting Marketing to Them?Six event meeting services professionals recently weighed in on LinkedIn as to when AV organizations should start marketing to meeting and event planners. Below, is a synopsis of their quotes, but as you will see, the AV company needs to be involved early and have an excellent reputation. Here’s what they had to say:

Katie Jackson, Director at Sg2, states "The AV is a core component of my budgets and can be an area prone to increases, depending on the client needs, so the sooner those needs are brought to my attention, the better. Many of my events are at hotel venues with event audio visual rental staff I have relationships with. I don’t often have a need to put out bids. I look for a stable brand and usually have a few cohorts in the event meeting services industry that I ask for recommendations if I need a new source."

Bob Cherny, Sales Representative at Paradise Show and Design, adds " You are only as good as your last show. If a conference services planner chooses the wrong AV company this show could be their last. So, there is a serious disincentive to try someone new. Meeting planners, for the most part, hate to be sold to. There is no "right" time to market to planners. If the planners know who the AV company is, they will come to them."

Margret H. Williams, Owner of Pizzazz Meeting & Event Planning Group, says "As an independent meeting planner, having one or two corporate audio visual companies you can rely on to be part of your team is key. The AV company should definitely be involved at the beginning of the planning process, not just for budgeting purposes, so they can hear first-hand the needs and desires of the client. They can help with the creative process of bringing the event to life."

Patricia Thierry, Owner of MWP Transcripts, chimed in with this take "As a transcription company, having to transcribe the audio from meetings, the AV companies are an extremely important part of the whole event planning strategy. I can’t tell you how many times a meeting planner has used whoever the hotel provides them with, only to realize afterwords that they didn’t have the technical ability to be sure that everyone was properly miked and able to be heard. The meeting cannot be recreated and all the valuable information they recorded is inaudible."

Joan Eisenstodt, Chief Strategist at Eisenstodt Associates, LLC, said "We suggest clients involve AV from site selection. It’s an integral part of many meetings and shouldn’t wait until months or weeks out!" 

Bonnie Lackey, Former President of Lackey Sound and Light, Inc. added "I have seen a trend over the last few years of customers start to have loyalty to their production/AV providers, as they do, with their DJ’s."

AV Event Solutions, a California meeting equipment company, is available to speak with you about your meeting, event, conference, or tradeshow needs at any time. We carry state-of-the-art interactive technology tool rentals and can provide the technical and creative power to make your event great!

Is Attending the Meeting or Event Worth it? Five Things to Assess ROI
Jan 19, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan


As an event meeting services professional, you know how important it is to attend professional development industry events and trade shows. However, you also are aware how hard it is to measure the results of your attendance at a 3-day show in Vegas vs. staying in the office making sales calls and attending to your existing client base. Here are some ways to start to measure ROI to help you build your case to management.

According to Investopedia, Return on Investment (ROI) is a performance measurement used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment. To calculate ROI, the benefit of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment. The result is a percentage or ratio.

Here is an example. Let’s say it cost you $3,000 to attend a two-day trade show. This includes travel, registration costs, rental car, meals, and opportunity costs (because after all, you aren’t in the office). Then let’s say, as result of attending that conference, you close $15,000 worth of business. The calculation would be ROI = ($15,000 – $3,000)/$3,000 = 4 or 400 percent. Which means, for every dollar you spent on the meeting, event, or conference, you sold $4 worth of services or products.

This is obviously the simple way of looking at the hard dollars and cents. But what about other factors? Here are some other things to take into consideration:

  1. How much does it cost your organization to identify a prospect? Remember your target market will be at the conference, versus doing a direct mail campaign where little to no individuals will read your message.
  2. It is always easier to sell and follow-up if you meet face-to-face. You now have a reason to follow-up with that prospect versus just your standard cold call.
  3. Be very concise on why you want to attend the conference. It is important to come up with 5 things that you will gain by attending this meeting that you can’t get back at the office. You need to do the following:
    1. Study the agenda and know exactly what sessions you are going to attend
    2. How many clients are you going to interact with?
    3. How many prospects are you going to meet?
    4. How many suppliers, such as event audio visual rental firms, are you going to meet?
    5. What about the speakers? How are you going to interact with them?
  4. Create a detailed schedule and share it with your management team. Let them know what your schedule is going to be including sessions, networking events, and when they can expect you to return emails and telephone calls. It is important that you are still available to the office, even is it only for 30 minutes per day.
  5. After the conference, make a listing of all the people you met and how you are going to follow up with them. Send an updated listing monthly to your management team. Nothing is worse than gathering a bunch of business cards at an event and letting them gather dust in your desk drawer. Show a follow up plan and categorize the people you met in the areas that make sense. Follow through and if a sale ensues, it will make it much easier to justify the event the next time.
In a time of budget cuts and highly scrutinized expenditures, taking the time to do the steps above is essential if you want to continue going to Vegas and beyond! AV Event Solutions, a California event equipment company, will help you with any audio visual rentals you need for your next event or trade show.
5 Must Haves for Training Programs
Jan 17, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
Training Services from AV Event Solutions
What should your next training program look like? Whether you are developing a program internally for your organization or contracting with an outside training firm to build and deliver it, below are the 5 must haves you need to make it a great success.
#1 How Much Time and Where Will it be?
Is this training going to be 2 hours, 1/2 day, full day, or over multiple days? Is it going to be on-site or off-site? These questions need to be addressed before you decide on content or select a trainer.

#2 Define Content and Purpose
What is the message? Choose 3-to-5 items to train on and drive them home. If you are training your personal for a product launching event, stick to the topic and do not deviate from the message one bit. Most training programs get off track, because they are too broad or the presenter doesn’t know how to bring the audience home. Stick to the agenda and time frame.

#3 Invest in a Qualified Trainer
Make certain the trainer is very knowledgeable about the topic. Make sure they know the material inside and out. Nothing is worse than a presenter standing before the audience who doesn’t know or understand the presentation services audio visual system and software. Or someone who is boring. Get the best of the best. Your attendees will thank you.

#4 Make the Format Interactive and Participative
Lectures are not appropriate for most training programs. By providing the attendees with wireless audience response systems, laptops, or rental iPads, you are allowing your audience members to download the presentation onto their mobile device and/or participate anonymously during question and answer period, and "test" the participants knowledge before they leave the training room. This also allows everyone involved to  buy into the training program and retain the information longer by asking for feedback, ideas, and knowing whether or not the message hit home.

#5 Invest in the Right Location and Audio Visual Equipment

  • Make certain your room or venue has wireless service
  • If you have a lot of interactive technology tool rentals, make certain the AV company has spare units on-site in the case of a crash or system malfunction
  • If you are renting a lot of computers or mobile devices, make sure the event rental services organization will deliver, install, and take down all equipment.
  • If you have a lot of technical equipment, you may want to hire a certified on-site technician to handle any audio visual issues that may arise during the training program.
Whether your company is training 10 new employees or conducting a product launching event for 10,000 participants, AV Event Solutions, a corporate audio visual firm, can provide turnkey solutions for training services through California and the Western US. Our knowlegeable account executives respond same-day, and give you the proper attention your next training program deserves.
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