SmartSource Rentals Blog


The Pressures and Promises of Second Screen Technology
Sep 30, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

With an estimated 80% of conference attendees having smartphones at their disposal, is it any wonder they are constantly distracted by them? Now smartphones and tablets have a cool name when it comes to presentations: Second Screen Technology. What is it you might ask and how can it benefit your meeting? 

Second Screen Technology (SST) turns every attendee's device into an extension of the PowerPoint presentation equipment in the front of the room. It allows the user to see the slides "up close and personal" as the speaker is going through their talk. 

While there are many apps that can deliver this option, there are some things you need to consider before implementing SST — whether you rent iPads for your attendees or they Bring Their Own Devices (BYOD). Let's explore the questions to consider and the benefits of this offering.   


  • Will you be supplying the second screens or will you rely on BYOD? 
    This question always boils down to the ability of the app to run on multiple platforms. The easy way is to rent Tablet PCs and have the apps already loaded on them. If you choose the BYOD route, you will need to know exactly what each attendee is bringing to the conference and make certain it is supported by the application.  
  • Will the app be web-based or native? 
    A web-based app is just that — it sits up on a cloud and is being refreshed as the user moves through the program. A native app is downloaded once and does not rely on the Internet to function.  
  • How many devices will be connected and how will they be connected? 
    The number of devices connected to the Wi-Fi system at any one time and the applications they run can bring a conference center's system to its knees. However, if you suspect this may be an issue, you can rent a Wi-Fi network array as a dedicated bandwidth booster to make your Internet connections fast, secure and robust. 


  • Video, audio, photos and PowerPoint slides will be right at your attendee's fingertips as seen on the big screen. 
    Attendees will be able to follow along with the presenter and yet stay connect to the home office. If they have to step out of the room, they will still be able to view the presentation and hear the speaker. 
  • Learner outcomes can be measured quickly. 
    Through the use of polls, note taking and questions being asked via an online community or social channel — attendees, speakers and trainers can know instantly whether or not their message was received. 
  • Attendees will be more engaged. 
    With a second screen, attendees can review the slides at their own pace, take notes, ask questions to the presenter and other attendees and post to social channels — all from one device. 

AV Event Solutions can be your partner for second screen technology by providing your organization with iPad rentals, laptops and Wi-Fi network arrays. Give them a call at 888.249.4903 to get the process started! 

How Google Glass Could Change the Meeting Industry
Sep 27, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

Everyone's talking about, yet no one really understands how it will be used. I'm talking, of course, about Google Glass. If this technology takes off, it will definitely have a place in the meeting and event industry. 

Today, we will define what Glass is, provide you a short video to see how it can be used, prepare event organizers for this interactive technology and identify three uses of it. 


Google Glass is a hands-free, head-mounted intelligent device that looks like a pair of normal eyeglasses. The lens of the glasses are interactive, smartphone-like with natural language voice command support as well as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. 
Nothing can explain its use better than a short video. So sit back, relax and see some of the very creative ways Google Glass can be utilized. As you watch, think about how speaker and attendee interaction can be enhanced. How virtual and live attendees might experience the same event. Lastly, how easy it is to snap a photo or take a video. 


If Google Glass takes off sometime next year, you will really need to have a handle on your meeting's Wi-Fi needs. As of today, the average attendee brings 3 devices to a meeting — a tablet, cell phone and laptop. Assuming they continue to bring those 3 items, Glass will be one more device to bring additional burden on your bandwidth. As always, it is best to understand what devices your attendees are bringing and how they will be using them. Please remember, that video is a heavy burden on your Wi-Fi system. You may need to consider renting a Wi-Fi network array to keep everyone happy — attendees, sponsors, exhibitors and speakers. 

You need to start thinking about a privacy policy as well for your event. Although social channels will make certain nothing inappropriate crops up on their apps, attendees need to know they may be recorded from the front, back or side during the conference. It can happen with a smartphone or iPad now, but most people see the device and know it is happening. With Glass, they may be recorded without their knowledge or permission. 


  • Google Glass acts as a personal concierge on steroids.

    Because it is a smart device, the user will have access to Google Map and online reviews about restaurants, attractions and shopping in the conference city. What's new is it can identify the business based on location services and the physical features of the building. 

    I can see, in the future, attendees out on the street with Glass and live streaming their experiences back to the conference's Video Wall rental unit

  • Tweeting takes on a whole new meaning. 

    Google Glass users can tweet a message to nearby Google Glass attendees or the speaker. By using the conference hashtag, Glass users can participate in the conference, just as other mobile device users can. However, their message will be via a photo or video which has greater impact. 

  • Video is its greatest asset. 

    Consider having hundreds of attendees posting video from literally their point of view. You will be able to learn so much about what an attendee, exhibitor or speaker is experiencing because you are seeing it first hand. This technology should help video channels such as YouTube, Instagram and Vine to explode with content. 

Are you event planning in California? Call on the audio visual and Wi-Fi experts at AV Event Solutions to help you with your next event! 

Gone in 60 Seconds: Help Your Presenter Nail Their Opening Remarks
Sep 23, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan


The old adage by Will Rogers "You never get a second chance to make a good first impression", holds true even with the most sought out professional speaker. Bruce Kasanoff from Now Possible, recently shared on LinkedIn that the first minute of a speaker's stage presence will garner his or her success ratio with the audience.

It boils down to this: If they are engaged, they will listen. If they are not, they will quickly get distracted with their mobile devices.  

Kasanoff suggests that you implement the following when coaching your presenters: 

1)  Make certain your speaker has their opening down cold. 

If nothing more, have your presenter rehearse the first 2-5 minutes of their talk with you. Besides what is showing on the PowerPoint presentation equipment, take note of the speaker's: 

  • Body language — Is it open and inviting? 
  • Confidence Level  — Are they confident in their materials or seem to be stumbling with their slides? 
  • Demeanor — Are they happy to be there or is this another speech in a panel of many? Are they comfortable on stage? 

Make certain to guide them if you see any deficits and ask them to rehearse with you again. 

Have the speaker come back the day of the event to do a complete run through of their talk and to meet the AV technician. When renting audio visual equipment, make certain the following occurs: 

2) Expect the Unexpected. 

Make sure your speaker has backup for their backup. They should have memorized the first 60 seconds and the last. They must know their outline cold. They should have a hard copy of their presentation and if the presentation services audio visual equipment freezes, they should be able to go on in a fluid, calm manner. 

3) Stories are very successful. 

Ask them to draw the audience in with a true, heartfelt story that ties to their message. Stories are generally interesting but rarely used as an opening.  

4) Silence is undervalued. 

We have come to expect that our speaker will talk every moment they are on stage. Before and after they present, we expect music and lighting. Or networking. But pure, dead silence can work to a presenter's advantage — especially in the first 60 seconds — if they are doing something eye catching or impactful. Encourage your presenters to use silence, when and where it makes sense. 

AV Event Solutions, now part of the SmartSource Rentals family, has sound and lighting rentals, LCD projector and screen rentals and much more to make your speakers really shine! Fill out their express quote form to get the process started! 

Thank You
Sep , 2013 by Melissa Bailey

Thank you for requesting AV Event Solutions eBook "How to Incorporate New Tools and Technologies into Events and Tradeshows."

We will be sending you an email with a link to download our free eBook. If you want to start saving money, time and the environment using new technology for your next meeting, please use the link below:





10 Ways Conferences are Using Social to Keep Attendees Connected
Sep 20, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

socialPCMA Convene Magazine recently highlighted four organizations that are using social in fun, creative ways to keep meeting participants connected throughout the entire conference and beyond. The conferences are: 

  • iStrategy Digital Marketing Conference
  • IBM Pulse 2013
  • National Preservation Conference 2012 and
  • MPI World Education Congress 2013

Here is what each one did and how they used interactive technology tool rentals to spread the social posts to the rest of the conference and the virtual world. 


Using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, they engaged audiences in the following ways: 

  • Video wall rental units showed livestreaming of conference tweets for all attendees to view as they moved about the event
  • They created a daily contest for:

    • Best photo
    • Best answer to the question of the day and
    • Most retweeted tweet

John Whitehurst, head of marketing for iStrategy shared, "With only hundreds in attendance, the social media activity reaches around 18 million people for each event." 


At IBM Pulse 2013, an event that draws thousands of customers and industry experts, they:

  • Employed the use of social media concierges to address any questions or needs brought forth by attendees and informed them of important happenings at the convention.  
  • Through the use of video wall rental units, IBM livestreamed attendees' photos from Instagram and broadcasted important tweets. 
  • Hosted a game called "Social Media Roulette" to engage new social users where they earned points for participation and could spin for prizes on the last day of the conference. 
Jill Taub Drury, Co-founder and CEO of Drury Design Dynamics stated, "We try to create an experience that will drive social traffic both on- and off-site. We really strategized with IBM to make sure the information that was going out was really content driven."  For more content ideas, check out the blog post:  13 Ways to Curate Great Content at Your Meetings and Conferences
Over 2,000 attendees came to this annual conference in Spokane, Washington. The meeting participants used social in the following ways: 
  • Creating a Twitter hashtag #presconf, they were able to keep virtual attendees engaged 
  • Both local and virtual attendees were able to connect to each other via Twitter
  • They also offered a Tweetup the first night of the conference so individuals who follow each other could meet face-to-face.


With 1,800 attendees at WEC this year, MPI utilized the Geoteaming Goose Chase app to unlock teamwork, strategy and creativity via a smartphone photo scavenger hunt. Connecting attendees' Twitter accounts to the app, they were able to share photos of the event in a fun interactive way. 

Another way to use this app is to project questions on a large Plasma LCD screen and allow individuals to tweet or text their answers. This increased collaboration at the event.  

"I modified a poll on the fly and allowed a whole room to set the priority for the year for an association. We did it all in 30 minutes or less and it was based off of the group's information, not just one person deciding this is what we should do," said John Chen, CEO of PlayTime Inc, the app's parent company. 

AV Event Solutions, now part of SmartSource Rentals, can provide you with video wall rentals, plasma LCDs and Wi-Fi network arrays. Give them a call at 888.249.4903 to get the process started! 

Say What? Think About an Orange to Make Your Meeting Negotiations Easier?
Sep 18, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan


How many times have you walked away from a negotiation because you have dug your heels in on one thing? It might be pricing, availability or something else, but for some reason you did not move the negotiation needle and neither did the other side. 

However, what if you consider the uses of an orange to make this process easier? Here's the analogy: 

Say there are two people negotiating over the use of one orange. In 99% of the time, the two individuals would cut the orange in half and say that was a fair resolution. But what if it isn't what either party wanted? Perhaps one person wanted the outside of the orange for zest and the other wanted the orange for juice. Wouldn't allowing one party to grate the orange and then, returning it to the other be a better deal? Of course it would!

But we don't think that way, especially in the meeting planning business. Often times, whether a supplier wins the business or not boils down to: price, availability of product and dates. However, just as in the orange scenario, there is a better way for both parties to negotiate and it is called Multiple Equivalent Simultaneous Offers or MESOs

The principle behind MESO is to make multiple offers which are mutually equal. The benefit of doing this is you can better understand your partner in a negotiation and offer them what they want. MESOs allow negotiators to collect and integrate information to combine aggressiveness, cooperation and flexibility. 
The key is to be able to put value on everything you want in your RFP and assign points to them. For example, if your first choice is to hold a meeting at a hotel during their peak season and peak day of the week, you know ahead of time the meeting room discount and room block are going to be very low, if you receive any discount at all. However, if you go there during their off-season and on a day of the week that is very slow for the hotel, you should expect to receive a hefty discount. Both are valuable proposals; one addresses availability and the other price.  
Here are the 3 keys to a successful negotiation with MESOs:
  1. Identify and prioritize what each party wants. 

    While keeping the price point low is important to you as the event planner, making the most profit is very important to your partners. This is the case for most suppliers, including conference equipment rental companies. Try and come prepared with your list and ask your partner to do the same. Price point is only one element — interactive technology tool rentals, experience of staff, availability of equipment and slow times of the year — are also considerations. 

  2. Brainstorm different offerings. 

    Let your creative juices flow and come up with as many options as possible that still will meet the basic needs of your meeting. 

  3. Ask for 3 equivalent proposals. 

    Make certain they are equal and can add up to the same points value. Even though this is subjective in nature, the process shows creativity, flexibility and the best options based on your needs. 

So the next time you get into a negotiation, think about an orange and go from there.

AV Event Solutions, now part of SmartSource Rentals, is a great conference equipment rental organization. With 21 branches nationwide, they offer a local presence with the depth and breadth of a national organization. Give them a call at 888.249.4903 to get started! 

Want to Make Your Awards Celebration Really Special? Look Closely at these Dos and Don’ts
Sep 16, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

awardAssociations, nonprofits and corporations alike usually hold an annual gathering to recognize their members, board of trustees or employees and thank them for all their hard work over the course of the previous year or their career lifetime. Your job as an event professional is to make the honorees feel like they are receiving the "red carpet" treatment while keeping the audience entertained and engaged.  

Here are the do's and don'ts of this type of function:

DON'T hold this function at the office or the same venue used for all your meetings. 

Holding it where you have every training session or sales meeting says two things about your organization: 1) You don't care to look outside your regular meeting places and 2) This event is really not that special. 

DO look for an unique venue. 

Find somewhere that makes you feel special. Perhaps an out of the way restaurant or resort conference center. Don't rule out a national park with a view, an observatory or a country club. 

DON'T rely solely on venue lighting. 

Most meeting space is functional for all type of events from conferences to galas. Therefore, the venue is going to invest in practical, functional and boring lighting for each meeting space. 

DO explore your lighting options.  

LED light equipment rentals are a great choice because of the coolness and weight of this system. Your AV partner can place it on the walls and ceilings of the meeting room, out in the entry way or even outside the facility. For more creative lighting options, check out this post:  4 Different Lighting Rentals to Consider for Your Next Event.

DON'T skimp on the stage presence.  

A boring stage equals a boring event. 

DO extent the theme to the stage. 

The right backdrops, curtains, lighting and decorations can turn a boring platform into a buzz worthy one. Look at the theme and unleash your creative team by exploring options that will make the stage pop. If the event is very large, invest in Plasma Displays or Video Wall rental units so everyone from the front of the room to the back can visually engage in the festivities. 

DON'T take sound for granted. 

From the speeches to the entertainment, if attendees cannot hear what is going on or the audio is inconsistent, they will check out and pull out their mobile devices to surf the web or post something on social. 

DO invest in state-of-the-art sound rentals and extensively test the equipment. 

You want your audience to be engaged from the moment they sit down. Keep them on the edge of their seats by taking the time to have your AV team test for every location in the room. Have an AV tech on site to ensure if anything happens, they can quickly and efficiently remedy it. 

DON'T wing it. 

Not providing an agenda, alerting honorees how much time they have for their speeches and letting them rehearse on stage is a big mistake. Remember, many of these folks are not public speakers so it is your job to make them look good and feel comfortable. 

DO communicate and rehearse. 

Run your show like the Oscars. Choreograph the movement of the presenters and award recipients. Let them practice their speeches in front of an empty audience. Have someone time the honorees' speech and give immediate feedback. 

Are you event planning in California? Call on AV Event Solutions for all your AV and Wi-Fi network rental needs! 

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