SmartSource Rentals Blog


5 Developing Technologies that will Change Events
Circuit Board1
Feb 26, 2015 by Anonymous

By Tia Crawford

The Event Industry is constantly reinventing itself—endlessly searching for new, fresh, better, and more eye-popping options on a long list of event necessities. Event Planners are looking for the most fashionable décor of the moment, the trendiest venue, and the guest speaker that is most in demand; however, behind the scenes, business events strive for informational exchange and networking connections. Technology has grown from a supporting factor into a driving force, as it has become imbedded in our learning and communication—more deeply than we ever imagined. Technology that only DAYS ago was considered Science Fiction is now becoming realized as fact—from 3-D printing to teleportation! We selected the top five developing technologies that are actively changing events at this moment.

  1. Wearables—although Google Glass has been shelved, there’s no doubt that the concept is here to stay, and that hands-free Internet or Wi-Fi connected devices will evolve—eventually changing our daily lives in ways that we can hardly predict. Currently, Internet-linked eyeglasses, watches, clothing, and wristbands are all finding their way into the Event Industry. For business events such as conferences or trade shows, speakers and Event Managers may be the most likely to benefit from “smart glasses,” since they provide visual prompts, communication, navigation, and sharing—all on the go—and are controlled hands-free through voice interaction. Speakers and Event Planners can use the technology to manage better presentations and events! For attendees, less obvious and physically obtrusive wearables such as smart watches and NFC (near field communication) wristbands or rings can effortlessly aid individuals, helping them to gather information, network with other attendees, and have a more personalized experience at any event.
  2. The Internet of Things—moving into a deeper examination of connectivity, the “Internet of Things” is a rapidly developing concept with far-reaching effects. Through barcodes, QR codes, digital watermarking, radio frequency identification (RFID), and NFC, objects can transmit information on their movement, in a device-to-device information gathering and sharing network. The technology that has brought us “smart homes”—allowing us to remotely connect with and control our appliances, for example—is poised to assist in our understanding and regulating of nearly every industry. In the case of events, the Internet of Things (IoT) will bring increasingly advanced personalization to our events, as guests remotely request information and services, as well as ease the workload for Event Managers who can digitally monitor everything from breakout room attendance to paper towel inventory.
  3. BLE and iBeacon—BLE (Bluetooth low energy) and iBeacons are already on the scene; Event Planners are just beginning to discover and utilize their potential. As our devices and wearables transmit information regarding our specific location, these Geofencing and proximity-sensing technologies are waiting for the precise moment when their services are useful to guests. From audio-visual information and wayfinding, to personalization and registration information, these location-specific technologies are connecting attendees to the tailored experiences that create impact.
  4. Event Apps and Gamification—many events already incorporate specialized apps. However, there’s simply no end to the amount of development that can customize this technology. Event Planners are assessing their attendees and determining their events’ purpose—specialized event apps and games are the ideal way to—literally—guide attendees toward a company’s mission and event goal. Whether the objective is education and training, sales conversions, marketing and outreach or networking, games and apps can be created to construct precisely the outcome that any business is seeking.
  5. Big Data and Analytics—the future is about data. All of the technology we’ve discussed rests upon voluminous quantities of information. How this information is analyzed and utilized is the key to the future. Businesses are in a position to finally understand the movement of their inventory and the minds of their customers. Truly, the next frontier for the Event Industry is how to effectively utilize the information that we now control.



Conference Technology that Boosts Networking
Feb 24, 2015 by Anonymous

By Tia Crawford

Networking is one of the main objectives of any corporate gathering. While the businesses involved, industries covered, speakers presenting, and ideas exchanged are different for every event, one thing remains constant:

Business Events Connect People to People, and They Connect People to Ideas

Naturally, technology plays a huge part in these connections! Whether it distributes the content and comments generated from a speaker’s ideas, or whether it’s facilitating the effortless transfer of B2B or B2C personnel and product information—technology is supporting us every step of the way as we break ground on pathways to new successes!

Suggestions for Conference Organizers

Event Managers and Planners have a LOT of aspects on their minds. It can be easy for networking to fall by the wayside in the midst of the more pressing issues that need attention. However, a little extra attention to networking opportunities can easily help make the conference more successful for attendees—therefore, a more successful event overall. As a Conference Organizer, if the goal of your event is to foster real conversations, the following technology options can help:

Event Registration Software—registration is, literally, the first step for event attendees. However, from the planning perspective, the right event registration software asks the right questions—who are your conference attendees and what do they want to achieve? Registration software has the capability to gather powerful data about your guests, allowing you to create the situations which help them accomplish their goals. For more information, consider reading this article on how data collection helps you read minds!

Charging Station Lounges—the popularity of charging station kiosks has increased dramatically. Event Planners know that their attendees NEED them, and their exhibitors WANT them. At conferences, a charging station lounge creates an ideal opportunity for face-to-face networking. Set aside a comfortable, designated area with charging stations—let conference attendees visit the lounge and use this free and necessary service. Although the average charge only takes between 7 and 12 minutes, it’s a perfect time to strike up a genuine conversation with fellow attendees. Even if lounge visitors aren’t a business match, studies show that conference-related friendships often play a significant factor in whether attendees return year after year.

Lead Retrieval Systems—a lead retrieval system is a networking master control key that helps Event Managers (and presenters and exhibitors) understand the choices, preferences, and patterns of their guests’ behavior—helping them to provide tailored options based on what their attendees truly want. Through barcoded attendee badges, Event Planners can monitor attendance at presentations and sessions, track breakout session participation, supervise traffic flow through the venue, and control surveys, games, and prizes—all of which help ensure that attendees are truly making the connections that they need!

Breakout Room Setups—breakout rooms are designed to facilitate more intense and direct communication for training, talks, presentations, collaboration, or co-learning. These smaller group interactions are an ideal chance for networking, since participants are focused and on-target, and each individual attendee is expected to contribute more freely. Help make the most of these sessions by providing excellent audio-visual presentation technology, such as high lumen projectors and optimized audio—for flawless sound and presentation quality. A Wi-Fi booster can also help ensure that the connections made during these sessions are made instantaneously.

Social Media Video Wall—nothing facilitates social connections faster than social media. Even in a face-to-face setting, social media still serves a valuable purpose by making it easier for people to put names to faces, to place names to businesses, and to bring the right opportunities together in the midst of a crowd. Social media acts like an index that helps us navigate the people around us, but it manages to take a lofty goal and make it casual and fun! Consider using a video wall to display a social media feed of guest comments—it’s an excellent way to keep attendee devices tied in to the work at hand, while keeping your attendees’ eyes and ears open for those magic moments when REAL connections are made!

Money and Time-Saving Event Social Media Strategies
Feb 19, 2015 by Karen Daniels

You might feel that deciding to add social media to your event to-do list puts you over the proverbial edge and that you’ll end up with just too many tasks on your plate. As we all know, time is money.

However, social media is necessary, and it’s a fabulous tool for boosting engagement and marketing. And there are strategic ways to get other people, even your attendees, to happily contribute to your social media marketing so the burden is not all on you.

Make Social Media Participation Easy

You’re busy and so are your attendees, so the last thing any of us want is something complicated and time consuming. Here are simple ways you can encourage others to engage and help spread the word for you via social media. The idea behind these is that once you get the ball rolling, others will jump in and actively participate.

Not only does this help your event gain visibility, it is capitalizing on the spirit of social media to have “conversations” with your followers.


  • An event hashtag is a must for generating conversation and easily allowing everyone to see what has already been posted. Hashtag hints – the shorter the better, create it early on, and have the word/s be as engaging as possible.
  • Provide a list of your Tweets to attendees, before during and after the event. You can do this by posting a PDF transcript of “grab and go” Tweets, with hashtag, on your site and other communication channels.
  • Use digital signage or a video wall as an eye-catching Twitter wall that is centrally located at your venue. Viewers love that little piece of fame that comes from having their Tweet up on the big wall, and this encourages yet more Tweeting.
  • Create a poll that is conducted over Twitter. You can do this before an event, even using it as a way for attendees to vote on certain event happenings, and you can also do this during an event to get immediate feedback on happenings.
  • Do a Twitter contest which rewards Tweeting specific items of interest about your event.
  • Have your speakers Tweet intriguing content, such as teasers about their talks.
  • Ask people to retweet – this seems small, but too many people don’t ask their followers to retweet event Tweets.


  • Post a link in groups you belong to
  • Start a new open group for those who will benefit from your event. (Hint – use a good keyword to name your group). Here’s how to invite people you know.
  • Post an event link in your status update.


  • Encourage content – provide rewards and/or prizes for attendees who post good content, either text or multimedia.
  • Add social share buttons (best in the top right).
  • Do random giveaways for followers who post on their blog about your event and then link to your event page.
  • Have event sponsors contribute useful posts with information your readers can use to better their business or efforts.
  • During the event, have someone live blog the sessions – this will give you tons of great posts.
  • Encourage attendees to post pictures both during and after your event, and if your event is a repeat one, you can use these pictures in your social media for the next event.


  • Keep it short – just because you can make Facebook posts long doesn’t mean you should, so keep it short. This saves you time but also makes it easier for others to share.
  • Have a call to action – too many Facebooks posts are very informative with no call to action.
  • Consider Facebook ads – you can target Facebook ads so they are seen just by people who would have a high interest in your event (Tips – use an image that is almost text free and keep your message to under 90 characters). Go here to see how ads work.
  • Set up numerous admins for your event page, and then have them invite their friends and coworkers.
  • Have speakers do mini events on your fan page, like live Q & A before events.
  • Add “Share on Facebook” badge to all your emails. Here’s one created by that you can use:


Just add the right link!

  • Create a Facebook app for your event – here’s how to DIY.


Don’t Pass Up Free Ways to Spread the Word

Don’t overlook your ability to do some high-quality social media posting for free. This can be on your current social media channels as well as on some powerful group platforms. Here are some ideas to help spread the word about your event that take just a few minutes and are free:

  • Meetup – largest network of local groups
  • Facebook Events (here’s how)
  • Facebook – Add a blurb about your event on the page banner
  • Facebook – Pin a post to the top of your FB page.
  • Eventbrite – share your event and even sell tickets
  • LinkedIn – post event link on your status update
  • Skype – post event link in your “mood”
  • Create a Tweetup (or find one!)

Don’t fall into the trap of simply doing some obligatory pre-event posts and Tweets while you drag your heels.

Think more in terms of front-loading your social media in a powerful way so that others become your best advocates. If you combine this approach with creating your own posts – ones that are not just advertisements for your events but are informative and full of highly useful and actionable items for your attendees – everyone will want to share the information across platforms.

This will not only save you time and money, but everyone will have a whole lot more fun, and that’s good for any event.

Reduce Event Internet Costs through 4G Cellular Technology
Feb 17, 2015 by Anonymous

By Tia Crawford

In light of the 2014 complaint against Marriott regarding Wi-Fi blocking, Event Planners and Event Managers are looking for ways to ensure the best possible Internet connections for their guests, while also avoiding outrageous hotel network service charges that blow their budgets. As we become more dependent upon the information and connections that our devices and the Internet provide, Wi-Fi service has become a vital utility for events, and now it’s the center of an important debate.

In October 2014, the Federal Communications Commission fined Marriott International $600,000 for intentionally jamming Wi-Fi connections for some of its customers.  In this situation, the hotel chain claimed that its actions were motivated out of security—that it intended to protect its network and its customers from cyber-attacks. However, on the flip side, customers believed that the hotel’s actions were designed to force users to access the Internet through the hotel’s wireless network—resulting in additional revenue for the hotel from the hefty fees that it charges for this service.

How can Event Planners get Great Network Coverage at a Great Price?

As hotels are debating with the FCC over this important issue, Event Managers still have meetings, conventions, and trade shows in the works.  They need to have excellent network coverage for their attendees, and they need to have the costs under control.

SmartSource Rentals Account Executive Andrew Bassin has this suggestion:

“At trade shows and conferences, hotels can charge $250 per day for a single IP address. There’s really nothing you can do—whether working in an office or at a conference—you’re stuck! There’s a captive audience, a captive facility, and there’s no other company or provider that’s allowed to come in.  However, we recently started supporting and enhancing the venue’s network (and limiting the venue’s charges) by supplementing with a new product. Cradlepoint makes a modem that creates a Wi-Fi connection from a cellular 4G signal, so it bypasses infrastructure.”

According to the manufacturer, the cellular modem allows Event Managers to:

  • Use the integrated 3G/4G wireless modem as the primary connection or as failover from a wired connection.
  • Create secondary networks to simplify PCI compliance, video surveillance, digital signs, and kiosks.
  • Load balance across multiple wired and wireless connections when additional bandwidth is required.

Affordable Access to the Internet through 4G Cellular Technology

Bassin was able to dramatically cut costs of the hotel network prices by working with a Las Vegas-based company called 4G4RENT, which provides the AV industry with affordable Internet access through 4th generation cellular technology.  He said, “Super-large conferences, 2000 people or more, always have back offices and breakout rooms that need Wi-Fi. Rather than spending $5,000 to provide the hotel’s Internet option, we spend only a couple hundred. Furthermore, we have done it as a sponsorship with a custom splash page. Upon login, users were taken to the sponsor’s page first—keeping it simple and giving the sponsor a chance to collect a little data upon logins.”

“Yes, you can create a hotspot with your phone or with mobile Wi-Fi, but that option is just for a couple devices—it’s very limited. The cellular modem is a great option for supplementing Wi-Fi, as well as for generating a wireless network.”

Maximizing Your Event Social Media
Feb 13, 2015 by Karen Daniels

No one wants to put on an event that is considered a failure – either by the attendees or management. And like everything else in life, it’s all a balancing act between time, money, goals, and priorities. It’s good to remember too that just because something doesn’t “cost” anything in dollars, it does not mean that it won’t require other resources, such as time.

Social media is a good example of this. Yes, you can use Twitter or Facebook for “free” since you don’t need to pay for an account. However, as you may know from the time you spend on your Smartphone, it certainly does require time. Occasionally, a great deal of it.

So, let’s take a look at how to maximize your event social media – keeping both time and money in mind.

Should You Automate?  

On the surface it may seem like the key to your event social media is automation, when it comes to both spreading the word and supporting your event in real time, and there are a number of applications that can help you do just that. A few of the better known ones are:

  • Tweetdeck
  • Hootsuite
  • Buffer

At the basic levels these tools can make it easy to spread the word across multiple platforms at one time, schedule your posts, and even gather some analytics. Sounds good. However, once people discover the joy of automation across platforms, if overused in certain ways, it can actually cut into the success of your posts. The reason is simple: social media is social.

Being social requires that you don’t just blast out your marketing and ideas without listening to other people’s ideas – just like an actual in-person conversation. The danger in too much automation is that it’s all one way. It’s simply too easy to write a bunch of posts, schedule them and then forget about it. But some automation can help you stay on track, help make best use of time, and help you build a cohesive social conversation leading up to your event because you can plan out everything ahead of time and schedule it out in a consistent manner – which is better than the “when I get to it” method. So by all means do automate some of your social media, but keep these cautions and tips in mind:

  1. Don’t be overly repetitive with the same message.
  2. You still need to have a real person monitor your social media and respond accordingly.
  3. You should create separate posts for your different channels – how many characters you can post and the type of audience is different for each channel, so more specific targeted messages and responses in each channel will help maximize your social media.
  4. You should make sure you schedule regular high-quality posts that need to go out at certain times, such as big announcements.
  5. It’s not a good idea to automate direct messages – you must have an active real person responding to direct messages.
  6. Think of automation as support for your social media presence, not the mainstay of your presence.  Bottom line:  you can’t fake a real-time presence, and that is what social media is all about.

3 Event Social Media Keys   

Hashtags are key. Use event hashtags in your posts and also have them prominent on your event website and social media pages.

  • Plus, include them in printed materials and emails so potential attendees know what to search for and how they can see what others are posting about your event.
  • Additionally, speakers can include event hashtags on any presentation material such as slides.

Make it easy for attendees to connect and spread the word on social media. There are a lot of ways you can make it quick and easy for your attendees to participate and help you spread the word about your event via social media.

  • Your event mobile app should include social media functions.
  • All your social media channels should have information and links to your event site.
  • Someone on the event staff should be responsible for participating in and contributing to active conversations.
  • Offer incentives to attendees who are the most active posters.
  • Stream your social media live during your event from your site and display it via a video wall – everyone loves to see their tweets live up on a big screen.
  • During your event you must make sure that everyone has great WiFi access. Poor WiFi can kill your event and certainly your social media. Simply put, if they have to wait to get online, or they keep losing access, they are not going to post.

Post about the right things. The key to posting is to keep in mind what your event attendees want to hear about. Some good examples are:

  • Leading up to the event, have your speakers contribute interesting tidbits about their upcoming talks.
  • Support and create active conversations focused on topics that are important to your audience
  • Encourage questions (and then answer!) via social media, which makes it easy for people to see what questions have been asked and answered.
  • Encourage event suggestions both before and during the event and then accommodate as many as you can. Nothing makes people happier than making a suggestion and then seeing that someone has listened and taken action. The fact that it’s publicized on social media makes you look even better.
  • Post content that is important and relevant to your target audience and think in terms of solving their pain points even before the first day of the event. This helps both your attendees and your branding.

Beyond following some of the suggestions above to maximize the social media for your next event, the most important thing to keep in mind about social media for your event is that it creates a unique opportunity to interact with and engage your customers – often in real time. This allows you to get direct input and feedback so you can constantly improve your products and services.  This is better for you, and always better for those you serve.

Five Ways to Augment your Event with 3-D
Feb 11, 2015 by Anonymous

By Tia Crawford

FIVE exciting trends that successfully break the two-dimensional exhibit barrier!

Now more than ever, events need to be a feast for the senses. Whether for a trade show booth, a fundraising gala, a product launch, or an advertising and marketing event, attendees must feel like the information presented is reaching out to grab them! Augmenting an event with 3-D interactive technology is an excellent way to involve guests’ eyes, ears, and touch in a way that is impossible to ignore.

Many Event Technology experts have predicted that “Augmented Reality”—the technique of using technology to enhance our sensory experience—may become increasingly common as we find new ways to incorporate virtual reality and technology-enhanced reality into our daily lives! We’ve identified FIVE exciting trends that successfully break the two-dimensional barrier, and help bring your company’s message straight into the sensory realm of your attendees!

  1. 3D Projection Mapping and Video Mapping – first-rate event lighting can create motion, pattern, and color effects of virtually any kind upon any surface. Customized “gobos” (that “Go Between” the optic) can change the beam of any light into logos or shapes. Rather than static and stationary lighting, video mapping allows Event Planners to create shapes and movement made from videos, light, and projection. 3D projection mapping and video mapping are lighting techniques that can turn any object into a display surface for lighting and video effects—giving your guests the feeling that they are part of the video!
  2. Holograms – holograms use lasers to create a precise image that appears truly three-dimensional. According to Wikipedia, “Holography is a technique which enables three-dimensional images to be made. It involves the use of a laser, interference, diffraction, light intensity recording and suitable illumination of the recording.”The holographic image changes with the position and orientation of the viewer, mimicking the experience of viewing an actual three-dimensional object, so holograms are remarkable in that they retain their illusion of reality even from different angles and perspectives. Some holograms can even appear to move as the viewer passes or they can change color or shape, depending on the perspective.
  3. IBeacons – iBeacons are a way to connect interactive elements with an attendee’s exact location as they move through an exhibit space. The beacons communicate wirelessly with a guests’ device, delivering relevant content that is tailored specifically to their position. Think of iBeacons as a traveling personal tour guide or as an invisible remote control—setting off amazing interactive displays, sound and other elements that make attendees feel that the show is created specifically around them.
  4. Sound Showers – sound showers are also known as “directional speakers”—and for good reason. Directional speakers create a highly-focused, amplified sound that is designed to deliver exceptional audio quality directly to a targeted area. Based on Panphonics “plane wave” technology, this award-winning Sound Shower® Directional Speaker System can create a “shower of sound” designed to be heard only by visitors within a controlled listening area. Visitors can literally walk into a shower of three-dimensional sound that your event has created precisely for them.
  5. 4K 3-D Monitors – 4K Ultra HD display monitors deliver a picture so crisp and clean that visitors are compelled to take the time to process its effect! Their truly exceptional resolution and stunning clarity easily present the illusion of three-dimensionality, even without those retro glasses. Glasses-free 3D screens use a 4K LCD display with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels to deliver a stunningly magical 3-D effect that grabs attention!

Pull your attendees into a fresh version of reality. Use interactive 3D elements to create a unique experience containing your message!



6 Steps that Create Connections at Trade Show Booths
Feb 05, 2015 by Anonymous

By Tia Crawford

Trade show exhibits represent a significant investment for a business. Between the costs of renting a booth, the expense of the exhibit display itself, and the price of sending staff, it’s important to see a significant return on the investment. As with any event planning, it’s essential to never lose sight of the target audience and to always think from the perspective of the end user.

Use demographics as the basis for every aspect of your decision-making.

What age groups and job functions are you likely to encounter most on the trade show floor? Most importantly, what are these visitors looking for and what will attract them? Armed with knowledge about your potential guests, look at the following SIX GOALS and move forward towards MAXIMIZING business connections for your booth:

  1. Capture Attention – your booth MUST catch the eyes (and/or ears) of the streams of traffic traveling past. Without a feature that grabs the INTEREST of passers-by, show attendees will simply continue . . . passing by. Find a perfect reason for people to stop and linger at your booth. Instantly impress them and establish a benefit—a benefit that affects them immediately and demands that they stop right where they are and enter your booth. Here are some specific techniques:

o   Use Unique Technology – we’re surrounded by technology, and it continues to fascinate us. Outfitting your trade show booth with tech options that are new, or used in a new way, provides an immediate draw. We’re familiar with LED and plasma screens, but few of us have a seamless LED or plasma video wall in our home.  Booths that make good use of engaging, eye-catching technology will naturally draw attention.

o   Offer an Immediate Service – a charging station kiosk at the forefront of your booth offers a quick, valuable service that every attendee could find useful. While your new visitors are charging up their phones or devices, you’ve earned 7 to 12 minutes of their time.

o   Provide Excitement or Entertainment – raffles, games, quizzes, and challenges are all exciting and engaging. Many visitors attend trade shows for work-related reasons; giveaways and games allow guests to take a moment that’s just for them—to take time to have fun.

o   Supply a Need or a Luxury – if your booth can cater to visitors through food, beverages, aromatherapy, massage chairs, or a comfortable spot to rest for a moment, attendees will willingly and gladly accept your hospitality, becoming your guests!

  1. Send the Right Message – use digital signage to clearly define your company’s branding, logo, product, and purpose. All signage should come back to your booth’s critical point—quickly show trade show attendees what your business, service, or product has to offer THEM!
  2. Provide the Desired Experience – the desired experience will differ from person to person, which is why customer service and personalization are the foundations of this step. Once guests have become visitors to your booth, it’s time for your team to focus on learning FROM attendees. When staff members are willing to learn and listen, they take the most important step toward connecting with guests. None of us want to be TOLD, we want to be ASSISTED. Telling a person about your product is completely different from helping a person discover what product they need.
  3. Deliver Necessary Information – after your guests’ needs are discovered, it becomes time to deliver the right information in the right way. The best method for ensuring that you have the “right” way is by having ALL ways covered. Hard copy pamphlets and business cards are still a good idea, but putting your business literature into a digital document library is the ideal way of guaranteeing that any guest can receive any information in exactly the way that they prefer—the precise information they want, available for immediate download onto their own device.
  4. Create Impact – walking away from your booth, guests should be impressed with the personalized treatment that they received. They should feel that they got much more than they expected from their time—leaving them with the warm and fuzzy feelings that they got from special services and friendly individuals who truly listened to their thoughts. If these things happened, then a real connection was made!
  5. Achieve ROI – the final step of connecting contains all the vital post-event actions—follow-ups, follow-through, sales conversions, and data analysis. This family of actions is where ROI is proven, and our efforts are rewarded! Although data capture systems, such as attendee tracking and lead retrieval, may not affect a guest’s experience immediately, Event Planners and Exhibit Managers know that when we pay careful attention to attendees’ preferences and patterns, when we gather and analyze data on their interests and concerns, we’re helping to forge future events and products in the forms that they most want. Data gathering allows us to become intuitive about what visitors really want us to provide.

In conclusion, appealing to attendees’ individuality—the “me” factor—makes your booth more memorable. Draw guests in with tech that attracts, true customer service, and a fun customer experience! Making things relevant and personal is an action that’s becoming even more meaningful and taking to the next level that well-established custom . . . a handshake.

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