SmartSource Rentals Blog


The Distinct Advantages of Hybrid Events
Mar 31, 2015 by Anonymous

The world is changing rapidly, driven by the Internet age and the introduction of smartphones. Modern events are riding on a tide of technological advances that bring information to our fingertips; however, while technology can now easily connect groups of people from across the globe, studies show that face-to-face events continue to offer distinct advantages that virtual meetings do not. Happily, we live in a world where Event Planners can offer both options!


In many ways, hybrid events offer the best of all worlds—sometimes literally, since they can easily connect offices and individuals that are located on opposite sides of the planet. A hybrid event opens up a vast range of potential participants because the format allows for different levels of involvement, and it removes many of the limitations from location, scheduling, and budgets. Here are just a FEW situations where a hybrid event offers a valuable solution:

  • Students bring eager questions and fresh perspectives, but they’re unlikely to have the resources to attend a professional conference in their subject.
  • International events offer valuable insights about global markets, but the travel distance requires a disproportionate amount of time and money for many interested parties—hybrid events make participation possible, globally.
  • For busy professionals, their current job schedule may prevent them from attending personally—but a hybrid event still gives them the opportunity to digest relevant material and connect with colleagues in their industry.
  • For companies that exhibit at trade shows or whose team members are speakers, hybrid events allow employees left at the office to still follow the action!

The benefits work for Event Organizers and sponsors as well. Hybrid events increase the number of participants, while keeping costs down. They cast a wider net, bring in fresh ideas, and add a more realistic perspective to surveys, polling, research, and conversations. A broader audience means more impact for sponsors, as their message is distributed to industry-minded individuals at more levels and locations.


  • Use social media to round out coverage and fill in connection gaps between people and content. Social media channels provide an extra layer of backup and enhancement for material.
  • Use a dedicated web page, an event app, and a web streaming portal to supply virtual attendees with multiple access points for information and connection.
  • Provide extensive background information on all slides, videos, and speakers.
  • Hire a dedicated staff member to facilitate the linking between live guests and virtual attendees.
  • Be certain to have presentations and speakers verbally acknowledge the virtual audience. Consider if it’s possible to mention and discuss information about how many virtual attendees are participating remotely, and mention specific locations where the virtual audience members are located.
  • Remember to allow for delay in response from virtual attendees.
  • Use Twitter to help “even the playing field” in dialog between in-person and virtual attendees—it’s difficult to tell the difference in tweets between those onsite and those abroad.
  • Find methods that keep virtual attendees present during audience breaks—such as games, live blogs, live video feed, photo displays, discussion forums, and chat centers.

Technology and Techniques:

For hybrid events, use the following technology options to supplement the traditional technological foundation of your conference or trade show—providing the best experience for both the in-house and the “at home” audiences:

  • Video Conferencing—equip breakout sessions and meeting areas with video conferencing capabilities that allow smaller, more strategic and direct gatherings to include long-distance participants.
  • Polling –for sessions, speeches, breaks, lectures, or presentations, polling is useful for gathering information and for keeping an audience engaged and interactive. This technique is particularly useful for hybrid events—polling the audience and giving specific note to the results from the virtual attendees is an excellent way of helping those guests feel that they are involved, heard, and appreciated!
  • Staging and Audiovisual—excellent lighting and audiovisual is a critical feature of live presentations, and it’s even more important for hybrid events. The right staging and sound make the best impression for traditional events, as well as creating the best situation for the videography needed to carry event material out to the virtual audience.
  • Touchscreen Monitors and Kiosks—use these components to set up interaction stations forsocial media, email, texting, video, and games between in-person and far-away guests.
  • WiFi Boosters—the successful integration of onsite attendees and virtual participants depends heavily upon excellent bandwidth and WiFi access. With the increased volume of virtual connections and streaming videos, it’s even more important to have this vital connectivity securely provided.
  • Video Walls—since visual content helps people connect more easily, consider using video walls to display Instagram photos, Twitter feeds, and event attendee content generated on Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, and Skype Qik or other group video messaging.

By putting a little extra effort into the digital side of an event, Event Organizers can create opportunities that expand their audience, enhance their research, extend the reach of their event, and help ensure their success!

How to Create Engagement with Audience Response Systems
Mar 26, 2015 by Karen Daniels

One of the best ways to create interactivity between a speaker and their listeners is by encouraging them to respond to prompts and questions. The technique of seeking audience response has been around for a long time, and there are many benefits to this technique including:

  • Improving attentiveness
  • Boosting knowledge retention
  • And creating greater interactivity

The old standby method of asking for a show of hands as a form of gathering audience information is certainly better than not aiming for any engagement at all. However, when people know that their responses can be seen by everyone else, they tend to answer based on crowd psychology to go along with how others are responding.

Audience Response Systems (ARS)

Luckily for us, the methods now available to gather audience responses have expanded and improved with technology. Audience response system technologies allow us to not only improve audience engagement and interactivity, but also to gather more accurate information because there is little to no crowd psychology effect. In addition to the above benefits, audience response systems allow us to:

  • Poll anonymously
  • Track individual responses
  • Display results right away
  • Confirm audience understanding
  • Gather data for analysis

Uses for ARS at Events

At a trade show, conference, or corporate event, Audience Response Systems – or ARS – can be used for many applications, either during a talk or at your booth. For instance, you can use ARS for:

  • Boosting training

A training session is only effective if you deliver the information the group wants and needs. Gathering that real-time feedback can help you direct the course of a training session so it’s spot-on for that specific group.

  • Voting

An ARS gives audiences the ability to vote on topics and answer questions, which not only improves the level of interactivity but also allows you to know immediately how successful (or not) your presentation is in the eyes of that audience.

  • Market research

Getting instant feedback from a group can give you vital information, which you can then use to stay ahead of the competition and improve your products and services. Conducting market research in real time with an on-hand audience can save your company valuable time and money over the long haul.

  • Decision-making

Having the power to immediately take audience input and then use it to alter the course of a talk, an event, or a training seminar can make the difference between success and failure.

  • Gamification

Audience response systems not only provide a hefty dose of interactivity, they are fun. Whether you turn your presentation into a gaming format with the audience competing for giveaways by answering questions, or you allow them to interact in real time with the speaker, ARS increase excitement and enjoyment.

  • Continuing education

Collecting real-time audience responses so you know which areas of knowledge they still need to work on allows you to target the delivery of the educational material.

  • Surveys

Getting instant feedback from your group allows you to put up real-time survey results, which is helpful not only to you but to the audience as well.

Best Practices for using ARS

When you decide to use a response system during a talk or training session, there are some techniques you can use to help ensure that the audience will jump right in and to increase the participation of everyone there.

  1. Near the beginning of your session, introduce the system and its use with an ice breaker question – something fun, maybe humorous. Keep it simple as you explain how they can best use their device or the software.
  2. If you are asking for responses during a presentation, have a phrase such as “answer now” on the appropriate slides. Be consistent with a very straightforward system to prompt the audience, telling them what to do, when.
  3. If there are right and wrong answers, make sure you have visual cues that support what you are saying verbally.
  4. You can increase the audience responsiveness by giving them a set amount of time in which to respond. For example, a countdown timer.
  5. Even though you are giving your audience a set amount of time to respond, make sure you also allow enough time for them to answer.
  6. A pattern of asking for a few responses and then letting your audience “relax” can be helpful. In other words, don’t constantly ask them to respond, but don’t wait so long between asking for one response and the next that their mind wanders off and they become less engaged.
  7. Create good questions. This means you need to understand the purpose of the question you are asking, how to best ask it, and to word it simply. You can use questions to start discussions or to collect votes.
  8. Build audience response confidence by putting some initial questions into your presentation or training that are easy to respond to and which have answers that everyone will be curious to know about.
  9. If you are using any multiple choice answers, don’t give too many choices – 5 maximum, one of which should be “I don’t know.”
  10. Don’t ask questions about everything.
  11. Pretest your ARS system so you know it works the way you anticipate it to.
  12. Be okay with allowing the audience responses to direct some of your presentation or training. People love to know that their responses actually count, or at the very least how their responses compare to norms or some other measurement. In other words, don’t let your audience feel as if their responses are going into a black hole.

When used properly, audience response systems can greatly elevate your presentation through greater engagement, while at the same time taking the guesswork out of how your listeners might respond to specific questions. You can then use this live “market research” to improve your training, information, and future presentations.



5 Apps that Freshen Participation at Your Meetings
11People attending a Congress
Mar 24, 2015 by Anonymous

New apps are emerging every single day; some of them are game-changers, and some of them are time-wasters. Meeting Planners need apps that will perform, and they don’t necessarily have the time to hunt around for options. The following five apps are making a positive difference for Meeting Planners as well as facilitating a better overall experience for meeting attendees!


  1. Speecheo – Know your attendees better while making them smarter.

What it does

Crowned as the winner of IMEX America’s 2014 Technology Start-Up Competition, this app will allow audience members to use smartphones and tablets to easily follow the slides of a presentation and take notes. Attendees use their own devices to view and save slides, record audio, create notes, and share ideas that are synced to the presentation.

Why it’s good for Meetings

For attendees, the app is a revolutionary way of turning a live slide presentation into savable, trackable, sharable, reference material. For speakers and Meeting Planners, the app lets them view information shared by guests—allowing them to analyze the success of the presentation and better understand what information was the most valuable for their audience.


  1. Meerkat – Tweet Live Video.

What it does

After breaking into the public eye during SXSW, Meerkat has had everyone wondering if it’s a revolutionary app, or just a fad. However, the live video tweeting application has a number of remarkable benefits for Meeting Planners. Meerkat allows your Twitter followers to easily watch your live, streaming video in real-time.

Why it’s good for Meetings

This app is an excellent way to instantly distribute live video content such as lectures, speeches, and product demonstrations. The app allows Meeting Planners to stream live video to all of the event’s Twitter followers simultaneously. It helps connect long-distance attendees and is an excellent promotional tool.


  1. Topi – We connect people in a random world.

What it does

Like a match-making service for meeting attendees, this event networking and connection app helps link-up like-minded people. The app suggests group conversations and provides profiles ranked by relevance, as well as offering instant translations in more than 70 languages.

Why it’s good for Meetings

Rather than assuming that meeting attendees already know each other or assuming that name tags are enough to start productive business talks, Topi facilitates deeper social networking. It also works with geo-location to alert guests about the potential contacts that are in their immediate vicinity, making it simpler to arrange face-to-face conversations.


  1. Refresh – Insights for common ground.

What it does

Refresh pulls information off multiple Internet sources, giving attendees a broader picture of the achievements, research, skills, work experiences, and educational background of fellow attendees.

Why it’s good for Meetings

This app can give you a reminder of how you first met a contact. It can give you news about a person’s recent achievements or blog posts. It can help you understand a person’s perspective on a decision or a particular topic. It can help you avoid sticking your foot in your mouth. This app helps lead to better conversations and more relevant presentations by offering meeting attendees deeper insight about fellow guests.


  1. Crowd Mics – Your crowd has a voice.

What it does

Crowd Mics is an app that turns any smartphone or tablet into a microphone. The app works through Wi-Fi, and all devices must be connected on a common router; however, this also allows the system to operate without needing an Internet connection.

Why it’s good for Meetings

Your meeting will already have a high-quality sound system for broadcasting audio from leaders, speakers, and presenters. Crowd Mics supplements meeting audio by easily enabling clear verbal communication from any audience member. This app makes it simple for attendees to ask questions, participate in conversations, and offer suggestions—allowing Meeting Organizers to help achieve a more productive dialog between all participants. Meeting leaders receive a list of attendees waiting to speak, or they also have the option to enable open and immediate communication for all participants.


About SmartSource Rentals:

SmartSource has 21 branch locations nationwide that offer the Wi-Fi boosters, presentation equipment, computer rentals, and sound systems that set the foundation for effective meetings and conferences. Depend on SmartSource for all of your meeting production rentals. For more information, contact us at 800-888-8686 or request a quote today!

Smarter Ways to Use Smart Technology at Events
Mar 19, 2015 by Karen Daniels

Technology is getting smarter. We now have everything from smart phones and smart wearables, to smart medicine, houses and cars. And since a big part of the “smart” in smart technology is about creating a more personalized experience, it makes sense that as technology develops beyond what we can imagine today, we should take advantage of that ability to respond in more personal ways with attendees and become more savvy about how we integrate smart technology into events and trade shows.

People often attend events to discover the latest and greatest things within their industry. But it’s always important that they are able to find information and products that are relevant to them personally, or else they will consider that event or trade show not worth their time. Smart technologies open up the opportunity to personalize an attendee’s experience with targeted information.

Below you will find some of the ways that smart technology is being used at events to help fuel your creativity for your next event.

Progressive Ideas for Near Field Communication (N.F.C.) at Events

N.F.C. is a short range wireless link that transfers bits of data from one device to another. Here are some of the ways N.F.C. has been recently used, or is soon to be used, at various events around the world:

  • At the Dell Solutions Tour, Dell is utilizing plastic N.F.C. badges. Once attendees visit a product display, they tap their badge on a kiosk, which launches a survey. The system is linked to a prize drawing to encourage participation.


  • Dell is also using an N.F.C. reader app. The app device is tapped on an attendee’s N.F.C.-enabled badge, and the app retrieves that person’s contact information.


  • At Mobile World Congress attendees used N.F.C.-enabled devices to access information, get materials, redeem coupons, and participate in a treasure hunt.  Users could also create an N.F.C. photo badge (via a mobile app) which facilitated entry.


  • At the International Broadcasting Convention attendees could tap their N.F.C. badge to a Btag (a self-contained hot spot) to get digital copies of magazines.


  • At the International C.E.S., N.F.C.-enabled badges were used to check into sessions.


  • Event attendees can have their N.F.C.-enabled device linked to an online account with payment information to make purchases.


  • At the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, N.F.C.-enabled wristbands could be tapped on tablets (such as iPads) displayed by each chef.  This allowed users to have information about the food and recipes saved into their online account.


  • An N.F.C.-enabled device can be utilized for social media check-ins and sharing photos.

Radio-frequency Identification (R.F.I.D.) Uses at Events

R.F.I.D. is the use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data to automatically identify and track tags which have been attached to objects, people, or animals. (Familiar examples would be pet microchips or a toll road that uses an RFID payment system).

  • R.F.I.D. wristbands can replace admission tickets. At the Tomorrowland Music Festival, attendees registered their R.F.I.D. wristbands online and linked them to Facebook. The system allowed them to receive a daily email of people they met each day at the event.


  • U.H.F. (ultra-high frequency) tags can be read from much farther away. So U.H.F. readers embedded in event entry gates can read badges instantly.


  • At EMC World, N.F.C. (near field communication) badges were used to manage distribution of conference bags.


  • At the Ryder Cup, wristbands will be used to support physical activity for guests – the R.F.I.D. wristbands will track distances the guests cover as they walk the course and check in for prizes at different stations.

Using Beacon Technology at Events

Beacons are low-powered, low-cost transmitters that are able to notify nearby iOS devices of their presence. Beacons can be used to detect an event attendee’s mobile device, and information relevant to that attendee can be pushed to their screen.

  • At the International CES, participants were sent on a scavenger hunt in search of hidden Beacons as a form of gamification.


  • When an attendee with a Bluetooth-enabled device goes near a hotspot, beacon technology can trigger a video or other message – anything from a welcome message to a special sale.


  • As an attendee moves through the venue, beacons can sync where she is physically with her itinerary, and then trigger the app to pull up the relevant map so she can take the quickest route to the seminar she’s headed to.


  • With Beacons, an app can automatically check people into sessions and even follow attendance to give continuing education credits.


  • Beacons can trigger apps to give attendees points in an event’s mobile game.


  • Perhaps attendees could be notified if someone they’d like to meet is nearby, or if an impromptu session on a topic they are interested in is starting.


Smart technology opens up a vast range of uses for a much more personalized and highly relevant event experience for the attendee, as well as a mode for exhibitors and event managers to efficiently gather real-time data and information.



5 Crucial Benefits of Lead Retrieval Technology
Mar 17, 2015 by Anonymous

For any business, customer relationship management is one of the most important goals—both to create new customers and to strengthen the relationships with existing patrons. Business events need to pull in visitors, but most importantly, they need to CONVERT visitors—moving them deeper into the sales funnel. Events are a perfect opportunity to create awareness of a company’s products and services, as well as the right time to reinforce our familiarity with our target audience and their wants—making sure that our offerings are meeting the right needs, and then showing guests how our products can help them!

More than a luxury, lead retrieval systems are a necessity at today’s events because they are DESIGNED to connect businesses to their customers—helping exhibitors effectively bridge the gap between a customer’s needs and a company’s services. Here are the top five benefits that make lead retrieval technology a keystone of successful customer relationship management.

  1. Personal Convenience—ideally, event organizers should use an unobtrusive process that gathers accurate attendee information without inconveniencing guests or interfering with their event experience. Rather than endless amounts of form-completion, card swapping, introductions and explanations, a well-implemented lead retrieval system makes sharing and gathering information effortless, instantaneous, quantifiable, and trackable. The information is also accurate, without the mistakes and misspellings that are common with handwritten forms. For events, speed is important—knowing a guest’s name, company, job function, and event goals puts an exhibitor two steps ahead! Through badges, bar codes, QR codes, scanners, and RFID, it’s possible for exhibitors to immediately gather all the relevant attendee information they need to provide an effective presentation, tailored to each guest.
  2. Effective Connections—follow ups are mandatory. Lead retrieval systems gather the right information and help exhibitors to generate leads, understand customer needs, form better relationships, and convert leads into sign-ups, memberships, partnerships, and SALES. Better still, the information gathered is available in real time, as the event occurs—allowing business representatives to follow through on leads immediately, without waiting until the event concludes. The systems help both organizers and attendees by gathering information on what attendees need, and helping organizers ensure that those needs are met. All attendee data, surveys, forms, and notes are easily exported to a company’s CRM program.
  3. Data Capture—data capturing technology is designed to gather attendee information; however, it’s also about integration, customization, product development, and more. On the surface, the data gathered can be as simple as contact information for potential clients. At deeper levels, it can reveal the information that is vital to corporate branding and direction. The information gathered can reflect nearly any focus, and that limitless potential can be a bit overwhelming—ideally, ask yourself what questions you would like answered, and have your tracking system customized to provide that data.
  4. Corporate Image—attendee tracking and data gathering are ways to help differentiate your business from other players by impressing your audience with efficiency and attention to personal details. For events and exhibitors, brand image is important. By implementing technology such as RFID scanners, your corporate event can benefit from speedy registration, instant informational exchanges, accurate data, and attendee personalization. The right lead retrieval system is sleek—the technology is gathering data, independently, without being in the way. It helps to immediately transfer information between exhibitors and attendees without additional work.
  5. Business Results—when these elements are all in place, results are nearly guaranteed. A trusted technology partner can provide the right lead retrieval system, customize it to your specifications, and give recommendations on how to use it to maximize your business potential!
How to Create a Top 10 Trade Show Booth
Tech Lounge Part 3 pic
Mar 12, 2015 by Karen Daniels

We’ve all been to trade shows where we walked by countless booths without being tempted to stop, or even slow down. With all the technology and information we have today, it’s surprising that so many businesses still rent exhibitor space and then put so little effort into creating a stand-out booth.

Here is how many businesses seem to follow this same tired 3-step routine:

  1. they put up last year’s poster or graphics
  2. they set up a table with some hand-outs, a bowl of candy, and an empty container to collect business cards for a drawing
  3. they proceed to have a drawing where they give away something that has little to do with their brand or business.

Since trade shows often have hundreds of booths for attendees to visit, it doesn’t make good sense to invest the money it takes to exhibit without also putting in the effort to be one of those top 10 talked-about booths.

Yes, perhaps we’ve all been guilty of the tired 3-step booth routine at one time or another. But there are so many tools you can leverage to engage that walk-by traffic and improve your ROI so that, with a little planning, there’s no reason you can’t go from being a booth to be ignored to being one of the best booths at the trade show.

Before the Trade Show

Booth Location

If you have any control over the situation, do your best to select a booth location that naturally lends itself to foot traffic. People gather near doors, food, bathrooms, and big- name vendors. Selecting this type of location will give you a starting edge. However, that is just the start, and even if you can’t get one of those prime traffic locations, there is much you can do to overcome that issue.

Make Your Display Up-to-Date

If your booth display does not appear up to date, people will assume your brand or products aren’t either. Everything you use should look new and clean, and your display should include cutting-edge elements, such as technology or innovative designs and graphics. If your display pieces are old, retire them and start fresh.

Work hard to come up with something edgy that supports your brand or products. For example, if you’re going to highlight a new product, don’t just have a video playing on an old computer monitor. Think in terms of quickly capturing an attendee’s attention and then engaging their interest. You can do this easily with large touchscreens or iPads if you want people to engage individually with your product information. Or for more of a group impact, consider a video wall to show off your product.

During the Trade Show

Booth Flow

First things first – DO NOT put a table across the front of your booth. This has the same effect as a sign that says “you are not welcome here.” Aim to create flow within your booth layout so you can accommodate the largest amount of foot traffic without having a jam. People should be able to move around, talk with staff and get the information they need, interact with your technology, and move through your booth without keeping new people from walking in.

Your Staff and the Fun Factor

It should go without saying that your staff needs to be well-trained on the objectives your company has for the trade show. And they should know your products and services inside and out as well as how to use any technology equipment you are renting for the show. They should also be well-versed on how to qualify buyers so they don’t spend all their time chatting with one person who isn’t actually a prospective buyer, while real buyers go through unnoticed.

All very important stuff. But beyond those basics, something that too many companies forget about when exhibiting is having fun. Yes, trade shows are work. But they are also supposed to be fun. When the staff at your booth is having fun, then the people walking by will be attracted to your booth and they in turn will have fun.

Give Attendees a Reason to Visit

Giving attendees a reason to visit your booth, beyond having a great product or service, is an ideal way to create that booth everyone wants to visit. When you create a reason for them to linger, it gives you the opportunity to have an in-depth chat with them and develop the beginning of a relationship which can result in loyal customers. Here are some effective ways to give attendees a reason to visit your booth:


Rent a charging station. We all need to charge our devices; from phones to tablets, everyone now carries multiple pieces of technology that need charging. If you are the booth where everyone can rest for a few minutes while they recharge their smartphones, you increase the opportunity for those in-depth conversations. The average time spent at a charging station is 7-12 minutes, which is considerably longer than the normal time people spend at any given booth.


Create a Social Media Lounge. To create a social media lounge, think in terms of cushy chairs, coffee, and a large screen live-streaming social media channels. Have a social media person who is posting information about your company along with useable tidbits. You can also set up a method for rewarding those who post about your booth while they are lounging there:


“#booth747 great coffee and valuable trade secrets-come find out”


This not only encourages more booth traffic but also boosts your social media profile.


Create a Digital Document Library. A key method for elevating your brand is to be insanely useful to your clients. One way to do this is through a digital library, which can be offered through an interactive kiosk, touchscreens, tablets, or mobile devices. This allows you to capture leads while engaging the user and offering them real-time information about the trade show and other valuable content.


Given the number of companies that don’t always take the time to update their exhibit booth, it doesn’t take a whole lot to create more visibility for your brand and to become one of those top-ten booths.

Tips and Technology that Increase the Fun Factor at Events
Mar 10, 2015 by Anonymous

Corporate events have specific goals. Event Planners, organizers and sponsors are constantly measuring and analyzing elements such as attendee information, demographics, workstation traffic, sales conversions, document requests and downloads, feedback, questionnaires, and—above all—RETURN on INVESTMENT. However, one of the most important elements of an event is one of the most difficult to predict, and track—how FUN is your event?

After an event is over, guest feedback can give you a better idea of the fun that attendees had. You can use questionnaires to gather numeric data about your guests’ enjoyment of the experience. Unfortunately, post-event surveys don’t allow for mid-course corrections. By the time the overall scores come in, it’s too late to change what occurred—too late to convert attendee boredom into excitement!

Many events are designed for entertainment; however, for training sessions, conferences, and meetings, fun isn’t the primary objective. Nonetheless, fun IS one of the best ways to increase creativity, social connections, involvement, and networking, and to help produce an event that really does beat records for productivity, engagement, and interaction! The best way to increase the fun factor at an event is to incorporate vibrant, exciting elements into the planning stages. Use the following suggestions as a jump-off point to spark a better overall experience!

New People and New Perspectives

Beyond the Box – there’s real truth in popular phrases such as “thinking outside the box” and “getting out of your comfort zone.” When we’re forced to try new things, we’re reminded of what we’re capable of, and we feel a rush of adrenaline once the pressure is off and we’ve succeeded. New perspectives and behaviors are always a good opportunity for fresh thinking; although some participants may prefer not to be moved outside of their routines, they’ll benefit from having the ice broken!

Social – in this age of automation and remote connection, business events continue to thrive because of the natural power of face-to-face interaction. On a day-to-day basis, we deal with convenience—using the communication methods that are fastest and easiest; however, business events create a unique opportunity for a “mandatory luxury”—the event is mandatory because your business needs it, but it is a true luxury to have time blocked off specifically for enjoying the company of other individuals in your industry, forming real connections based on conversations and shared experiences. Business events are a wonderful chance to expand your own personal/professional network—a chance to belong. Mixers, networking games, scavenger hunts, charitable endeavors, creativity-building projects, team-building exercises, charity involvement, and trivia challenges . . . the list of social networking activities is nearly endless and the benefits are limitless.

Personalization – events benefit when attendees make connections with other guests. Events also benefit when Event Managers make connections with individual guests through personalization. It is fun to be noticed, acknowledged, to feel like a star—conversely, NO ONE wants to feel like a number, to feel inconspicuous, irrelevant, and invisible. For Event Planners, personally welcoming each attendee may be difficult—from a time management, logistics and staffing perspective.  Happily, with a little planning, technology can stand in! With attendee badges or RFID bands and event apps, registration, ticketing, scheduling, customized attendee preferences, and personalized greetings all help to deliver the important message—WE are GLAD you are HERE!

Technology that Inspires

Moving into the specific technology that inspires us, we offer the following suggestions of tech options that open eyes, make us reach out, and engage our imaginations!

Video Walls – customized video walls are impossible to ignore. From their eye-popping size to their customization potential, a video wall grabs attention and takes us out of the routine. Yes we have screens. Yes we have televisions. NO—they do NOT take up an entire wall! The content of the video wall is up to you—it can be customized to the live action of the event itself, it can be purely promotional, or a combination of both. A good technology provider can assemble a video wall in nearly any configuration. Imagine walking into a room and seeing YOURSELF on a mega-screen!

Touchscreens – moving from inspirationally large video walls, down to extremely personal iPad touchscreens, the ability to interact with, direct, and control technology is innately inviting. Touchscreen kiosks, iPads, and touch screen monitors all tap into our curiosity and our self-awareness. Touchscreens literally connect us to the technology that brings the connections we need. They’re fun!

Video Mapping – amazing event lighting is one of the simplest ways to elevate an event venue from average to astonishing. Video projection mapping (also called video mapping or projection mapping) is lighting technology that turns any flat or three-dimensional object(s) into a display surface for DYNAMIC video projection. It can easily turn a conference room into a wonderland.

Charging Station Lounges – we’ve discussed the benefits of technology lounges in the past. Simply put, a charging station lounge is a chance for your guests to RECHARGE! On the practical side, a charging station lounge allows guests to keep their devices fully powered while they’re out and about. On the FUN side, charging station lounges are a great opportunity to bring people together for constructive relaxation. Consider a massage station, gaming area, art installation, or creativity station to get guests playing, creating, conversing, relaxing, and having FUN!

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